In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Happiest Baby on the Block Book Review

Starting with the DVD and add the book for additional detail if time and energy permit
Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp  MD
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Price:   $16.00 List | $10.87 at Amazon
Pros:  A powerful set of 5 techniques to soothe a crying baby, presented practically
Cons:  Reading a book may not appeal to a sleep-deprived parent, DVD much more succinct
Manufacturer:   Dr. Harvey Karp
By Juliet Spurrier, MD ⋅ Mom-in-Chief  ⋅  Oct 20, 2015
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Our Analysis

Dr. Harvey Karp's well-organized and easy-to-read book Happiest Baby on the Block is a life-saver and pure magic for many parents looking for help in soothing a crying baby. It provides information and tools for soothing babies 0-3 months old, which Karp refers to as "The Fourth Trimester."

The 5 S's for Soothing a Fussy Baby


The tools that Dr. Karp describes to calm a distressed baby by triggering his or her "calming reflex" can be summarized in what he calls the 5 S's: swaddling, the side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking. Although many of these actions may seem obvious and innate for some parents, it is the bundling of them together that works its true magic.

Safety Tip — Recent evidence has shown an increased risk of SIDS with infant swaddling past 2 months (8 weeks) of age due to the deaths of swaddled infants when they end up on their stomachs around 2-2.5 months of age. Although there are no formal recommendations by the AAP at this time, we feel it is prudent to discontinue swaddling baby at 8 weeks of age and change to a sleep sack in light of this information.

While we like the book as it covers points in further detail, we recommend beginning with the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD instead. Why? Because if you have a crying newborn in the house, you're probably not in much of a state of mind to start reading a 200+ page book.


Juliet Spurrier, MD