The Happiest Baby on the Block

New moms, this one's for you.

I told one of my friends about the infant/toddler class I took last year, and about the required reading The Happiest Baby on the Block and I realized that a lot of women still don't know about this method. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet... But I did meet a woman who had taken the same class and she said it was the best class she and her husband had ever taken in college, and that this method saved her life when she had her first baby. In celebration of my soon-to-be-mother friend I am posting some excerpts from the book in case anyone still hasn't heard about the 5 S's.

But first, watch this video.

Dr. Harvey Karp (a pediatrician) developed the theory that babies are born 3 months early. Sounds weird huh? Keep reading. He believes that compared to other mammals the human baby is very underdeveloped when they're born. He also states that they have a reflex called the "calming reflex." Have you ever seen a baby cry, thrash, scratch, and then you wonder why the baby didn't do those same things in the womb? Well, according to Karp the environment in the womb has a calming reflex that keeps the baby sedated and calm. By imitating the conditions from the womb you can engage the calming reflex and keep your baby calm and serene for the first 3 months.
It's interesting to note that America is one of the few countries that does not swaddle babies. In most countries they have kept the tradition of swaddling infants. 
This method is so effective that WIC now offers classes for mothers who are wanting to learn how to calm their baby and assist in treating "colic." 
***Dr. Karp states that the swaddling only works for the first 3 months of life. After 3 months the baby is gaining more control over their bodies and do not want to be swaddled tightly. 

The 5 Ss
  1. Swaddling
  2. Side/stomach position - You place your baby, while holding her, either on her left side to assist in digestion, or on her stomach to provide reassuring support. Once your baby is happily asleep, you can safely put her in her crib, on her back.
  3. Shushing Sounds - These sounds imitate the continual whooshing sound made by the blood flowing through arteries near the womb. This white noise can be in the form of a vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer, a fan and so on. The good news is that you can easily save the motors on your household appliances and get a white noise CD which can be played over and over again with no worries.
  4. Swinging - Newborns are used to the swinging motions that were present when they were still in Mom's womb. Every step mom took, every movement caused a swinging motion for your baby. After your baby is born, this calming motion, which was so comforting and familiar, is abruptly taken away. Your baby misses the motion and has a difficult time getting used to it not being there. "It's disorienting and unnatural," says Karp. Rocking, car rides, and other swinging movements all can help.
  5. Sucking - "Sucking has its effects deep within the nervous system," notes Karp, "and triggers the calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain." This "S" can be accomplished with breast, bottle, pacifier or even a finger.


  1. So I've never read this book, but I have to say that we have a baby swaddler contraption someone gave us when we had Lydia and I LOVE IT! We use it for all our babies for about the first 3 months and they sleep so much better. When you guys have a baby I'll get you one (you can use a blanket but this has little wraps so their arms can't wiggle out as easily.) I'm also a fan of the Moby-style wrap to cart them around when they're small.

  2. Oh that's awesome! I've seen a lot of Old Navy shoppers with the Moby-sytle wrap and it seems to be pretty convenient. Thanks Ashley!

  3. We will definitely be trying this! :)