Rhys’s Baby Books Review and Review on The Happiest Baby on the Block

Hi everyone! Rhys here! I love to play on Momma’s computer. I’ve already somehow figured out how to open up the coding for the internet itself! Momma has no idea how that happened…but I guess I have my Daddy’s genes in me! So, I decided to collaborate with Momma and do some book reviews, then she’ll review the latest baby raising book she read.

These are my very first books I ever read! And I love to read–I try to flip the pages and I think I can read (I begin talking as soon as there is a new page)! So much that Momma and Daddy bought me some texture books for Christmas. I know because I was there when they bought them!
Uh oh! One of my Sandra Boynton books is missing! I probably pushed it under the couch or somewhere. It was about a silly turkey that couldn’t wear the right clothes. I love these books because they are silly. I like looking at the different animals as Momma points to them. I want more Sandra Boynton books because they make Momma and Daddy laugh.
Grandma’s family loves bunny books, especially Peter Rabbit, but that book is still too long for me. The Little Bunny is about a hyper, excited bunny. I like it because that’s like me! Momma and Daddy don’t like this version of the Velveteen Rabbit. They say it’s confusing and weirdly written, especially because Momma knows the real story, which she says is much better. I think it’s kinda boring and would rather look out the window.
Momma just had to buy these. Grandma has these as hardback big-kid books at her home and Momma loves them. I really like how Momma moves my arms and legs to show the big love in Guess How Much I Love You
These are my two favorite books. Baby Baa Baa is a peek-a-boo book with tabs, which makes it easy for me to turn the pages, which I love to do. It is also the tastiest book I have! My First BYU Book is also fun because there is a lot of pictures. When I hit one, Momma or Daddy will tell me what it is. They will also tell me about when they went to BYU or why they like BYU sports. The best part is at the end–Momma and Daddy sing the BYU Fight Song and I get to join in with the “Ra-ra-ra” part and Momma helps me move my arms.
Well, I’m done, so I’m going to give Momma a few minutes on her own computer to do her review. 
Thanks Rhys! He really does love to read, and play on my laptop, and my cell phone, even though he has his own toy phone. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Well, today I want to review The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
This was a very interesting book with some good ideas. The basic premise is that Dr. Karp believes the reason that babies cry often or are super colicky and not very aware in the first 3 months is because they are in the 4th trimester and the 5 S’s (swaddle, side/stomach, shush, swing, suck) will help calm them down because it recreates an womb-like atmosphere. Now, Rhys was never colicky, but his claim to get them to sleep longer is what compelled me to read it last month when Rhys was in the middle of his four month sleep regression.
Fourth Trimester
I found Dr. Karp’s argument on the 4th trimester very compelling. Babies are so helpless when they are born and aren’t very aware of the world around them. They are mostly asleep, need constant warmth and close feelings. He believes that babies are born “3 months early” because otherwise, their brains would be so big that we wouldn’t be able to squeeze them through. The most compelling part was the fact that he mentioned that babies “wake up” around 3 months–they become more socially aware, and on average, that is when they begin to move, like roll over.
Dr. Karp said that babies like to be swaddled for two reasons: it stops their Moro Reflex (the feeling of falling when babies are on their backs and their arms and legs react) and it feels more constricted (not the right word) like the womb. Babies like to feel their edges. Rhys loves to be swaddled. It calms him down and lets him realize it is bed time. During the day now, he sleeps with a blanket placed on him, and is still swaddled at night. But, during his “4th trimester” he was swaddled every time he slept. I can see proof that babies like to be enclosed because Rhys likes to cuddle, and when he sleeps in our bed for naps, he likes to move his body until his head is wedged between two pillows. Dr. Karp also says to swaddle them very tightly so they won’t come undone–most of the time, Rhys’s arms breaks out of his swaddle, even though I do it as the nurses taught me!
Side/Stomach Position
Dr. Karp said that the side and stomach position were more comfortable and secure for babies because while on their backs, it felt like they were falling and triggered the Moro Reflex. But, he cautions to do this while holding them–put their stomach against your carrying arm, like a football hold. He warns that young babies should not be placed on their stomach or side to sleep until they can roll over on their own due to the higher risk of SIDS. The position that calmed Rhys the most was skin to skin against my chest. So, I guess you could say he was on his stomach. Now that he is able to roll over both ways, even in his swaddle, sometimes, he’ll roll over on his stomach, then he stays asleep longer. 
It was interesting that Dr. Karp pointed out that many quieting words from different languages all had the “sh” sound in them, meaning that it must have been an ancient “cave-man” ancestral word we used with good purpose. He says that the first two S’s are to help help calm down so babies can pay attention to the last 3. He says to begin by shushing as loud as they are crying, then as they calm down, for you to lower the volume. He also recommends using a noise machine, but one that has the shushing or droning noise to echo the loud sound of our blood flowing and body working our babies got used to while in the womb. Noise never really helped Rhys sleep. Well, I guess it did a little. We tried using a fan in the fall to help him sleep, but we aren’t sure if it actually worked or if he was just getting older and more mature. Rhys calms faster when I start to sing, especially if I start to sing Welsh lullabyes as he recognizes those since I sang them while he was still in the womb.
I’m still not fully convinced on his swing theory. Dr. Karp says that babies are used to movement as they were jiggled in the womb for 9 months all day long. He says we need to swing our babies, or “vibrate” them vigorously. But, he warns that they need to be short and close rather than round and long to avoid whiplash or Shaken Baby Trauma. I don’t necessarily like that. It seems too rough for a 0-3, month old. Although, in my numerous readings, I saw that the higher, faster swinging on baby swings, was for colicky babies and the softer, more gentle settings were for calm babies. Rhys hated the swing when he was younger. And, he wouldn’t calm down or fall asleep in it unless it was on the highest setting. Once he fell asleep, then we would lower the setting. But, I do know that Rhys likes to be bounced while laying in my arms and gently, rhythmically patted on the butt–that helps him to fall asleep.
Dr. Karp is a big supporter of sucking for babies, whether it’s a breast, pacy, or finger. He says it’s like the cherry on top for babies and that they were used to sucking on their hands in the womb since they were squished with their arms in front of their faces. I have proof of that. Rhys was born with blood blisters between his thumbs and forefingers due to sucking in the womb. I don’t necessarily like the idea of soothing with a feeding–Rhys got fed all he needed to, but if babies constantly cry, I don’t think there is a need to be constantly nurse. Rhys had a very hard time the first night we brought him home, and I ended up nursing on and off for 3 hours straight. My mom told me Rhys didn’t need to eat that much, that he just wanted to be comforted. I started using a pacy within the month, although many people recommend not touching it until after a month. Rhys sleeps with his pacy, calms right down with a pacy (or a finger), and loves playing with it, especially now that he can put it in his mouth himself. I wanted to be one of those moms who got rid of it at 3 months when they recommend, but nope. Rhys still has his pacy. He can keep it for a while. There are many techniques of weaning young toddlers off them, and I don’t have a qualm doing that.
All in all, it was a very interesting book, but not necessarily as helpful as I’d thought it would be. I was already doing the 5 S’s and like I said, Rhys was never a colicky baby–he’s always had  happy temperament (and we are so blessed and thankful for that!). What I did enjoy was that Dr. Karp explained the science behind it all to show why and how the 5 S’s worked. So, I’d recommend this for all first time pregnant moms or moms with colicky babies. 

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.


  1. I'm obsessed with Sandra Bounton books! They're so fun! You should check to see when your local library is having their annual sale. Weber County had their sale back in August and I scored so many great board books on the cheap ($1).

  2. I never read Happiest Baby on the Block but I remember a teacher friend always giving me pointers for how to get Olivia to sleep. I was more concerned about getting her awake!! I always thought she slept too much and would be awake all night. Thankfully, that never happened. Only with Axel 🙂

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