Since the day she exited the womb she
cried screamed and really we have had no reprieve from that. She doesn’t scream anymore, but she is an expert at whining and crying still at the age of four and, she is free to a good home… kidding (sort of).
I had heard of The Happiest Baby on the Block when she was about one and had grown so accustomed to the screaming, crying and
b.s. nonsense how disagreeable that she was that I didn’t bother to invest in it. It was too late for her anyway (or so I thought). So when I found out I was pregnant with C.J. I knew that I wanted, no I needed to cover all of my bases and arm myself with as much knowledge as possible. I know that you should not believe everything that you read, but I also know that with the right amount of information, you can make a more informed decision for yourself.
I mentally prepared myself for two things:
1. C.J. to have colic as well and
2. To get my tubes tied or get the husband an appointment for a vasectomy
because there was no way we would continue to reproduce and bring miserable children into this world.
I was so wrong.
C.J. is the Happiest Baby on the Block… by default.
He sleeps well and only wakes up to eat. He smiles, he laughs, he plays and he loves to snuggle.
First of all, if you think you have babies figured out, think again. Not for one minute do I think I have children figured out, nor do I think I have mastered the art of being C.J.’s mommy.
I knew that I needed to swaddle him. I Googled Dr. Karp’s (author and creator of the Happiest Baby movement) methods all summer long. I had swaddled Pea when she was an infant and sometimes it worked really well. Do you know what I learned after watching the “Happiest Baby on the Block” DVD?
I HAVE BEEN SWADDLING WRONG.
Well, not completely wrong, but semi-wrong.
I have swaddles that will do the magic for you with velcro, which I love. Sometimes, though, I try to swaddle with a blanket and I always have one end loose when I am done that I can’t tuck into anything and don’t know where it goes. Those nurses at the hospital were swaddling ninjas and whenever I tried to duplicate their swaddling skills, I fell short. The DVD was a lifesaver (I mean, seriously). I think it’s one thing to read the book, but an entirely different thing to actually see the swaddle being performed. Dr. Karp modeled the swaddling technique three different times (thank you for doing that) and for visual learners like me, it helped so much. The number one thing that I took away from what I read in his book about swaddling? Was that it is not the feet that matters- it’s the arms.
This makes sense to me.
Baby flails arms around. Baby can’t calm down.
Duh! Why the hell hadn’t I figured that out with Pea? FOUR YEARS AGO.
He also mentioned that even though the baby may be resistant to swaddling at first, in the end it is what is best for them in regards to helping calm a crying baby.
I tell my husband that all of the time. When C.J. was first born I would swaddle the MESS out of him if he even sounded like he was going to cry and my husband would be all “honey, he doesn’t like that” or “honey, it seems too tight.” I’d be all “watch this magic” and sure enough, he’d settle down eventually.
Back to The Happiest Baby on the Block book.
Dr. Karp talks about the calming reflex. Which according to him can be “activated” by doing his five S’s:
- Side/stomach position
- Shushing &
He mentions that if you do these JUST RIGHT that you can calm your baby. Also, it is important to know that not all babies need all 5 things. Some may just need a swaddle, some a swaddle, being on their side and shushing.
It depends on your child.
C.J. definitely calms down in the swaddle. If that doesn’t work, he’s a side (as opposed to stomach) baby, the jiggling (swinging) is key with him as he loves motion and shushing.
What shocked me the most was how LOUD Dr. Karp shushed the babies in the video. Again, we were doing this wrong. We were bein’ all calm with it. No. Shush the mess outta these babies y’all. Dr. Karp even said you can turn on the vacuum or blow dryer because inside of the womb is VERY LOUD, so a loud, white noise can be helpful.
I should tell you that C.J. is teething right now, so at some moments, my happy baby disappears. We swaddled him the other night, turned him on his side, jiggled him, then turned on the blowdryer in the bathroom (for that echo) and boom. Homeboy fell asleep quickly.
Thank you, Dr. Karp for reassuring me that it’s okay to make that white noise a loud white noise. What he said what that you need to match your child’s noise level. If they are being loud, you can’t shush all low because they can’t hear you. So your shushing needs to trump their crying and screaming and then as they start to calm down, then you can bring the shushing level down a notch.
I don’t want to give away all of his tips, but I will say that I highly recommend the book WITH the DVD if you are looking for some guidance and are a visual learner like myself.
You should know that Dr. Karp believes that after birth, babies are in their “4th trimester” and that they are immature when they are born (in comparison to other mammals that are born with the ability to walk, run, etc.) and so allowing them to feel as though they are still in the comfort of the womb helps them to adjust.
The womb is: noisy (a little louder than a vacuum), constant movement, and confinement.
Dr. Karp is certain that anyone can perform his methods and be successful with some practice and I believe it too.
The book is an easy read and the DVD serves as a great companion to it.
Of course, your child is your own and each baby is different, but giving yourself knowledge never hurt anyone, right?
Legal Stuff: I was provided with a copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block book and DVD to review for free from Dr. Karp’s company. That being said, the opinions expressed here are my own.
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