The Happiest Baby program teaches new parents a step-by-step approach to help all infants sleep longer and soothe even the fussiest baby in minutes. The program is based on the landmark research of Dr. Harvey Karp, Assoc. Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA, and initially developed out of his interest in the fact that colic and unexplained persistent crying is virtually non-existent in most non-western cultures.
Besides loving their babies new parents have two main jobs when it comes to caring for new babies: feeding them successfully and calming them when they cry. Many resources are available to help mothers avoid and overcome feeding problems, but parents of crying babies can often feel abandoned. Yet waves of crying can erode a parent's confidence and lead to breast feeding problems, marital stress and postpartum depression. According to Dr. Karp, "Although today’s mothers and fathers are very well educated, they are the least experienced parents in history. No wonder even loving parents sometimes feel pushed to the breaking point by their infant's screaming." He now places in the hands of all parents, grandparents, and childcare providers the tools they need to be able to calm their babies.
The Happiest Baby program is a national curriculum in the USA dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers this innovative new approach that can quickly calm crying babies and help them sleep for longer periods. Half of all new babies cry and fuss more than two hours a day. Their prolonged wails often cause exhaustion and numerous other issues, sometimes even child abuse. But this extraordinary programme has the potential of reducing that demoralizing crying to just minutes a day. Why does it work?
Dr. Karp has uncovered two facts that began to put everything into focus for him. First, he learned that there are profound differences between the brain of a 3-month-old baby and that of a newborn. During the first few months of life, babies make massive developmental leaps. This accounts for the huge gap between how parents in our society expect new babies to look, and act, and their true behavior and nature.
His second pivotal discovery came when he began to read about child rearing in other societies. As he explored the shelves of old books and journals at the UCLA Library, he was shocked to learn that the colicky screaming that haunted so many of his patients and their parents was totally absent in the babies of several cultures around the world!
The more he investigated this issue the more he realized that although our culture was advanced in many ways, it was very backwards when it came to understanding the needs of babies! Somehow, somewhere we had taken a wrong turn. He began to realize our ideas about babies' crying had been built upon centuries of myth and misconception. In many ways, the peoples living in primitive cultures seem ignorant and backward. However, in some areas their wisdom is great…and we are actually the "primitive" ones. This is particularly true when it comes to understanding infant crying. While researching information from the past and then blending them with cutting edge modern research and his own unique observations, made while caring for more than 5000 young babies over the years ,he discovered that (in his eyes) babies are born three months early and therefore miss out on what he calls "the fourth trimester", he also found that babies are born with a calming reflex that can be turned on just by mimicking the environment that baby was used to in the womb.
Dr. Karp believes that babies, especially in their first few months of life, can experience "fourth trimester" issues. Babies can have a difficult time getting used to the huge amount of stimuli present in life outside of its mothers body. Their reaction to all of this is to cry and cry. The Happiest Baby on The Block method addresses these issues by helping you learn how to effectively recreate the environment of the womb, outside the body. Once you have learned the steps, you will be able to alleviate some, if not all, of your baby's symptoms.
Viviene Rogan with Dr. Harvey Karp
While participating at the DONA (Doulas of North America International) conference in Vancouver Canada last year I was fortunate enough to attended a seminar given by Harvey Karp. I was intrigued by the concept, how easy it seemed, with such a common sense approach. After the presentation I was able to discuss the concept with Dr.Karp and he encouraged me to join HB and to become the first trained HB educator in England. I am now delighted to be able to offer my help to parents and provide them with the opportunity of learning the skills of this amazing calming method in classes or on a one to one basis.
As a Happiest Baby educator I provide hands-on training on such topics as: The Missing 4th Trimester: as odd as it may sound, many babies cry because, essentially, they are born three months too soon. The Calming Reflex: a newly discovered group of neonatal reflexes that are virtually an automatic reset switch to stop the crying of almost any baby in the first few months of life. The 5 S's: how to correctly perform the 5 simple steps (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking) see below, that trigger the calming reflex. Swaddling- Nurturing touch is the most calming. Avoid overheating and loose blankets. Remember to feed the baby 8-12 times a day. Side/stomach position is the best way to calm a crying baby but always put infant on back for sleep.Shhh- White noise loud enough to match volume and vigor of baby's cry. Swinging- Motions are fast but tiny; baby's head stays in line with body. Sucking- Breastfeed or allow baby to suck on a clean finger or pacifier. Avoid nipple confusion. Wait until nursing is well established before using pacifiers or bottles.
Individual Happiest Baby classes can be held in the comfort of your own home costs payable in full at time of booking. Included in the price: 1-2 hours of Happiest Baby tuition in your own home . Class handouts A parent kit -The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD & a Soothing Sounds CD and continuing phone or email support.
Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, is a nationally renowned pediatrician and child development specialist. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine. He was trained by some of America's top pediatricians, including Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, and in 1981 received the prestigious Ehrmann Fellowship to study crying and colic. He is an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCLA School of Medicine, with a private practice in Santa Monica, California. He is a nationally renowned expert on children's health and the environment and an authority on breastfeeding.
Dr. Karp has done extensive research on colic and has discovered that colic is essentially non existant in several culture around the world.Based on his research, he has developed a method which can reduce, if not eliminate, colic symptoms in your baby. Leaders of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Lamaze, DONA, Prevent Child Abuse America, and many others have endorsed his innovative approach to baby calming.
"The Happiest Baby on the Block really works..." Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Pierce Brosnan all think so. All have used and recommend Karp's techniques. And according to Karp, some emergency room physicians are using the five-step system before administering often painful tests on incessantly crying infants. "... Dr. Karp's book is fascinating. It will guide new parents for many years to come. Julius Richmond, MD, Harvard Medical School, former Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Karp's approach is the best way I know to help crying babies." -- Steven Shelov, MD, editor-in-chief, American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring for Your Baby and Young child.
From a fathers perspective: No parent likes to hear their baby cry. The high pitched screaming combined with the bright red face is often enough to send us into panic mode. While remaining calm is definitely a key to success, it is a tall order for any parent , but more especially for dads who aren't sure how to soothe a crying baby Why is it more stressful for dads? Because we like to fix things…immediately; however, turning off a baby's tears is not as simple as fixing a leaky faucet. And, unfortunately, there are times when nothing you do works to calm an upset child. Not to fear, though, there are some simple techniques that dads can use that will work the majority of the time.
A dads recommended tips for soothing a crying baby are:
1. Eliminate the easy reasons why your child might be upset, like hunger or dirty nappy.
2. The five "S"'s from The Happiest Baby on the Block If you haven't seen the Happiest Baby DVD, it is worth every penny when it comes to soothing your child. All of these 5 things can be used together or separately to help calm your child.
THB explains that the current culture's conceptualization of the first three months of life is flawed. In many ways, newborns are not fully ready for the world at birth, they still need a protected environment filled with rhythmic, monotonous, entrancing stimulation...a fourth trimester.
This program promotes good parent-infant bonding and aims to assist in the prevention of a number of severe and life-threatening consequences of infant crying. These consequences are marital stress, Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), Post-Partum Depression (PPD), Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), excessive use of Emergency Room/physician time, overly aggressive medical evaluation and treatment for Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and perhaps even in the prevention of obesity.
**Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for educational purposes only, although every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. Unless otherwise noted, the articles on this website are not written by doctors or other health care professionals. If you are concerned about your health, or that of your child, consult with your Doctor or other health care provider regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.**