Monday, August 22, 2016

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp | Book Review

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer

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 CD throughout the book.  The more copies of the book, DVD, and CD that he sells, the better.  What's not good:  he's selling all this stuff to completely unsuspecting brand new or to-be parents, who won't know what a load of baloney it is until well after they've paid up and brought home a newborn that doesn't respond to his magic "5 S's."

The Happiest Baby on the Block is full of contradictions.  Dr. Karp repeatedly emphasizes that parents must do the 5 S's in the exact right way in the exact right order... and also repeatedly states that each baby is different and each will have their own unique 5 S's combination that will soothe them.  The subtitle of the book promises a "new way" to calm fussy babies, then the text of the book talks of evolution and how generations past already know of these methods to calm babies.  (He says he had to write the book because this current generation of parents are completely ignorant of how to raise babies, having had no practice with siblings or family before becoming pregnant themselves.)  The author promises to help your baby sleep more soundly and for longer lengths of time, then says that you must wake them to feed them every couple of hours for the first six months of life.

On top of being contradictory in facts, it's also contradictory in ideology.  Many chapters include subheadings that are direct quotes from the Bible, then go on to talk about  evolution.  Those are two things you don't see together very often.  And get this:  I didn't check every single Biblical quote, but I did find at least a couple that were crazy out of context.  For example, the first half of Deuteronomy 31:16 is quoted as a subheading for a section on sharing a bedroom with your infant.  Here's the part they quoted:  "Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers..."  And here's the rest of the verse:  "...and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them."  :/

Overall, this book could have been reduced by about 200 pages and still conveyed the same amount of information.  The author could've also gained more traction with me if he wasn't contradictory and flippant.

*I checked out my copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block from my local library.

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