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The Happiest Baby on the Block Paperback – May 27 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 297 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (May 27 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553381466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553381467
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.5 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 297 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Karp, a pediatrician in Santa Monica, Calif., and assistant professor at the School of Medicine, UCLA, offers a new method to calm and soothe crying infants. While nursing or being held satisfies some babies, others seemingly cry for hours for no reason. These babies suffer from what Karp calls the Fourth Trimester. When you bring your soft, dimpled newborn home from the hospital, you may think your nursery is a peaceful sanctuary.... To him, it's a disorienting world part Las Vegas casino, part dark closet! Karp recommends a series of five steps designed to imitate the uterus. These steps include swaddling, side/stomach position, shhh sounds, swinging and sucking. The book includes detailed advice on the proper way to swaddle a child, the difference between a gentle rocking versus shaking and more. According to the author, virtually all babies will respond to these strategies although some trial and error may be needed to find the most effective calming method. A number of the steps letting kids nurse more frequently or encouraging babies to use pacifiers, for instance contradict other childcare experts. However, parents who are at their wits' ends because of a baby's incessant crying will find this book invaluable. In fact, expectant parents may want to read it before they bring their newborns home from the hospital.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"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!" --Keely and Pierce Brosnan, TV journalist/environmentalist and actor

"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." —Michelle Pfeiffer, actress/producer

"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." —James McKenna, Ph.D., chairman, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, and director, Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory

"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." —Martin Stein, M.D., Professor of pediatrics, University of California, San Diego Medical School, author of Encounters with Children: Pediatric Behavior and Development

"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." —Sandra Apgar Steffes, R.N., M.S., member, Board of Directors, Lamaze International

"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." —Larry David, star of Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm and co-creator of Seinfeld

"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." -Elisabeth Bing, author and co-founder of Lamaze International

"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." -William Lord Coleman, MD, Center for Development and Learning, University of North Carolina, author of Family-Focused Behavioral Pediatrics

"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." -- Steven P. Shelov, M.D., 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

"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." -Morris Green, M.D., Perry W. Lesh Professor of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine

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

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

"The 'Karp Wrap’ can stop a baby’s cries instantly!" —Lynn Sullivan, RN, Director, Newborn Nursing Services, SM-UCLA Hospital

"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." —Robin Swicord and Nicholas Kazan, screenwriters of Matilda, Reversal of Fortune and Practical Magic

"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." —Hunter Tylo, actress/founder of Hunter’s Chosen Child

"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." —Jerry Zucker, director of Airplane, Ghost, and Rat Race

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

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

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Suzanne was worried and exhausted. Her two-month-old baby, Sean, was a nonstop screamer. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have a 6 week old baby girl who is right at the height of her colicky phase. Last night even the 5 S's (which normally work fabulously) were only working temporarily, so I decided to try something drastic. Since I really needed to vacuum, I decided to combine the two efforts and see what happened. Since Dr. Karp says that cultures who "wear" their babies rarely have problems with colic, I purchased one of those baby slings. I put her in it and got the vacuum out and proceeded to vacuum. Within about 15 seconds she was asleep and stayed asleep the entire hour it took to vacuum, complete with all the movement that comes with the task. The only precaution I had to take was to make sure I didn't hit something with her, since she was an extention of my body. If anyone needed more proof of the 4th Trimester theory, HERE IT IS!! Save yourself a lot of heartache, and buy and read this book before your baby is born!
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Format: Hardcover
Although our son was not colicky, he was a loud sleeper. He thrashed and kicked and woke himself up 3 or 4 times a night. He was so loud we had to put him in his own room long before we were ready to.
I read Dr. Karp's book in one evening and started using the 5 s's that same night. What a change! The very first night, although he kicked and screamed about being swaddled, he fell asleep quickly and slept FIVE hours straight (at four weeks old)!! Since then, we have been swaddling our son every night and for his long nap in the daytime. Most of the time, only 2 or 3 of the s's are needed to put our son to sleep. We even can put him to bed mildly awake and he goes to sleep on his own.
Dr. Karp's book is easy to read, easy to use, and absolutely the truth. My North African husband had tried to convince me to use the very same techniques Dr. Karp espouses in his book from the time we came home from the hospital. I thought my husband was nutso to want to keep swaddling the baby... I eat my words!
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Format: Hardcover
Boy do I wish I had this book with baby #1. When my second child was born I prayed for no colic but alas he had it too. at 2.5 weeks the SCREAMING started. He also has reflux and they tried to tell me his silent reflux was making him scream.. so why then does the sound of the hairdryer make him stop?
After I read this book and watched his video.. my life changed. The swaddle with the swaddle me available on Dr Karp's website ... was what saved my sanity on the road... I NEVER would have thought that this could work the way it does. Just like the kids on his video my screaming son stopped in seconds.
I now buy this for any baby shower I go to. If you never ever buy any other baby book buy this one. Once again thank you Dr Karp for helping to open the eyes of the world. We tried 3 different reflux meds on my son before I called it quits saying I really think its bad bad all day colic.. and at 4 mos.. he really is the Happiest Baby on the Block
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Format: Paperback
There were a lot of really helpful hints although this is one of those books that could be condensed into an info-sheet. Dr. Karp really stretches out the message to fit a book format. I would suggest buying this used, borrowing it or just talking to someone who's read it instead of buying new for this reason.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The most repetitive and simplistic book I have come across - Karp has taken a fairly simple set of instructions which could easily have been covered in a 5 page article and stretched it out into a 200 page article. While the ideas may be valid in helping a baby to sleep, the book is also guaranteed to help the adult reader fall asleep too!
The ideas are basic and I would be surprised to meet a parent who can't figure it out for themselves...
Don't waste your money
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book because it was recommended to me by a friend.

Our baby was just a few weeks old when I got it and it has some great pointers about how to calm and soothe your baby. I wish I had actually purchased it before our baby was born so that I would have been equipped with some of the skills right off the hop.

While the content is undoubtedly a lifesaver with valuable tips on how to stop your baby from crying, the book itself is a waste of paper. The entire first half of the book is just the author going over various theories on what causes colic, why they're wrong and why he's right. As a sleep-deprived, time-starved new mother with a screaming 3 week old, I couldn't care less! Just give me the info and the tools I need to help my baby! The second half is better, but is still overstuffed with testimonials and examples of how effective his technique is.

I do recommend this book since the 5 S's really DO work, but don't feel bad about skipping over the first half and all of his real-life examples.
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Format: Paperback
It's interesting reading all of these posts, and I'm happy that these methods worked for so many people. However, they did NOT work for us. My second son is now 10 months and he's delightful. However, he screamed all the time until he was 4 months old. When I read Dr. Karp's book I was sure that I could make life easier for the baby, but he resisted all of the "S's." He hated being swaddled and still hates being pinned in or down, meaning that he hates the carseat and always hated the swing and the infant carrier. He rolled over at 3 months and started to crawl at 5 months. Saying "SSHH" to him? HA!! That just angered him more. Seeing how active he is now and how much he loves to communicate with us through sounds and gestures, I can understand how difficult infancy was for him. I appreciate the idea of the 4th trimester, but I wish that there was some indication in the book that some babies, quite typical and even wonderful ones, will resist these methods. I'm writing this post for those parents at the end of their ropes -- hang in there. If the baby is crying a lot, as long as you're doing all you can, just know that things will eventually improve on their own!
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