Monday, April 15, 2013

The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep by Harvey Karp, M.D. Book Review

I received The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep by Harvey Karp, M.D. for free to facilitate this review.

The author, Harvey Karp, M.D., is a pediatrician, child development specialist, and children's environmental health advocate. Besides this book, he is also the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block. This book, The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep gives simple solutions for parents to use with their kids that are ages birth to 5 years old. This book delves more into getting and keeping your child asleep during the night so you can also get better sleep too.

Everyone needs a good amount of sleep so that you don't feel sleep deprived and exhausted. Most new parents have trouble knowing what to do and are plagued with having little to no sleep at night. Dr. Karp's simple and straight forward techniques might just help you keep your sanity. Although people parent differently and so these techniques might not work for everyone because of this. I also know that every one of my kids and your kids are individuals and something that might work for one might not work for the other. Keep this in mind.

This book is broken up into parts and chapters. These offer tips on how to help your newborn, infant, or toddler get the rest they need, while debunking some of the most widely held myths about babies and sleep. There is Acknowledgments, an Introduction and then chapter 1 goes into the Science of Sleep. Then Part 1 talks about little babies sleep from birth to 3 months spanning from chapter 2-5. Part 2 is on babies 3-12 months of age spanning chapters 6-9. Then Part 3 is about toddler and preschool sleep from 1-5 years of age spanning chapters 10-13. Part 4 is all about tips on special situations and problems. Then there is an Appendix, Sample Sleep Schedules, Glossary, References, Resources, and an Index.

I found that most of Dr. Karp's methods were things that I had heard before, just not in sequence like the 5 S's approach the author teaches to turn on the calming reflex for babies. I am seasoned and fairly experienced in the field of motherhood since having 5 kids now. I totally agree with him where he says that it is wrong to assume that: babies need to sleep in total quiet and that the cry it out method works. I know that my kids sleep through the night now because I didn't tip toe or whisper to make sure they didn't wake up when they were younger. I understood that the stillness of our homes at night is so different compared to the sounds and movement in the womb. Like the author, I also don't believe that kids or babies that have too much love and attention can get spoiled.

However, I was not quite sold on the notion that a parent should always wake a sleeping baby, the wake-and-sleep technique. Although most of my children self soothed themselves after I placed them back in their beds/cribs after breastfeeding, changing and/or rocking them in my arms. Usually the jolt of being placed back into bed was enough to wake them for a moment and then they usually lulled themselves back to sleep. But I do believe that self-soothing is something that needs to be learned for good sleep. Also, it goes into the correct method of swaddling your baby safely and the importance of powering down (turning off TV, computers, cell phones, and other bright screens to not interrupt sleep with light). In the toddler section it goes into easy "no-cry" tips that end infant and toddler bedtime struggles in just days in which I thought were invaluable.

I don't believe what he says about colicky babies. I know for a fact that when my babies were screaming and they had all their other needs met it was from gas, indigestion, and/or stomach pain...I would have to burp them better or rub their little bellies and I could hear the loud noises their tummies were making. I also never used pacifiers with any of my kids and the author says to use them to protect against SIDS. I don't see how a pacifier would help, although I know a lot of parents that swear by them.

The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep does cover some interesting topics which I did not know. I did not know what the best and worst white noise to play while sleeping was until this book. I did not know that you can sleep train babies to sleep at least one extra hour from the first weeks of life.

All in all I have mixed feelings about this book and what it teaches. Overall it teaches things that probably would help and wouldn't hurt anyone to try. I cannot guarantee these techniques will help YOU specifically though. Like any parenting book that one might read throughout their parenting years this book's techniques might or might not help you and your children. As a parent I can say that going with my best gut feeling and my good instinct always helped me through tough spots.

If you would like to know more about the author's promotional tour click HERE.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I am participating in this book review campaign with One2One Network. I received this book free from Harper Collins for the purposes of reviewing it. I have not received any other compensation. My participation in the campaign enters me into a drawing for a gift card. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else.

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