Gear Thursday: The Happiest Baby on the Block

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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So this went up early but it is Thursday in New Zealand and Australia and I have some great readers there so this one's for you.

Well I was going to do a wrap up of the baby room but we just watched The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and I decided the room can wait because the DVD had some great info.

We heard about Harvey Karp, a pediatrician from Santa Monica, and his Happiest Baby philosophy from a bunch of friends who said it completely changed the way they calm their babies.

He starts off talking about the idea that since babies (the human kind) are born much less developed than other mammals the 1st three months of life are really considered a 4th trimester. Then he speaks about the calming reflex which is when a baby instantly relaxes upon receiving cues similar to what is experienced in the womb.

To get those cues of the womb he suggests the 5 S's:
  • Swaddling – recreates confinement in the womb...he shows you a simple fast way to do it.
  • Side/stomach position – it was crazy but once these kids were swaddled and tipped on their sides they instantly got calm. He does stress that this is only for when you are holding your baby and that it should always sleep on it's back.
  • Shushing – you should shush louder than you'd think to recreate womb sounds...you should be as loud as the baby is crying.
  • Swinging/jiggling – recreates the movements of the mother walking while baby is in the womb
  • Sucking – use a pacifier or your finger

That's the simple list of what he talks about but the video is great because he really talks about why these things work and how to do them correctly. On the DVD it says it's over 2 hours...this must include the extras like the Q&A and such because it seemed like a much painless 30 minutes.

I thought I'd hate it but wanted to watch so I can get the technique down...I actually loved it because I like the science of why these things calm a baby...and it will be great to have this info as ammo when our baby starts crying.

In addition to the DVD Karp has a book that we bought, Staci has started reading it and loves it...I was planning on not reading it but after what I saw I will check it out.

I do have one disclaimer about the philosophy...if you do it and it works for you DO NOT tell anyone on your block about it. If you do there could be some crazy quantum problem because both kids can not be the Happiest Baby on the Block. And what happens if your neighbors kid knocks yours off that pedestal? That would suck. You should only tell friends who live in other neighborhoods.

And last I usually like to try out stuff before I talk about it on my talk about it on my blog and although friends rave about this DVD we don't have a baby to try out the 5 S's with...so I used our cat Zoggs as a surrogate...here are my findings...I hope to have them published in a veterinary journal soon.


  • Cats can be swaddled much easier than you'd think
  • Cats do not like being swaddled
  • If you are able to swaddle a cat they don't like being on their side
  • If you have swaddled a cat and gotten it on it's side it will not like being shushed
  • A cat who has been swaddled, put on it's side and shushed will not want you to come anywhere near it for about 10 minutes
So we never got past the 3rd S with Zoggs and the philosophy was a complete failure...but I do trust our friends so we'll try it with our baby.

And really last the DVD has some soothing sounds on it. We played some of those sounds and learned that dogs are a bit weary of sounds of the womb.



3 comments:

  1. love that you're totally shushing in the photo.

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  2. Staci took that pic...it was not an easy shot to get...this is national geographic style stuff as far as the rarity of the photo...

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  3. Hilarious post. I'm seeing a future SNL skit. We just watched this video and have been trying the S's, which are trickier than we thought. Hope they are working better for you on baby than they did on cat.

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