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How 5s saved my sanity: The 5s method to calm a newborn.

Learn to soothe your crying baby in 5 easy steps

Bay Area Newborn Photo Session by Beautiful Stories Photography

I cried along with my 3 weeks old, convinced something was surely wrong.

I had fed her and changed her and she was still crying. 

My up until now, quiet and content, precious little newborn was inconsolable and there was nothing I could do about it. 

We had the 3 week appointment scheduled for the afternoon and that was the only thing that kept me from a total breakdown. 

Maybe our doctor will be able to tell what was wrong.

I remember waiting impatiently in our pediatrician's office, with a crying newborn and debilitating anxiety.

Our doctor walked in, spotted the two first time parents and motioned to hand over the crying newborn.

With a constant shushing sound he patted her back and rocked ever so gently and our baby who was hysterical until that point, instantly calmed down.

And now I was crying!

How did you do that?

We begged him to teach us his magical powers.

And that’s when we were introduced to Dr Harvey Karp’s 5S method.

So, what is the 5s method?

It's a tool developed by Harvey Karp, a pediatrician who understands the cries of newborns better than anyone (there is a plethora of Youtube videos where he shows how he works his magic ). It stands for:

1. Swaddle: 

Tightly swaddle your baby, mimicking the cozy feeling of the womb. Think snug burrito, not loose blanket wrap.

2. Side/Stomach: 

Lay your baby on their side or stomach (always supervised!) to relieve gas pressure. Pro tip: try placing a hand on their back for comfort.

3. Shushing: 

Make a loud, rhythmic shushing sound right by their ear. Think wind in the trees, not a librarian on tiptoes.

4. Swinging: 

Rock your baby gently but firmly, mimicking the motion they felt in your belly. 

5. Sucking: 

Offer a pacifier or your breast/bottle. Sucking is calming and familiar for newborns.

The key is to do all five steps together, in a specific order. It's like a magic combo for calming a storm. I have to say it does take some time to get it right. Even though our pediatrician gave us a live demo, it took us a while to get a hang of it. So don’t worry if you are not able to calm your little storm right away.

Here's why 5s works: 

It triggers the calming reflex in newborns, a built-in mechanism that soothes them just like being in the womb. The swaddle provides security, the side/stomach position helps with gas, the shushing mimics the rhythmic sounds they heard inside you, and the swinging and sucking are familiar movements that bring comfort.

Bonus tip

Share this sanity saving tool with your partner and the tribe around you, so you are not the only one with the magic touch. Let others chip in and help you during the witching hours. We were never meant to do this all alone. It clearly takes a village!

As overwhelming and trying as this time seems, it is also very beautiful and goes by too fast! So try to savor this time and create a lot of beautiful memories for yourself and your baby.


Hi! I am Heena.
Your very own Family Photographer!

I am a mom and to two little munchkins and just like you I am a memory keeper of mprecious little family.


This is why I created this Memory Keeper's Handbook. My hope is with this Memory Keeper's Handbook you will be able to preserve the beautiful and fleeting moments of everyday life.

I believe the most important legacy that we give our children is happy memories.



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