New parents often ask what do we do for a fussy baby? How can we calm them? As an NCS it is our job to not only soothe a fussy baby, but also educate parents how to soothe their baby when it is crying. The Five S’s are tips for calming a fussy baby in which Dr. Karp created with his own personal hands-on research. Each of the five tips start with the letter S which makes it easier for parents and caregivers to remember.

1.       Swaddling

2.       Side/Stomach Position

3.       Shushing Sounds

4.       Swinging

5.       Sucking

The first tip you can try when handling a fussy baby is swaddling. Swaddle the baby tightly so they feel the warmth and tightness like they did when in the womb. This comforts the newborn.

Side/ Stomach positioning is when you lay the baby, while holding it either on its side or on its belly to help with digestion. If this soothes baby and they fall asleep you can put baby down in a safe spot on its back.

Next, you can try shushing sounds with your mouth. There is also a shushing machine that plays repetitively and helps soothe baby. These sounds imitate the sounds baby heard in the womb. A sound machine with white noise or shushing apps on your phone will also help comfort baby.

If baby is still fussy you can try the fourth S which is swinging. Newborns are used to the swinging motion as they felt this movement in the mother’s womb. Many parents hold baby in their arms and sway from side to side. Rocking, car rides, stroller, or a swing are other movements that can all help soothe a fussy baby.

Finally, the last S is sucking. Dr Karp says that sucking triggers the calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain. Baby can get the sucking sensation from a pacifier, sucking moms’ breast, bottle, or even a finger.

Dr Karp states that once the mother has a baby it is the fourth trimester. He calls this a “walking uterus” and encourages parents to recognize and ease baby out of the womb. Babies need to adjust outside of the womb and to the world and it may take time and getting used to.

For more information on Dr Karp’s 5 S’s check out the online courses at The online self-paced course Newborn Care Specialist workshop and Managing Multiples will provide you with more information on how to calm a fussy baby!