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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2003
Colic. If you've been there, chances are you've still got the scars. Nothing can erase the memory of the endless crying, the feeling of desperation and isolation and your shattered confidence. In case you hadn't guessed, I've got the T shirt on this one. Our first baby was colicky even by the cranial osteopath's standards. And we were terrified of a repeat performance if we dared to have another.
And so you'll understand why, five months into my second pregnancy, I took a real interest in a newspaper review of this book. Karp claimed his methods could 'cure' colic. His basic idea - though he takes the sixty pages to say it - is that babies are simply born too early. They need another three months cooking time. And it's 'only' because us women can't actually push out babies with bigger heads that they arrive after 'just' nine months (his words, not mine)
Karp says that, depending on temperament, some babies deal with their early arrival better than others. And it's upon this premise that 'cure' is based. He explains that by recreating the conditions of the womb, we can do much to sooth our jumpy babies in their struggle to adapt to the outside world. Being American, this cure has to have a snappy name. In this case it's 'the 5 S's' - swaddling, side (or stomach) position, shhhhh, swinging and sucking.
A whole chapter is devoted to how to perform each 'S' most effectively and he's fairly convincing in arguing that unless each S is done properly, it won't work. There's a useful summary at the end of each section and then a rounding-up section on 'the cuddle cure' - how to combine all the Ss for a blissfully happy, sleeping baby.
So does it work? In a word: probably. I'm glad to say that we didn't have a full-blown colic case to try it out on, but number two was very cranky in the evenings and only 'karping' him, as we called it, would settle him.
The book was full of really useful snippets of information, e.g. that very upset babies do not like being put down on their backs. Ever. And there's a very detailed diagram on how to swaddle that really did - as promised - double the time our baby slept for at night, from 3 to 6 hours. And there's a substantial section about possible medical problems that could also be causing the ceaseless crying. I really needed this during the first five tortured months of parenting. It would have put my mind at rest far more than the pediatrician's "oh, she'll just grow out of it" ever did.
But it's far from a perfect book. It's only likely to work for newborns. It's over-long - especially for exhausted, demoralised parents - and the constant references to 'cavewoman' and 'cavebaby' are somewhere between irritating and patronising. And the technique is physically hard work. Our monster baby outgrew our strength before he outgrew the colicky evenings.
But most importantly, this book will help desperate parents to empathise with their screaming bundle of 'joy'. By feeling less frustrated by the situation, you can feel more control and so start repairing your shredded self-confidence. That's worth the price alone.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2002
This book should be titled The Happiest NEWBORN on the block. I would have loved this book when my baby was a few weeks old since the ideas sound reasonable for the newborn stage. However, the suggestions don't work for an older baby. The 5 S's are: Swaddle (My active 10 month old would not go for this!) Put baby on his Side/Stomach (at 10 months you don't PUT him anywhere!) Shhhhh (he thinks that's funny) Swinging (I think every mother sways with a fussy baby, it's natural) Sucking (He does plenty of that!) I had to keep searching and luckily found a book for with plenty of answers, it's The No-Cry Sleep Solution, a great book for babies of any age since it also has a newborn section, maybe not as structured as this one, but lots of the same ideas. (Another thing that's rather weird about The Happiest Baby, the endorsements are from Michelle Pfeiffer (actress) Pierce Brosnan (actor) plus lots of other actors and movie directors. I like movies, too, but when I want advice about baby-care I don't get why these endorsements mean anything.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
We have all heard of the difficult, colicky baby. It seems we heard about them more often. Many books have been written to help the parents and essentially help the babe.

This is an interesting book, but the same facts are presented in differing methods in ever chapter. There should ha been a summary in the first chapter, and if you needed more info, read on. What you need to know go keep your baby a happy baby who does not cry all the time. Whether you believe the first few months if a baby's life is the 4th trimester is up to you.

Swaddle your babe all times. You will learn this man ever in the hospital or in baby classes.
Side/Stomach position, babies seem to prefer this position, it what is called a football carry.
Shssing, make no this noise will help eliminate outside noises
Swing, a rhyming motion is good.
Sucking, use a breast or nipple, babies like the sucking reflex.

All you need to know in a few sentences. The science behind this is explained in forth coming chapters.

Recommended. prisrob 06-12-15
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2013
I should have bought this book before I had my baby (he is now 6 months old). I say this because some of the information would've been handy when he was much younger. Sound advice in most cases (recommends putting baby on side/stomach to calm them....but does warn not to leave them to leave in that position)
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2002
After reading these reviews I rush-ordered this book. I was disappointed to find that the entire book is for newborn babies only. Once your baby is too old to swaddle this book isn't for you. I purchased several others at the same time and found that The No Cry Sleep Solution has great ideas for all babies and even toddlers. The ideas in the happiest baby book cannot be applied to a baby that is over about 3 months old. If you look at the main points you'll see they are: swaddling, placing on his side or stomach, saying Shhhh, Swinging, and Sucking. I also suspect that if you always do this with your newborn you may create sleep problems for when you can't do them any more. Beware! If your baby is over 3 months this isn't the book you are looking for.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2004
I came across this book when my baby was 7 weeks old and the techniques worked immediately - I only wish someone had told me about it sooner. I would recommend it to anyone with a new baby. My daughter is now 16 weeks and still sleeps much better for being swaddled. She also naturally stopped taking a dummy (the "Sucking" element of Karp's "Cuddle Cure") at 3 months and isn't dependent on any of the techniques: she gets herself back to sleep in the night no problem. I will be buying this book for all my pregnant friends in the future.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2004
This book was extremely helpful. I skipped the 1st half of the book andwent straight to the 5 S's. I found the techniques so easy and the bookwas a pleasure to read. My baby responded so well to the techniques thatshe hardly ever cried, and she started sleeping through the night by thetime she was 3 weeks old. I shared these techniques with all of myfriends with newborns. I have found that no baby can resist a goodswaddle combined with a bit of a jiggle. It always takes less than 10seconds to stop the crying. It's truely amazing. My friends are all soshocked and thankful when I show them the techniques on their own babies.
If you don't get any other book, get this one. It's a life saver and itreally gives your baby everything she needs to transition from womb toroom and truely be the happiest baby on the block.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2003
I first used this book when my baby was 4 weeks old and starting to take 2-4 hours to setle at night. The first night I tried it she went to sleep in 5 minutes. It was amazing. She slept from 11pm to 3am, fed, then was put back to sleep til 8am. Over the next week she dropped the 3am feed and only needed a dummy or rewrapping to go back to sleep. By 6 weeks she was sleeping through from 10.30 to 8am. Her 'colic' vanished within days and she was happier and more relaxed and Mum's sanity was saved.
It works, but follow the very simple technique totally. It is not regimented like some others and works anywhere, even if just to stop the baby crying.
Good luck
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2006
Our first child suffered terribly from colic in the early weeks and it was exhausting, distressing and frustrating. My wife saw Harvey Karp demonstrate his techniques on TV and bought this prior to the arrival of our second baby.

It should be called `The Happiest Newborn Baby on the Block', because it does only apply to the first twelve weeks. Experts agree that human babies are born after nine months because that is as long as they can go without risking the big human brain getting stuck in the pelvis on delivery. Harvey Karp's central idea is that, because of this, we need to create a "fourth trimester" outside the womb to comfort our babies until they are finally `ready to be born' at birth plus three months (what he charmingly describes as 'womb service').

Karp's own research led him to identify what he calls `The Calming Reflex' in unborn babies. It is a certain combination of sensations that instantly calms a baby and prevents it from harming itself (or the mother) inside the womb by getting caught in the umbilical cord or flailing limbs about in distress.

Karp's 5S technique recreates these sensations, causing the Calming Reflex to kick in and soothe a screaming, colicky baby. His theory is further backed up by anecdotes from several `primitive' cultures that don't experience colic in their babies because they don't adhere to modern western parenting techniques.

The ideas stacked up for me in theory and they certainly work like magic in practice. By systematically doing Swaddle, Side, Shhh, Swinging and Sucking I can calm our baby, when he's in full blown convulsing, screaming colic mode in about 15-30 seconds. As Karp predicted, it took a couple of minutes initially, but, as our son has got used to the routine, a kind of Pavolvian response means it now works virtually instantly.

For Dads especially, Karp's techniques are great. They require "vigour", which he recognises Dads tend to be able to do more confidently than Mums (eg: Shhh-ing loudly like the most irritated librarian rather than like a Grandmother).

As a committed follower of Gina Ford's `Contented Little Baby' routines (which worked brilliantly for us first time and second time), I really liked how this book complemented Gina Ford's approach and encouraged me to cuddle and soothe my son to sleep, rather than let him settle himself in his cot.

Harvey Karp's book is simple advice, based on thousands of years of child-rearing folklore that works wonders.
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on 25 September 2014
Great book that suggests babies are born 3 months too early and therefore have difficulty coping with the outside world, physically and emotionally hense why things like c
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