Review: “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Karp

This is a straight-forward, honest endorsement of the the best baby book to ever grace the “Parenting” section of Barnes and Noble.

It’s true. I sincerely believe (and preach!) every word, every tip Dr. Karp graciously provides in his writings and interviews.

The guy really knows his stuff. Allow me to explain.

Sometime in my second trimester my wonderful sister in law loaned me this book called “The Happiest Baby  on the Block”.  Gleefully, I added it to my stack of books I had ordered on Amazon and intended on taking notes.


Unlike the other books, this one alleviated my anxieties about parenting and soothing our baby. I thought to myself, “Oh my, that just makes perfect sense!”

It was logical.

Dr. Karp’s philosophies are thoughtful and time-tested. In my own experience, they have proven themselves, over and over again.

If you’re an expecting mom, you might have heard about The Five S’s. This philosophy of soothing is the creation of Dr. Karp himself and has been appreciated by struggling parents for many, many years.


I absolutely swear by Dr. Karp’s principles and the sheer logic behind them. Our child has been so receptive to The Five S’s that they have become second nature to me.

Dr. Karp starts out by suggesting that the first months of life are part of what he calls the “Fourth Trimester” and that babies would have benefitted from a full twelve months in the womb and are the victims of the shock of an early debut.

Put simply, when babies are born, they are literally in a culture shock. Their previous environment (you) was warm, shockingly loud and full of movement. At birth, they are stressed by the radical changes and are too young to regulate their emotions in response to them.

The Five S’s that Dr. Karp teaches are methods to help soothe new babies who go through fussy phases as a result of this shock.

These methods make perfect sense in my opinion, but do run contrary to popular belief. For example, babies might be comforted by the sound of a vacuum cleaner, or a hair dryer, or the tightness of a swaddle to sleep in each night. These practices emulate the comforts of baby’s home, such as the sound of blood rushing, the swinging of your gait, the tightness of the living quarters, and the fetal positioning to which they have grown accustomed.

The Five S’s: Swaddle, Side or Stomach Positioning, Sushing,  Swinging, Sucking are effective because they take into consideration the environment that your newborn has thrived in for the past nine months, and what care your baby might require to feel comforted upon the shocking experience of birth.

Other books will tell you to be quiet, to keep the door closed, to tip toe around the house when baby is sleeping. After reading Dr. Karp’s book, that seemed unnecessary to me.

We have a loose schedule with our son (more one scheduling later) that works for us and is supported by The Five S’s which have soothed our sweet boy time after time.

The most important result of Dr. Karp’s methods? Our son trusts us. 

In my opinion, the vital take-away from Dr. Karp’s books is that his principles establish trust between parents and their children. When our son cries, or is otherwise in need, he knows mom and dad will help him. He feels good, content. He might actually be the happiest baby on the block as a result of the soothing principles we employ.

I’m not kidding. I have vacuumed by bedroom, running the vacuum underneath the bassinet where he is sleeping. I have talked on the phone. The dog has barked at the postman. Our child is used to the soothing loudness of white noise and life noise. He remains calm.

Because of this, I am convinced that Dr. Karp’s book should really be called The Happiest Parents on the Block.


*As an aside, Dr. Karp created the highly-praised Snoo. I bought our Snoo without hesitation because I believed in the principles discussed by Dr. Karp in his books. I will do a full review of the Snoo, on the blog tomorrow. 

Thanks for reading!




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.