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Book Review: Happiest Baby on the Block

PhotobucketSometimes when I read a baby-care book, I have to take the author’s advice with a grain of salt. After all, some things will work for you and some won’t. Every baby and every parent is different.

However, and this may just be my prior experience with Baby1 talking, the techniques given in this book apply to so many babies! Dr. Karp is like “the baby whisperer” or something because I recall using these techniques with Baby1 and they really worked. Of course, I didn’t know back then that I was deactivating the Moro reflex or that “shh”ing is an ancient art form, but I do now!

There are five “layers of calm” or “the five S’s” that sooth a fussy infant; Dr. Karp skillfully explains each and every one of them. His writing style makes for perfect instruction: he doesn’t “talk down” to the reader yet at the same time he doesn’t assume the reader has background knowledge about some of the concepts and terms, such as the aforementioned Moro reflex (which is from long ago in our primate days and kept us from falling off mama’s hairy back).

I won’t go into each of “the five S’s” here; if you would like to read more then reserve this book at your library (although mine didn’t have it so I picked it up from Amazon). However I will take a moment to discuss my favorite “S,” the swaddle. Mr. Handsome and I learned the swaddle (and really, most of the techniques in this book) from the lovely nurses at the hospital where Baby1 was born. We used that swaddle every day and night and didn’t stop until, I don’t even know, he was probably big enough to kick and jab his way out of it. Our swaddle skills got pretty dang awesome, if I do say so myself, and he was swaddled tight and firm. He really loved the swaddle; we could tell because even if he was super fussy all it would take sometimes is a good swaddle and he’d calm right down. Photobucket

Now there are all these “swaddlers” and shortcuts to the classic swaddle. I’m not saying these are good or bad products (like I said each baby and parent finds something that works for them) but I just can’t use anything other than your standard receiving blanket. The illustration at right is not from the book, but it’s still a good step-by-step guide. Fold down a corner, arms at the sides, tuck a corner under the opposite arm, fold the bottom corner up under the shoulder, wrap the remaining corner around and secure. After some practice, you can do it in seconds, one handed, with a squirming screaming baby.

I seriously digress with the swaddling, back to the book. I have nothing bad to say about this book. There’s no piece of advice that I wouldn’t follow (although Dr. Karp does reference some cultures that nurse their babies 24/7 and I just don’t think I could do that!). Everyone with a new baby should at least give these tricks a shot. They can’t hurt! The only babies I wouldn’t recommend these techniques for would be the perfectly quiet, content ones. They probably don’t need any help.

So if you need some help calming your little screamer, give The Happiest Baby on the Block a try!

Next review: Hey! Who’s Having This Baby Anyway?

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