What To Tell Your Caregiver


  • Never shake your baby!
  • Go over your child’s usual routine with the caregiver.
  • Tell your caregiver what helps your baby calm when he/she is crying.
  • Make sure the sitter knows where you will be and how to reach you.  Give permission for the caregiver to put the baby in a safe place and take a break.
  • Tell your caregiver to call 911 in case of any emergency.

Another method that can help is Dr. Harvey Karp’s “five S’s” approach, which stands for:

  1. Shushing (by using “white noise” or rhythmic sounds that mimic the constant whir of noise in the womb. Vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, clothes dryers, a running tub, or a white noise machine can all create this effect.)
  2. Side/stomach positioning (placing the baby on the left side — to help with digestion — or on the belly while holding him or her. Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep.)
  3. Sucking (letting the baby breastfeed or bottle-feed, or giving the baby a pacifier or finger to suck on).
  4. Swaddling (wrapping the baby in a blanket like a “burrrito” to help him or her feel more secure. Hips and knees should be slightly bent and turned out).
  5. Swinging gently (rocking in a chair, using an infant swing, or taking a car ride to help duplicate the constant motion the baby felt in the womb).

Give your caregiver a list of things to try if the baby won’t stop crying.  Here is a sample list:

  • Make sure the baby’s basic needs are met (for example, he or she isn’t hungry and doesn’t need to be changed).
  • Check for signs of illness, like fever or swollen gums.
  • Rock or walk with the baby.
  • Sing or talk to the baby.
  • Offer the baby a pacifier or a noisy toy.
  • Take the baby for a ride in a stroller or strapped into a child safety seat in the car.
  • Hold the baby close against your body and breathe calmly and slowly.
  • Give the baby a warm bath.
  • Pat or rub the baby’s back.
  • Call a friend or relative for support or to take care of the baby while you take a break.
  • If nothing else works, put the baby on his or her back in the crib, close the door, and check on the baby in 10 minutes.
  • Call your doctor if nothing seems to be helping your infant, in case there is a medical reason for the fussiness.

Need Help?

24/7 crisis line:  1-800-4A-CHILD
Birth to Five Helpline:  1-877-705-KIDS