Brian's Reviews > The Happiest Baby on the Block

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
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's review
Mar 16, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: baby-training
Read in August, 2010

Hopefully the techniques are more effective than the style

There's a lot of unnecessary fluff trying to convince you of the 'calming reflex' and the 'fourth trimester' idea. Skip the first 75 pages.
VERY repetitive (how many times must he remind us that "he had this type of stimulation 24 hours a day IN the womb, what you're doing now is a big decrease"?--apparently, this is written in the context of a society that is afraid of spoiling 3 month-olds by soothing them, which was news to me.
Off-putting overly enthusiastic and conversational (in the motivational speaker sort of way) style, but probably like many of these mothery books
Really disruptive quotes from parents, outdated (like 18th century) parenting guides, and famous people that are inserted in random places in the middle of text. They do not add anything other than occasional humor but mostly frustration (I don't trust anecdotal 'evidence' by nature). The book would be better without them, though only 1/2 the length. Oh, same for the silly cartoons.

But HOPEfully, the strategies and techniques work (that's why I'm not giving it a 0.5), but I wouldn't discourage you from getting the meat of the book from another source and skip the read. Borrow it from someone and see which pages they dogeared or something. After I endured the text, I've marked the relevant pages so I can convert the book to a more palatable (and concise) reference. For those of you with the paperback 2003 edition, see the following pages:

23: determining why your baby's crying
115: how to swaddle
126-127: really, this is the book summarized. I guess he put it in the middle so the book can stay open to it. You can get away with just these two pages (I'm not suggesting you break copyright and photocopy it yourself, nosiree!)
134: some ways to hold baby to soothe him/her
187: the progression: try one technique, add another, add another till he calms down
194: infant massage
217: weaning off the soothing techniques
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