Sleep Like A Baby?

A new sleep book from pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., may be just what the doctor ordered.


This month I attended an event celebrating the release of the latest book from pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep: Simple Solutions For Kids From Birth to 5 Years. If you're not already familiar with Karp, you should be. His technique to quiet a fussy baby—dubbed the 5 S's—really works (recent research backs this up), and it can be a godsend when you are at your wits end at 3 a.m.

Karp's newest book focuses on the best ways to help babies, kids and parents get the sleep they need. Karp's biggest message for bubs is that the right sleep cues will do wonders in fostering sleep, including the components of his 5 S's—swaddling (snug wrapping with the arms down), side/stomach (when holding your baby, placing him on his stomach or rolled toward the stomach), shushing (strong, rumbly white noise), swinging (rhythmic motion, from slow rocking to fast, tiny jiggling) and sucking (on your nipple, a clean finger, a bottle or a pacifier). My husband and I watched The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD soon after our son was born and we used the 5 S's on a regular basis. (And 2 ½ years later, we still use white noise as part of our son's napping and bedtime routine.)

Karp also believes in waking your baby if he's fallen asleep in your arms, ever so gently, just before you lay him down, so he starts to learn early on that he can put himself to sleep. (I must admit, you could not have paid me a billion dollars to do this when my son was younger than 6 months old. But maybe that's why it took so long for him to sleep through the night...!) The book also offers up a some of the same tried-and-true true advice that most sleep books do—sleep begets sleep, put your baby down before he's too tired, follow a sleep routine—all delivered in Karp's friendly, warm and wise voice, which is exactly the same way he sounds in real life.

This Thursday, you, too, can experience Karp's soothing voice and sage advice. Karp and actress and mom of two Ali Landry will be hosting a live event that will broadcast to more than 500 theatres nationwide and will include demonstrations of Karp's parenting techniques as well as a parents Q&A. I've had the opportunity to see Karp speak with groups of parents and babies and his ability to quiet a fussy baby boarders on magical—I have seen him take a crying baby from a new mom and, while continuing to speak to the group, hold and ever-so-slightly jiggle the baby so that he or she stops crying in under 15 seconds flat. I kid you not. If you're struggling with getting your baby to sleep or, for older bubs, toddler tantrums, check out Karp's event. I'm betting you'll walk away with a new trick (or two) in your pocket—which will be a godsend exactly when you need it most.