Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Happiest Baby on the Block” as Want to Read:
The Happiest Baby on the Block
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Happiest Baby on the Block

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  16,925 Ratings  ·  2,393 Reviews
In perhaps the most important parenting book of the decade, Dr. Harvey Karp reveals an extraordinary treasure sought by parents for centuries --an automatic "off-switch" for their baby's crying.
No wonder pediatricians across the country are praising him and thousands of Los Angeles parents, from working moms to superstars like Madonna and Pierce Brosnan, have turned to hi
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by Bantam
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Happiest Baby on the Block, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Happiest Baby on the Block

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Let me preface my review by acknowledging that the tips and tricks described in this book will probably be of great use in calming my baby when I have a newborn. And, if this book were, say, a seven-page article in a magazine, I would rip it out, keep it for reference, and recommend it to friends.

The problem is that this is not a seven-page article. It is a 260-page book. 260 pages of fluff, filler, and drawings. 260 pages to essentially inform the reader that calming a newborn takes "the 5 S's
May 09, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: frightened new parents
Recommended to Ryan by: Someone who thought they were being helpful
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's quite a bit of filler in this, I think it could have been about half the length or less, and the publisher was looking for an excuse to charge the full 12.95 or whatever a book costs nowadays. That said, THIS BOOK IS MAGICAL. As a new parent, I don't know what I would do without this book.

Swaddle, Side, Sway, Shhh, Suck. There be magic in them words, and while I'm up at 1am writing this review, my baby is quiet, if not asleep enough to lay down on her own. I'd be ripping my hair out ins
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this doctor on Oprah YEARS ago... I remember that the audience was full of QUIET, contented babies and I wondered if they were all sedated.

The premise is that human babies are born 3 months BEFORE they are really developed because of the size of their heads. Therefore, the fist 100 days of their life is virtually a "fourth trimester" in which the baby needs constant vigilance and caring.

He offers "cuddle cure"... 5 steps done in sequence to calm a baby and simulate life in the womb: Swaddl
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All right, there really are nuggets of good advice hidden in mounds of dirt in this book. For example, I skimmed the entire first half of the book. And there are just so many darned testimonials from his patients - perhaps a fifth of the book is testimonials. Why? To make this actually book-length, I suppose. Oh, and for your mental well-being you should probably skip the section listing all the rare medical conditions that can lead to colic. So, anyway, there are just nuggets...

But what nuggets
Lisa R.
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pregnant Women and their partners
Recommended to Lisa by:
This book is an absolute parenting essential. In the future, I will purchase this book, along with a swaddler, for every friend/relative who has a new baby. It's the closest thing to magic I have encountered during my brief time as a parent!

We used the techniques in this book almost every day for the first 4 months of our child's life. We still swaddle our son now and he's almost six months old.

I wold strongly recommend reading it before you give birth - we actually used the entire technique ou
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: baby-training
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.
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The basic points are good - and they work. But, the book is amazingly boring.
Adam Floridia
Aug 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star-books
This book sucked. Some of the ideas in it might prove very useful. But the book sucked. Rather than read it, I suggest one just skip to page 126-127 and copy the 5 S techniques as they are briefly described. Karp definitely knew that this idea couldn't justify a book length volume, but that didn't stop him from writing one. I'd say you'll read the same information (sometimes verbatim) every 20 pages or so. Before any information, you'll have about 5 pages of "you are about to learn..." or "in Ch ...more
Brent Weeks
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that is gold... but very brief gold. Here is the failure of the modern book industry. The book should be about 40 pages, and it would be worth paying $10 or even $14. But no one thinks that brief advice could possibly be worth that much, so it's got filler. Whatever. Read the intro and a couple chapters. It'll save your life if you're a new parent. Plus, as a new parent, you only have time for a few chapters. Take it and read, the advice herein is great--it works!
Aug 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-recommended
This book should be subtitled, "How to Ruin Your Milk Supply." Following the tactics in this book will most likely sabotage breastfeeding relationships and make parents wonder why they don't know what their babies need...after learning to ignore all their cues and teaching the babies to shut down, not calm down, from being shaken and scared by loud noises. Here's a great review of Dr. Karp's methods:

For better information on normal infant sleep, check out:
Sep 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: soon-to-be parents, parents of young babies
I have to read this book to be certified in the curriculum for my job with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, and normally I wouldn't put this type of thing on a personal book list, but it's so great! Obviously I don't have children, but some day in the future when I do, I definitely want to use these techniques! It talks of the "5 S's to Stop a Crying Baby"- swaddle, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking! And I have the DVDs for the whole curriculum, which is amazing! The guy is a g ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Every parent should be sent home from the hospital with the dvd by the same title. It literally changed our lives. It is regrettable that we didn't learn how to soothe the baby in this way until he was about 12 weeks or so. Oh the tears and struggle (us and him lol) we could have saved by knowing the 5 S's earlier. It literally is a miracle to watch it happen. It feels unbelievable to have the power to instantly calm your hysterical baby.

I managed to find time to read the book, and it does have
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every new mother
How can I say this?... If you want to never hear your baby cry for longer than 5 seconds and have them sleep through the night for their first three months, read this book and get the instructional DVD. I read it twice and perfected the technique before my baby boy was born and I seriously LOVED having a newborn and NEVER felt like I couldn't console him. It worked EVERY TIME. I really don't know how people do it without knowing this technique. It's a must for every mom.
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Really people, why do we always forget? There is such a thing called mothers instinct, and books like these make it seem as if it is something we made up. "when you do this, baby will do this", and etc, no no! Not all babies are the same, and no, they do not react in the same way! there are some good tips here, but mostly it repeats on the same thing over and over. As soon as my baby was born, I realized this book did nothing for me. Reality is always much better!
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anne adaylarinin ve taze annelerin isine yarayacak,huzursuz bebeklerini sakinlestirebilmeleri icin 5 temel prensipten tekrar ve tekrar!! bahseden bir kitap.Ancak henuz dogum yapmadan okunmasi tavsiyem.Kolik ne degildire de vurgu yapiyor Karp.Mahallenin en mutlu bebegine sahip olmaniz mumkun mu bilmiyorum ama bebeklerle dair ozellikle yenidoganlara dair yararli bilgiler edineceginizden suphem yok.
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agreed with other reviewers that the book is overly wordy, though Dr. Karp's method is highly effective and has saved my sanity as a first-time mother, especially during the early weeks when I did not know how to soothe my little booger.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only regret is that I didn't read it before our son was born. Worked wonders. So glad we Gave swaddling another try! He's two now, but we still use white noise.
April Hoy
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read that saved us and Rhett!
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
The fourth trimester philosophy mashes a lot of sense to me and I have high hopes for the 5 Ss. However, I do agree with other reviewers that the book was padded. It was longer than necessary and even repeated itself, which annoyed me. Still, I'll be trying the techniques!
Katie Browning
The five steps the author shares in this book make sense to me, but don't know if I buy into his whole "fourth trimester" theory. I did find the advice of shhhhing loudly because that's what babies are used to interesting. We'll see how it works in real life in a few weeks!
In the last couple of years, I have read - or at least tried to read - more "self-help" type books than probably the rest of my life combined. I am noticing a common problem: the author has a good or even great idea, piece of advice, research, or insight into the human condition. This idea can be adequately communicated in, say, 5 or 10 pages. But, the author would like to make some money off this idea, and therefore goes shopping for a book deal. The publishers would like to sell a hardback at ...more
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I think boo to the apps on the phone. I had a very thorough review posted on here, and it got erased while I was using the Goodreads app on my Droid (I was putting baby to sleep and needed something to do while I was waiting to put her down).

But I digress... 4 stars to this book. Yes there is a lot of fluff, but it really helps you understand why baby is crying and why they need what the author is saying they need. I think this book is better read PRIOR to baby being born. I could imagine
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd recommend getting the DVD instead of this book. It's just as repetitious, but it's much shorter to get through, and you don't miss anything from the book.

10,000 stars for the ideas contained within the book, 2 stars for presentation. The author is really repetitious with his ideas, so I ended up skimming most of it. However, the ideas work wonders for my baby!

The 5 S's were things that I naturally tried, either from instinct to comfort the baby or from experience/watching other mothers. But
J Melachrinos
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful book. Lets a tired, stressed new parent trust in their soothing techniques at a time when there's nothing much to cling to.
Darya Rose
Good info that might warrant 4 stars, but it's written so terribly I couldn't bring myself to give it more than 3.
Paul Smolen
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am excited to bring you a great book today by Dr. Harvey Karp called: The Happiest Baby on the block. I think you need to put this one on your must read list if you have very little babies around your house or contemplate new arrivals in the future. So lets get right into it, shall we?

Anyone who has experienced a colicky baby knows how difficult and frustrating it can be to try and console a very fretful infant less than 3 months of age. What is going on with these babies? Why do they cry so
Aug 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Happiest Baby on the Block was not, unfortunately, the book for me. It wasn't terribly long or dense, so I stuck with it and finished it, but it left a sour taste in my mouth.

As I just mentioned, it wasn't very dense. That right there is quite an understatement, to be honest. I think that the entire book could be condensed down to a brochure or pamphlet. I got the feeling that the author may be trying to make a good living off of a franchise, as he repeatedly mentioned the companion DVD and
May 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The problem I have with baby books is that the authors have a tendency to jump to conclusions or to tout their opinions when what I'm really looking for is cold, hard, scientific, data-supported fact. But maybe that's what's so hard about parenting-- there isn't a whole lot of that out there on the subject. :)

Anyway, the only parts that really bugged me about this book were:
1. the author is supposedly a breast-feeding authority. Sorry, but I might believe that more is HE was a SHE and actually
Anita Kelley Harris
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any new or expecting parents
When I first had our son I was completely overwhelmed at when and why he cried and how to help him. I felt unprepared for this tiny, fragile human being who seemed to have so many needs. This book was really reassuring and I wish I had found it when my son was a newborn. I would highly recommend it to any new or expecting parents.

After we got through those early newborn days that seemed to comprise a complete freak-out stage for both Baby and us, things got better but it was still confusing som
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Review 4 37 Aug 26, 2012 09:25AM  
  • Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality
  • Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much more! (Baby Bargains)
  • The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
  • So That's What They're For!: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
  • Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (medically updated)
  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
  • The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
  • Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5
  • Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, Revised and Updated Edition
  • The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth
  • Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding
  • Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food
  • Bright From the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3
Dr. Harvey Karp is a nationally renowned pediatrician and child development specialist. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine. Over the past 30 years, he has taught thousands of parents, from working moms to superstars like Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer and Pierce Brosnan his secrets for making children happy.

Dr. Karp has committed his full-time efforts to writing,
More about Harvey Karp...
“Can young babies inadvertently be turned into brats who demand constant holding and attention? Thankfully, the answer to that question is … No! During the first three months of life (the fourth trimester), it’s impossible to spoil your baby by letting her suck or stay in your arms for hours. Does that surprise you? It really shouldn’t when you remember that you were lavishing her with these sensations twenty-four hours a day—up until the moment of birth. Even if you hold your baby twelve hours a day now, it’s a giant reduction from her point of view. What” 1 likes
“Constipation: Interesting Ideas on a Dry Subject” 0 likes
More quotes…