How to Soothe a Crying Baby With the Cuddle Cure

By Prev Info - February 23, 2022

Endless hours of crying and sleepless nights take a toll on parents of newborn babies in a way that nothing else in the world can. Ear piercing cries from a colicky baby are enough to drive even the most patient parent to the brink of insanity. Dr. Harvey Karp developed the “Cuddle Cure” to help parents soothe crying babies quickly and effectively. The “Cuddle Cure” consists of “5 S’s”: swaddling, holding baby on his side or stomach, saying “shhh,” swinging and sucking.


1 - Swaddle your baby with a thin swaddle blanket. Begin by laying the blanket on the bed with the points of the blanket facing top, bottom, left and right, like a diamond. Fold the top point about midway down and place your baby on the blanket with his shoulders in line with the fold you’ve just created. Hold the baby’s right arm by his side and fold the right side of the blanket tight over the baby, tucking it underneath the left arm and then under the baby’s body. Gently hold the baby’s left arm to his body while you fold the bottom portion of the blanket up and tuck it under his left shoulder. Wrap the remaining side across the baby’s front and tuck it underneath his body. Once swaddled, he should be able to straighten his legs, but the swaddle should be snug enough that he cannot wiggle out of it.

2 - Hold your swaddled baby on her side or stomach. These positions are not recommended for a sleeping baby, but they can calm a fussy baby in your arms. If your baby falls asleep, remember to lay her down on her back to reduce the risk of SIDS.

3 - Say “shhh” close to your baby’s ear, matching his volume. Babies aren’t used to quiet environments. Inside the womb, every minute was filled with the sound of blood flowing, food digesting and the muffled sounds of the mother’s environment. Shushing is a constant and repetitive sound that may be comforting to the baby. A white noise machine or CD may also help the baby sleep. Experiment with different sounds to find one that works for your baby.

4 - Swing your baby in your arms using small, fast movements. Slow, gentle swinging -- like that of a baby swing -- isn’t effective for calming a fussy baby. In the “Cuddle Cure,” the swinging action is really more of a jiggling motion, but never a shaking motion. The idea is to mimic the movements that the baby felt inside the womb.

5 - Offer your baby a pacifier or finger to suck on. Sucking is a natural comfort measure for many babies. If you choose to forgo pacifiers, offer a clean finger for her to suck on to calm her down.

Tips & Warnings

-To be effective, perform these steps simultaneously instead of individually.

-The “Cuddle Cure” works best for babies up to 4 months of age. Dr. Karp recommends white noise during the entire first year of life.

-It’s never too soon to help your baby learn to sleep. Although it seems counterintuitive to wake a sleeping baby, if she falls asleep in your arms, gently wake her before laying her down. Gently swaddle her, turn on some white noise and lay her down to encourage her to fall back asleep on her own. Establishing patterns and good habits in the beginning can help as she gets older.

-If these steps don’t work, talk to your doctor. There could be underlying issues such as reflux causing discomfort and intense crying.





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