The Life-Saving Guide: 5 Simple Baby Sleep Tips to Soothe your crying baby

This how-to guide, with 5 Simple Tips to Soothe Your Crying Baby will help you and your baby sleep, now! These proven 5 steps work EVERY TIME! My baby is still a wonderful sleeper because of these mom boss secrets!

Imagine: your beautiful cooing baby has smoothly drank his bottle, has appropriately burped in between, his eyes are heavy, you are whispering sweet lullabies into his years, you gracefully stroll over to put him to sleep for the night; he goes down – he sleeps for eight hours.

Sometimes it’s not so simple. Actually, MOST times it’s not so simple.

The reality is, babies get overwhelmed. Especially newborn babies. Then we get overwhelmed, as parents. This world is too big for them! I have been there. It is so hard to hold your baby and yet not comfort him. Being a mom is wonderful and yet tough sometimes! You’re doing great! You just need a few tricks up your sleeve, you boss mom!

I have implemented the baby guru secrets of ‘The 5 S’s’, to help soothe my baby, Harrison, as well as countless of other well- tempered,  mild-tempered and colicky babies in my 11+ years as a professional nanny. I have also utilized many tools and tips of my own.

Every fellow mom I meet,  I ask the same question: how is your baby sleeping?  Moms reactions are always interesting to me. Everyone has had their challenging nights… and days. Sometimes it may seem like a challenging ‘infinity’. Ah kids… But I am shocked when my fellow mommies do not implement these 5 secrets!

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In my glorious nine months, so far, of being little Harry’s mom, I have truly learned that mommyhood is assisted by a social tribe of strong, helpful, understanding, relatable, and knowledgeable women.  I’ve also nannied professionally, for the last 11 years. I have dealt with babies, toddlers, kids, preteens, and teens.  I have worked with families with only 1 child, I have nannied for families with 6 children! I’ve even had experiences with multiple sets of twins. I know what works to soothe that baby…

However, not every trick works every time, that’s why you have a bag of tricks to implement.

First off,  I would highly recommend reading “The Happiest Baby on the Block” Harvey Karp MD.

I first heard about this book when I was nannying in Chicago, for a family of twin newborns and a three-year old boy.  The mom of the family I was nannying for originally came from California. She actually attended many of the workshops and lectures that Dr. Harvey Karp was integrating in the area.

This book, and Dr. Karp, originated the method of: ‘The 5 S’s”, which is what I implement to soothe any crying baby.

When used appropriately, usually in a combination, these have continued to work time and time again, in my experience!

You can rest at ease knowing that there is an end to the suffering. Babies suffering & frustration- as well as your own!  It helps me to know there is an endpoint to the wailing; not just feeling that anxiety for what seems like forever.

Ok, So what are the 5 S’s?


1. Swaddle

2. Side

3. Shush

4. Swing

5. Suck


How do we implement these 5 Tips: the 5 “S’s”?

It is important to start with the first one and then work your way through the fifth one, in order. Picking and choosing from the list does not work as well; although maybe even just the first one would help your baby. For those babies with severe colic, who NEVER seem to settle – working your way from 1 to 5 is the best method, in my experience.

Let me also explain my understanding of how to utilize each step with your baby, per Dr. Karp’s suggestions:


1. SWADDLE:  almost every mother knows about the swaddle. You can manually swaddle your baby with a light blanket, or you can even get premade swaddles with Velcro and/or zippers. Both of those options aregreat in my opinion.

Even though my grandmother thought it was controversial, I really believe in the very tight swaddle.  Swaddling your baby tight also helps to control their spastic arm flailing. As newborns, they cannot control this yet. This may also cause them to whack themselves in the face, scratch themselves, and wake themselves up, or not let them settle in to falling asleep. Overall, I believe the swaddle absolutely contributed to a comfortable, soothed, safe-feeling, happy baby!  I am very pro-swaddle!

2. SIDE: After your baby has been swaddled, Dr. Karp suggests moving on to the next step: IF your baby is still upset. Holding baby on his side, or stomach down will soothe him vs. holding baby facing upwards, with his back to the ground. Dr. Karp explains how this affects baby’s experience with the “Moro Reflex”. This is still intact with newborns, The Moro Reflex basically makes babies feel like they are falling if they are held parallel to the ground, (facing upwards). This is a survival instinct still intact when babies are newborns. To combat and alleviate that ‘falling’ feeling, parents can swaddle baby & then hold baby on their side or with the tummy down as you soothe them.

3.SHUSH: Dr. Karp basically explains that your baby has been in your womb, listening to the ambient noises and rushing of blood through your arteries for nine months. This should sound similar to white noise, or a little fan; kind of like an adult being on an airplane. Newborns find this sound very soothing, and reminds them of being in the womb. This sound will comfort them and secure them into a good, calm state. Continuing in order of your directions, shushing is next: The shushing must be done loudly and consistently. Like a long stream: imitating ‘white noise’. You can even get a rhythm going, or you can keep it long and dragged out shush-noise. Try and block out all of the other noise, and focus on just you and your baby.

When I first started shushing my baby, I felt like I was being rude to him! I felt like I was saying ‘be quiet, no crying allowed!’ But it is actually very natural, and Harry enjoyed it. It soothed him right away! Even after nine months, I continue to shush him when he is worked up. We also use a white noise machine to sleep with, in our own room!

The white noise actually works so well for us that we even travel with it! Whenever I put it on in the car, Harry will fall asleep!

4. SWING:  following in succession, the swing step refers to holding your baby while swinging and moving around. This is a general term Dr. Karp refers to as ‘swinging’, however it can mean bouncing, swaying, dancing, etc. Babies like to feel movement.  According to “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”,  babies actually fall asleep to mothers movement while in the womb.

In the womb, I know my baby Harry would be asleep mostly during the day, and then wake up at night to play. 3 AM was his favorite time to dance around! 🙂

So any movement will really help soothe your baby. Focus on swinging him from one side to the other, while you hold him out. I’m sure he will feel your love & comfort, especially if he is connected to you and your good mama vibes.

5. SUCK:  after you have successfully dominated steps 1-4 with your baby, but he is still carrying on, (or almost there…) you can implement “suck “.  This step simply refers to giving baby a pacifier to suck on. This should be the cherry on the comfort-cake for your baby… complete peace!!

Those are the magical 5 S’s, and how to use them to give your baby comfort, relief from crying, and finally fall asleep. 

All 5 of the steps worked EVERY TIME to give my own baby Harry peaceful rest! I know it will help your baby as well!!


Here are a few more General tips that I have also found to be extremely helpful:

  • Essential oils in a diffuser, in the living room-helps attribute to a calm baby, and a calm household.  I used Doterra brand: Lavender.


  • A yoga ball helped so much with the ‘Swing’ step of the process. I sat on it and bounced him lightly, this not only supported my back and legs, but also attributed to a calming methodical sway rhythm for him.


  • You can also play your favorite relaxing music or ‘soundscapes’.


  • Try to calm yourself down as well, your baby is feeding off of your demeanor and vibes. Try to stay focused on how calm your baby CAN be, not the anxiety of how he is feeling now.


  • Relaxing Baths for baby always helped as well! I am sure the warm water felt so good, it made him feel like he was in the womb again!  Then I would apply a gentle baby massage with some organic coconut oil afterwards, before getting him into his onesie & swaddle.


  • ‘Gripe water’ is also worth a try. It helps a lot with hick ups, gas, reflux, and minor discomfort. It is made with fennel, I think it is a great resource for moms, especially when they have the hiccups, those pesky hiccups!

Of course if you ever feel that you are having difficulties deciding if Baby’s crying is more of a serious nature: please contact your child care provider. A second opinion, and a doctors opinion is always a good idea.

This blog post covered the 5 ‘S’s’, as well as a few other tips and tricks I recommend for helping to soothe baby’s crying. This is the ultimate guide to soothe your baby.

Thanks so much for checking out my post! I appreciate you being a part of my Little Hat Family, friend!

What are your unique tips for helping to soothe our precious babies? I would love to hear from you!

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You may also enjoy my popular posts:  3 Brilliant Diaper Hacks, or check out: Using Coconut Oil for Diaper Rash. and also A Letter to My Baby on Your First Birthday, and my MOST POPULAR POST: The Mommy Guide to Managing Your Household Like a Boss! You can also read more about me, Kelly: Here.


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Hi, I am Kelly! Creator and administrator of Little Hat Family, I absolutely adore my squishy, smiley, 10-month old son, Harrison (Harry), and my kind and cooperative husband Stefan. Our little millennial, hipster family lives in Chicago and yes, we do love hats!
As a professional nanny for 11 years in Chicago, and now a new mommy myself, I have picked up so much useful, modern, mommy advice and life hacks! I would love to pay it forward to my fellow mommy tribe!
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