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

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

by Harvey Karp


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553381467
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/31/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.16(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

Harvey Karp, M.D., is a nationally renowned pediatrician, child development specialist, and a leading advocate in the field of children’s environmental health. He is on the faculty of USC School of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Karp’s books and DVDs, The Happiest Baby on the BlockThe Happiest Toddler on the Block, and The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep, teach parents his groundbreaking techniques to reduce infant crying, boost sleep, build toddler patience, and stop tantrums. Millions of parents have benefited from his advice, including celebrities such as Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Larry David, Jewel, and Pierce Brosnan. Thousands of specially trained educators teach Happiest Baby classes across America. Dr. Karp’s works are translated into more than twenty languages, and their popularity have made him among America’s most read and trusted pediatricians.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

At Last There's Hope:

An Easy Way to Calm Crying Babies

Main Points:

All babies cry, but most new parents have little experience soothing them

The Basic Problem: In many ways, babies are born three months too soon

The Calming Reflex: Nature's Off switch for a baby's crying

The 5 "S's": How to turn on your baby's calming reflex

The Cuddle Cure: Combining the 5 "S's" to help any fussy baby

Suzanne was worried and exhausted. Her two-month-old baby, Sean, was a nonstop screamer. He could cry for hours. One afternoon her sister came to watch the baby, and Suzanne bolted to the bathroom for a hot shower and a quick "escape." Forty-five minutes later she awoke, curled up in a ball on the blue tile floor, being sprayed with ice-cold water!

Meanwhile, half a world away in the rugged Kalahari plains of northern Botswana, Nisa gave birth to a tiny girl named Chuko. Chuko was thin and delicate but despite her dainty size, she, too, was a challenging baby who cried frequently.

Nisa carried Chuko in a leather sling everywhere she went. Unlike Suzanne, she never worried when Chuko cried, because like all mothers of the !Kung San tribe, she knew exactly how to calm her baby's crying-in seconds.

Why did Suzanne have such trouble soothing Sean's screams?

What ancient secrets did Nisa know that helped her calm her baby so easily?

As you are about to learn, the answers to these two questions will change the way you think about babies forever! They will show you the world through your baby's eyes and, most important, they will teach you how to calm your baby's cries in minutes and help prolong her sleep.

Your Baby Is Born

When perfectly dry, his flesh sweet and pure, he is the most kissable object in nature.

Marion Harland, Common Sense in the Nursery, 1886

Congratulations! You've done a great job already! You've nurtured your baby from the moment of conception to your baby's "birth"-day. Having a baby is a wonderful-and wonder-full-experience that makes you laugh, cry, and stare in amazement . . . all at the same time.

Your top job as a new parent is to love your baby like crazy. After showering her with affection, your next two important jobs are to feed her and to calm her when she cries.

I can tell you from my twenty-five years as a pediatrician, parents who succeed at these two tasks feel proud, confident, on top of the world! They have the happiest babies and they feel like the best parents on the block. However, mothers and fathers who struggle with these tasks often end up feeling distraught.

Fortunately, feeding a baby is usually pretty straightforward. Most newborns take to sucking like they have a Ph.D. in chowing-down! Soothing a crying baby, on the other hand, can be unexpectedly challenging.

No couple expects their sweet newborn to be "difficult." Who really listens to horror stories friends and family share? We assume our child will be an "easy" baby. That's why so many new parents are shocked to discover how tough calming their baby's cries can be.

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying crying is bad. In fact, it's brilliant! Leave it to nature to find such an effective way for helpless babies to get our attention. And once your baby has your attention, you probably zip down a checklist of questions and solutions:

Is she hungry? Feed her.

Is she wet? Change her diaper.

Is she lonely? Pick her up.

Is she gassy? Burp her.

Is she cold? Bundle her up.

The trouble comes when nothing works.

Estimates are that one out of every five babies has repeated bouts of terrible fussiness-for no apparent reason. That adds up to almost one million sweet new babies born in the U.S. each year who suffer from hours of red-faced, eyes-clenched screaming.

This is why parents of unhappy babies are such heroes! A baby's scream is an incredibly heart-wrenching sound. Bone-tired and bewildered moms and dads lovingly cuddle their frantic babies for hours, trying to calm them, yet the continued crying can corrode their confidence: "Is my baby in pain?" "Am I spoiling him?" "Does she feel abandoned?" "Am I a terrible mother?"

Confronted by this barrage, sometimes the most loving parent may find herself pushed into frustration and depression. A baby's unrelenting shrieks can even drive desperate caregivers over the edge-into the tragedy of child abuse.

Exhausted parents are often told they must wait for their babies to "grow out of it." Yet most of us feel that can't be right. There must be some way to help our babies.

I'm going to show you how.

Help Wanted: Who Do New Parents Turn to When Their Baby Cries a Lot?

Although a network of clinics and specialists exists to help mothers solve their infant's feeding problems, there is little support for the parents of screaming babies. That's unfortunate because while the urge to quiet a baby is instinctual, the ability to do it is a skill that must be learned.

Today's parents have less experience caring for babies than any previous generation. (Amazingly, our culture requires more training to get a driver's license than to have a baby.)

That's not to say that inexperienced moms and dads are abandoned. On the contrary, they're bombarded with suggestions. In my experience, America's favorite pastime is not baseball but giving unasked-for advice to new parents. "It's boredom." "It's the heat." "Put a hat on him." Or "It's gas."

It can be so confusing! Who should you believe?

In frustration and concern, parents often turn to their doctor for help. Studies show that one in six couples visit a doctor because of their baby's persistent crying. When these babies are examined and found to be healthy, most doctors have little to offer but sympathy. "I know it's hard, but be patient; it won't last forever." Advice like this often sends worried parents to look for help in baby books.

Parents of colicky babies spend hours scanning books for "the answer" to their infant's distress. Yet, often the advice can be equally confusing: "Hold your baby-but be careful not to spoil him." "Love your baby-but let her cry herself to sleep."

Even these experts confess that for really fussy babies, they have nothing to offer:

Very often, you may not even be able to quiet the screaming.

What to Expect the First Year, Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway

The whole episode goes on at least an hour and perhaps for three or four hours.

Your Baby and Child, Penelope Leach

It's completely all right to set the baby in the bassinet while trying to drown out the noise with the running water of a hot shower.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood, Vicki Iovine

But a hot shower is cold comfort for the parents of a screaming baby.

Many exhausted parents I meet have been persuaded, against their better judgment, that they can only stand by and endure their baby's screaming. But I tell them otherwise. Unhappy babies can be calmed-in minutes!

The Four Principles of Soothing Babies

In many ways, the peoples living in primitive cultures are backward compared to Western societies. However, in some areas their wisdom is great . . . and we are the "primitive" ones. This is particularly true when it comes to soothing crying newborns.

I teased out shreds of information from the past and wove them with cutting-edge modern research and some unique observations made during my years of caring for more than five thousand infants. From this, I distilled four principles that are crucial for anyone who wants to understand babies better and be skillful at comforting them and improving their sleep:

The Missing Fourth Trimester

The Calming Reflex

The 5 "S's"

The Cuddle Cure

The Missing Fourth Trimester-Many Babies Cry Because They're Born Three Months Too Soon!

Did you ever see a baby horse or a baby cow? These newborn animals can walk, even run, on their very first day of life. In fact, they must be able to run-their survival depends upon it.

By comparison, our newborns are quite immature. They can't run, walk, or even roll over. One British mum told me her new daughter seemed so unready for the world she and her husband affectionately nicknamed her "The Little Creature." They're not alone in seeing babies that way; the Spanish use the word criatura, meaning creature, to describe babies.

In many ways your new baby is more a fetus than an infant, spending most of her time sleeping and being fed. Had you delayed your delivery just three more months, your baby would have been born with the ability to smile, coo, and flirt. (Who wouldn't want that on their baby's first day of life!) However, I've never been able to talk a woman into keeping her infant inside for a fourth trimester . . . and for good reason. It's already a tight squeeze getting a baby's head out after nine months of pregnancy; by twelve months it would be impossible.

Why are our babies so immature at birth? The reason is simple. Unlike baby horses whose survival depends on their big strong bodies, a human baby's survival depends on big smart brains. In fact, our babies' brains are so huge we have to "evict" fetuses from the womb well before they're fully ready for the world to keep their heads from getting stuck in the birth canal.

Newborns have some abilities that demonstrate their readiness to be in the world, but these notwithstanding, for the first three months, our babies are so immature they would really benefit if they could hop back inside whenever they get overwhelmed. However, since we're not kangaroos, the least we can do as loving, compassionate parents is to make our little criaturas feel at home by surrounding them with the comforting sensations they enjoyed twenty-four hours a day in the womb. However, in order to give babies a fourth trimester, parents need to answer one important question: What exactly was it like in there?

In your womb, your baby was packed tight into the fetal position enveloped by the warm wall of the uterus and rocked and jiggled for much of the day. She was also surrounded by a constant shushing sound a little louder than a vacuum cleaner.

For thousands of years, parents have known that mimicking conditions in the uterus comforts newborns. That's why almost every traditional baby-calming technique around the world imitates the sensations of the womb. From swaddling to swings to shushing, these methods return babies to a cuddly, rhythmic, womblike world until they are ready to coo, smile, and join the family. As helpful as this fourth-trimester experience is for calm babies, it is essential for fussy ones.

Most parents assume that this imitation soothes their baby simply by making her feel "back home." Actually, these experiences trigger a profound neurological response never before recognized or reported-until today. This ancient and very powerful baby reflex is the calming reflex.

The Calming Reflex: Nature's Brilliant Off-Switch for Your Baby's Crying

This automatic reset switch stills a baby's crying and is truly a baby's (and parent's) best friend. Why did nature choose imitating the uterus as the trigger for this blessed reflex? The reason is clear but unexpected: As important as it was for our ancestors to be able to quiet their babies, it was triply important for them to be able to quiet their fetuses!

Just imagine what it would feel like if your fetus threw a temper tantrum inside you. Not only could pounding fists and kicking feet make you sore, they could damage the fragile placenta or rip the umbilical cord, causing a fatal hemorrhage. Perhaps even more deadly than the risk of accidental injury was the chance that a squirming baby might get stuck in a bad position in the uterus and be unable to slide out, thus killing herself and her mother.

I'm convinced that the survival of our fetuses, and perhaps even the survival of our species, depended on this ancient calming reflex. Over millions of years, fetuses who became entranced by the sensations inside the uterus didn't thrash about and thus were most likely to stay alive. Our babies today are direct descendants of those "Zen" fetuses who were so easily pacified by the womb.

The 5 "S's": Five Steps to Turn On Your Baby's Calming Reflex

How is a vacuum cleaner like a lullaby? How is a Volvo like a flannel blanket? They all help switch on your baby's calming reflex by imitating some quality of your womb.

Although our ancient ancestors intuitively understood how to turn off their baby's crying and turn on their baby's calming, recognition of the calming reflex itself remained completely overlooked until I identified it during the mid-1990s while studying the characteristics of hundreds of crying babies in my practice.

I was struck by the fact that many traditional baby-calming methods failed to work unless they were done exactly right. I realized that, similar to a doctor setting off a knee reflex with a precise whack of a little hammer, the calming reflex could only be triggered by certain very specific actions. When presented correctly, however, the sounds and feelings of the womb had such a powerful effect that they could carry an infant from tears to tranquillity, sometimes even in mid-cry.

Parents and grandparents traditionally have used five different characteristics of the womb to soothe their babies. I refer to these time-honored "ingredients" of calm as the 5 "S's":

Swaddling-tight wrapping

Side/Stomach-lying a baby on her side or stomach

Shushing-loud white noise

Swinging-rhythmic, jiggly motion

Sucking-sucking on anything from your nipple or finger to a pacifier

These five methods are extremely effective but only when performed exactly right. When done without the right technique and vigor, they do nothing. (Detailed descriptions of how to perform each "S" are in chapters 8 through 12.)

The Cuddle Cure: Combining the 5 "S's" into a Perfect Recipe for Your Baby's Bliss

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be a terrific parent, but there are some little tricks that can help you do your job better. Most infant-care books list these calming tips, but that's as unhelpful as listing the ingredients of a recipe without giving the instructions for how to combine and cook them.

Each individual "S" may be effective for soothing a mildly fussy baby. Your "easy" baby may only need to suck or to be danced around the room in order to be calmed. However, doing all five together can switch on the calming reflex so strongly that, for many babies, they become an irresistibly soothing force for even the most frantic newborn. This layering of one "S" on top of another is so successful at making unhappy babies feel cozy and calm that one of my patients dubbed it "the Cuddle Cure."

What People are Saying About This

Morris Green

This beautifully written volume meets a tremendous need for a scientifically sound and effective parent guide to the care of persistently crying babies. Dr. Karp has written the best book that I've read on this challenging topic.
— Perry W. Lesh Professor of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine

James McKenna

A witty and masterful book bursting with wisdom from start to finish. It contains some of the best, most original ideas about new babies I have ever seen. Dr. Karp entertains as he teaches, providing wonderful and innovative suggestions in a family-friendly way.
— Chairman, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, and director, Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory

Pierce Brosnan

A must read! Dr. Karp offers insights into parenting by combining ancient and modern wisdom. Our baby boy responded to the 5 S’s immediately!
— TV journalist/environmentalist and actor

Martin Stein

What a marvelous book! Parents for years to come will be grateful to Dr. Karp for this lucid and entertaining explanation of why babies cry and how to help them.
— Professor of pediatrics, University of California, San Diego Medical School, author of Encounters with Children: Pediatric Behavior and Development

William Lord Coleman

Simply put, this is the best book I've ever read about keeping babies calm and happy. It is a must for everyone who cares about infants.
— Center for Development and Learning, University of North Carolina, and author of Family-Focused Behavioral Pediatrics

Jerry Zucker

Dr. Karp is simply the best. Any time a problem pops up in our children, he guides us with warmth, wisdom and humor. And that helps us sleep better at night.
— Director of Airplane, Ghost, and Rat Race

Alfre Woodard

Harvey Karp would make my Big Mama proud! He is leading us back to ages old basics, back to motherwit.
— actress

Stanley Inkelis

"Dr. Karp's 'Cuddle Cure' is quite simply the best way I know to calm crying babies.
— Professor of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Hospital

Michelle Pfeiffer

Harvey writes about areas that most parenting books don’t address. What every mother needs are simple tools that really work . . . and Harvey’s do.
— actress/producer

Lindsey Buckingham

Harvey Karp’s enlightened and creative approach has been a benefit not only to our children, but to my wife and me as parents.
— photographer and singer-songwriter, Fleetwood Mac

Sandra Steffes

Harvey Karp is the type of pediatrician that every parent would want. His experience is beyond compare and his ability to relate to parents is impressive. The Happiest Baby on the Block has the perfect solutions for helping parents grow and thrive . . . along with their babies.
— R.N., M.S., member, Board of Directors, Lamaze International

Larry David

There is nothing quite like watching Dr. Harvey work wonders on a screaming baby. He’s not a pediatrician, he’s a magician. Every time I bring my kids in to see him, I walk out wishing he was their father.
— star of Curb Your Enthusiasm and co-creator of Seinfeld

Lynn Sullivan

The ‘Karp Wrap’ can stop a baby’s cries instantly.
— RN, Director, Newborn Nursing Services, SM-UCLA Hospital

Steven P. Shelov

Dr. Karp’s practical approach is a superb way to help babies when they are crying or upset. All who care for children will gain greatly from this new addition to our parenting library.
— Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Infants and Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn, Maimonides, editor-in-chief, American Academy of Pediatrics Caring for Your New Baby and Young Child: Birth to Five

Hunter Tylo

I wish I had known Dr. Karp for my first two children. With the soothing, loving tips in this book, caring for my two most recent babies has been a dream.
— actress/founder of Hunter’s Chosen Child

Neal Kaufman

Dr. Karp's book is extraordinary. The advice contained in this book, will make any parent, or grandparent, feel like a baby expert.
— Professor Of Pediatrics, UCLA School Of Medicine, Director Primary Care Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Robin Swicord

Dr. Karp was exactly the doctor to see us through parenthood. He has the magic touch - not just with babies, but with new parents too.
— screenwriters of Matilda, Reversal of Fortune and Practical Magic

Elizabeth Bing

The Happiest Baby on the Block is fun, fascinating and convincing. I highly recommend it to all new parents to help them accomplish one of their most important jobs…soothing their crying baby.
— author and co-founder of Lamaze International

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The Happiest Baby On The Block 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this video for some friends who are first time parents. They had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago. They had been struggling with their baby sleeping all day and crying ALL NIGHT. When I would talk to them, they were always exhausted. They were also getting really frustrated which was causing problems with their relationship. Dad was working all day, and wanted to come home and unwind and get a little bit of sleep. Mom was confused and at her wits end because she didn't know what else she could do. Nobody was getting any sleep at night. Mom was having to let baby sleep on her chest while sitting on the couch, and dad was in the bedroom. I started doing some research to see if there was anything that could help their baby sleep at night. I happen to stumble upon this book title on B&N and started reading all of the outstanding reviews. When I went to B&N to pick up the book, I saw that there was a video and purchased the video for them instead. Boy was this a GOD SEND!!! While simultaneously watching the video, they tried Dr. Karp's techniques, they were amazed when it INSTANTLY worked!!! They went from not getting any sleep to 6-7 hrs of sleep a night and their little one will only be two months. The parents have showed the video to their sister-in-law, who has a 7 mth old baby herself. She used to sit in the rocking chair in the middle of the night and cry with her baby because she didn't know what to do. She stated 'where was this video 7 mths ago, when I needed it?!?!' I myself am due to have a baby boy in January and plan to use Dr. Karp's techniques on my newborn right away!!! P.S. if you could get the video, PURCHASE IT!!! You can apply the techniques right away. Some parents and babies, may lose out on much needed rest because they are too busy and don't have the time to read a book. The mom I purchased this video for even told me, if I would have purchased her the book, 'I would not have read it. I was too frustrated and too exhausted with the little guy'. I will definitely purchase a copy of this video as a gift for all future baby showers that I attend!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good information, but it could have easily been boiled down to a twenty-page pamphlet. Also, the author spends considerable time discussing his theories regarding the evolution of the species; this could be offensive to some.  All in all, it is not worth buying. Borrow from a friend and read it in a day. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here is the book in a nutshell: Swaddle your baby, let them have a pacifier, and make the shush sound when they are upset. By doing this you will be the best parent on the block. Not worth your time. Not revolutionary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After 3 months of struggling with our collicy baby boy, I bought this book along with a couple of others. This book was by far the best. The swaddling alone helped my baby take longer naps, and by 4 months he was sleeping all night. The shushing also helped - we used a white noise maker at night to sooth him. His binky, the sucking, continues to sooth him today. Now at 11 1/2 months old, he is a happy baby boy who continues to sleep all night and take 2 solid naps a day. I just wish I would have found this book earlier! I will definitely recommend it to my friends who are expecting!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read EVERY baby book out there re: sleeping and crying, and this is the only one that WORKED immediately and meets your instincts as a mother that the baby is too young and physically immature to soothe herself and put herself to sleep in her first few months. I started using the techniques in this book when our baby was just under 3 months. We were at the height of the crying all night long, plus she was not taking naps during the day (if she did go down, she woke herself right up). I was able to soothe her to sleep in minutes and she stayed asleep much longer. Now at 4 months, she needs less of these techniques and she can fall asleep on her own -- just as well as the other books that told you to let you newborn just cry it out said their techniques would lead to. BUY THIS BOOK!
rfewell on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The premise of this book is that babies should be treated like they're in utero for about 3 months after they're born. The author promotes carrying babies in slings or pouches and co-sleeping with babies.
fishhook7 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The basic points are good - and they work. But, the book is amazingly boring.
elkeursin on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Being a new mother with no experience at all, this book was invaluable to me during the first weeks. There are so many useful tactics outlined in the book that work like a charm on my little one. While I agree with other reviewers that much of the information is repeated several times throughout the book, it didn't bother me at all. To have my baby calm and sleeping longer is just wonderful. I highly recommend this book to new moms and dads.
echoesofstars on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Our little girl isn't colicky, but we do employ the techniques described in this book when she fusses, and they do calm her. At times, especially the beginning, it seems like the author is trying too hard to sell his theory about colic. I found the second half of the book to be more informative and helpful than the first. If you can make it through the initial sales pitch, you will find the rest of the book to be very insightful.
Katie_H on LibraryThing 5 months ago
After successfully using the concepts in this self-help book on our twins for at least the first six months, I can definitely say that they WORK. They work VERY, VERY well! Dr. Karp was a lifesaver for us! At about four weeks postpartem, we were at our wits end, struggling with two crying babies who wouldn't sleep or easily calm down. After learning the five principles, there was an INSTANT improvement. The only problem with the book is that some of the techniques aren't easily described in words (for example, shushing), which is why I'd recommend getting the DVD as well. If you must choose between the book or the DVD, get the DVD, not the book. Also, I'd recommend reading this book AFTER you have your baby - you won't have an opportunity to practice the methods, and you'll forget them before baby arrives. This, along with the movie, would be a great preggo gift for a first time mommy.
RcCarol on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book was recommended by a friend who used the author's methods with her newborn. I found the methods to be extremely useful with my own newborns - swaddling alone would calm them down in seconds. But the style of the writing itself was so repetitive that I found myself irritated. The thesis of the book is that babies are born when they are not because they are developmentally ready to be born, but because that is the moment they are best able to survive outside the womb and be born in a manner that is safe for them and their mothers. The techniques focus on recreating "womb-like" conditins for the baby, with swaddling, shushing, and jiggling, among other suggestions. The newborn, thrust into a world it is not ready to join, feels comforted by these techniques, and becomes calmer. As noted by other reviewers, these techniques are primarily useful for the baby's first 3 months (longer, if the baby is premature). However, I found that my babies (I had two) responded extremely well to all the suggestions. A good swaddle, and my babies slept peacefully. We eventually stopped swaddling when they outgrew the blankets we used, but by then the babies didn't need it. I suspect that the techniques made our first months with our children much easier. So, why did I only give three stars? Well, I'm not just reviewing the techniques, but the style and tone of the book, which suffer from an overly friendly, supposedly "accessible" style and was repetitive and cloyingly perky. Another reviewer said it, and I agree, the concepts of the book could probably fit in one small review such as this. My recommendation, therefore, is to borrow the book from a friend or the library, or buy a copy from a used-book store. It is worth your time to read, but it is not worth the money that is charged for it.
iamexhumed on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Almost immediately after our daughter was born, we knew we were in for a wild ride. Over the first couple of days, even our nurses suggested that she was "a little intense." We have pictures of her sleeping in the hospital, but part of me is still convinced that my husband must of snapped pictures of someone else's baby, because I sure don't remember her sleeping. Our doctor confirmed that she most likely had colic, and we tried everything under the sun with the idea that colic is because of tummy issues or whatever people blame it on these days. Nothing worked, and every night we could look forward to hours of straight screaming.I got this book and the companion DVD from the library, and the word "miracle" doesn't even do justice to what I learned. Dr. Karp's theory about what causes colic absolutely makes perfect sense, especially when he mentions that babies in many other cultures do not suffer from colic. I went from being helpless to her screaming for 3 hours at a time, to being able to settle her down in a matter of a couple minutes. I now work with women who are pregnant and brand new moms, and I recommend this book to all of them. I was amazed that our pediatrician had never heard of it. It should be required reading for all of them!
elenchus on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Karp's thesis of a fourth trimester is fascinating as explanation of human development, as well as frame for understanding what works (and what doesn't) for calming shrieking neonates. While the "why" of what works is perhaps not an urgent question at the time, it does make for a more interesting book afterwards, and frankly, more easily remembered. Would be curious to know how this thesis is received in academic journals, assuming Karp's arguments were presented there as well as in this popular account..
vfranklyn on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Well, I don't have the kid yet, so I can't give it 5 stars. However it seems like it'll work, the book is well written and easy to understand. The "jiggling" concept might be hard for me to do, though.
89vine on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Awesome book to for help with new parents, or even people that have had babies. The book goes over actual ways to help your baby start the 'crying reflex'. Every parent should own this book.
BrauerFamily on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is the one "must-read" even if you read no other books for new parents. I have recommended this to many first time parents and every one of them has come back to say thanks. The concepts are pretty simple, so simple they seem obvious once you read them but they make a huge difference.The techniques, the 5-S's described in other reviews, are simple and so easy to use that it's easy to say think "I didn't need them" but in retrospect they become ingrained.
ArcticLlama on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Good book with solid concrete tips that worked well for our two babies. The downside is that this is 40 pages worth of material expanded, and expanded, and expanded, upon in order to get a commercially viable link. -- Find the 5 "S"s, read them and then you're done.
piefuchs on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Part 1 of review - Prior to birth of baby.As everyone sings that praises of the ideas put forth in this book, I decide to use some freebie amazon certificate to buy it. Like most books on childcare - it is a quick read - so I decided to read it in full before the baby, and then to sample back to the parts I needed when my sleepless nights starts. So in that spirit - this book is more of a marketing forum for one man's ideas than a description of the causes of colic. As a scientist I was particularly bothered by the fact that we he listed the supporting facts for each of his theories they were always the same. He also chose not to provide the data on colic which i would like to think he collected for his academic research. That said, I know have a spectrum of things to try to calm a crying baby and some of them are not in other books. Of course, the proof is in the pudding, so I will try to complete my review when my child is 4 months old...
ipsographic on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was a lifesaver for us during the first two months of our daughter's life. Harvey Karp's techniques really work! Tight swaddling, rocking, and loud white noise helped to calm our baby through the most difficult weeks of the newborn period. Although Karp's soothing techniques sometimes seemed nothing short of miraculous, the real value of the book for me was in his reassuring and upbeat style. As first time parents we weren't prepared for our new baby to cry so much -- and we certainly didn't realize the emotional toll her crying would have on us. Karp's positive message reminded me that my baby's colicky crying wouldn't last forever, and that it wasn't happening because I was doing anything wrong. And he was right -- she's now a happy, healthy, active three-month-old who has outgrown her swaddling, regularly sleeps through the night, and beams with beautiful smiles during the day. I highly recommend this book, and I think it would make a great baby gift. Every new parent should have a copy of this book!
stephaniesmithrn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The best "baby" book I read. It was immensely helpful during my daughter's first 7 months because she was so colicky!! I found his theory of colic very interesting as well, made sense to me. I'd highly recommend this to anyone expecting a baby. It would make a great baby shower gift.
tellabella More than 1 year ago
My husband and I read this shortly before our twins arrived - thank goodness! Such useful information and instructions on ways to help calm a fussy baby. Luckily a few different friends had recommended it to us, and then the pediatrician recommended it after they were born (we already had it by then). I'd say this is a must-have for all new parents!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
amo0 More than 1 year ago
This book is so helpful! A friend suggested it when our daughter was about 5 weeks old and was taking forever to go to sleep and crying most of the day.  Needless to say, we needed help.  Within two days we had a total turnaround on our daughter's behavior and a much happier baby.  She slept longer and more solidly and was generally more content throughout the day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RNMomma More than 1 year ago
I give this book to family and friends who are having a baby. As a nurse, I've used Dr. Karp's techniques many times. I incorporated in to our parenting classes.