The Happiest Baby on the Block

Author: Harvey Karp

Type: Non-fiction, single subject

Full title: The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer

Published: 2002

I read it: September 2013

happiest baby

A friend of ours didn’t have to think twice about what to get us for our baby shower: a 3-pack of newborn swaddlers and The Happiest Baby on the Block. He swore by the white noise, the swaddling, the key ways to calm a baby down. Dr. Karp’s book is helpful in a very tangible way. He introduces the concept of the fourth trimester, illustrating how newborns are really only equipped to live in a womb for their first three months of life. So, the idea is to recreate the womb.

The book goes on (ad nauseum) to explain the 5 S’s: Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Shhhh, Swing, Suck. Dr. Karp emphasizes that the order matters, as well as the correct way of doing each. It has already worked well on Isaac. We were shown swaddling while he was still at the hospital, and he took to sucking very quickly. He likes the side okay, but that is the least used for us. Shhhh is becoming crucial now that he’s a bit more colicky (got a white noise app that came in handy), and he’s liking the swing motion (or being carried–this is best). All the techniques are worth trying, and in combination they are awesome.

The book is informative if not the most well-written. It’s engaging enough, but a bit overdone. There are a boatload of personal accounts littered throughout–sometimes just a paragraph stuck into the page in a different font, but certainly too many to be necessary. Well, maybe some people need to hear the personal tales to get a feel for the techniques. For others, I think a pamphlet of the information would suffice. Either way, it’s definitely one I would pass on to new parents. As for those babies, wrap ’em tight!

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