Harvey Karp's Soothing Methods

This is by far something that both Tim and I have googled most this year. You would think at this point you would find a method that sticks, but no, every time we get online, there are newer variations to soothe a baby, it’s never-ending.

It feels like every time someone manages to calm a baby in a new and out-of-this-world way, it becomes a whole article and everyone rushes to try. Because the truth is, we are all constantly trying to figure out why our baby cries! Sometimes it’s easy to soothe a baby, maybe all they need is a burp, a diaper change, or a feed. But there are also other times when they are just inconsolable no matter what we do. Which often follows with me begging Tim to “Just google it!!”

Here are the five S’s that has helped us so much in soothing our little Jake. These surefire instant soothing techniques were introduced in Harvey Karp’s “The Happiest Baby on the Block” which apparently has sold more than a million copies worldwide. We call it the Karp’s way, Karp calls it simple physiology.

In his book, Karp explains how during the first few months of life, babies can be easily lulled back into a womblike “trance” via certain cues (the 5 S’s) which are a combination of swaddling, shushing, side/stomach positioning, swinging, and sucking.


Swaddling recreates the snug feeling inside the womb, it helps decrease startling and increases sleep. But babies should only be swaddled when they are fussy and sleepy, not throughout the day.

Side or Stomach Positioning

To calm your baby down, you can hold your baby on his side or on his stomach. This can be really comforting for your baby but if he starts to fall asleep, lie him back on his back. Sleeping on his back is the only safe position for sleeping.


White noise is the best way to imitate the sound of blood flow in the womb. You can make whooshing sounds, run a fan, or play some white noise on Spotify to give the ambience a calming effect for your baby.


Your baby has gotten used to a lot of swinging and rocking living in your womb. Swaying while you carry your baby, putting your baby in an infant swing, or going on car rides can help recreate that womb sensation.


Sucking is the “icing on the cake” to calm your baby. Latch him onto your breast, or give him a feeding bottle or a soother to suck on can help your baby relax and feel safe.

These 5 S’s certainly helped us soothe Jake and helped with his sleep – which in turn helped us sleep! I hope they can be helpful for you too!

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