Parenting, Sleep

Book Review: The Happiest Baby on the Block

The first few months of your baby’s life is the longest and shortest period for a parent. Like most babies, we had sleep challenges. I read the popular books on the baby sleep methods to study and compare- hoping that one of them will have the magic recipe. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp was usefull and effective to a degree. He espouses the idea of a fourth trimester. This is the first three months of your baby’s life where he/she is adjusting to new surroundings and still yearning for the comforts of the womb. His method to sooth the baby is based on 5 “S’s”.

1. Swaddling – wrapping the baby in a swaddle is very effective. It provides comfort and warmth that they are accustomed to in the womb. My son was always swaddled to sleep until he outgrew it at around 3-4 months.

2. Side/Stomach – lying the baby on her side or stomach while carrying her calms the baby. This did not work for us at all times.

3. Shhhh – the author recommends shushing right by the ear and as loud as the baby is crying. I did not follow this method. It seemed extreme and I did not want my baby to have hearing problems. A gentle shush and soft singing worked well for us. Our son would also quiet down immediately and fall asleep to a certain favorite song.

4. Swinging – this method is an “energetic jiggling”. I saw how Dr. Karp did this on his video and it seemed a bit too vigorous. I think this ‘S’ should be swaying the baby gently instead.

5. Sucking – offering the baby your finger, pacifier or breast will help calm the baby. Every nursing mother worth her salt knows that nursing is the secret weapon. If all else fails, nurse.

Overall, I recommend this book. It has good and useful tips. Some may not have worked for us but may work for your baby. Dr. Harvey Karp is a proponent of attachment parenting so his methods are based on this philosophy.

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