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on December 1, 2004
The advice in this book is pure magic. Our baby wasn't colicky but she was Very fussy. Everytime I did what this book suggested - swaddle, jiggle, hold sideways, and shush - she would stop crying instantly. Yes, Instantly. It was like pure magic. Nothing worked before this book. I encourage everyone to buy it, it is a life-saver.

I agree with a previous review, in that it is most helpful the first three months. That's what it's geared towards. The author calls it the fourth trimester and focuses on that. After I started swaddling her (as the author clearly isslustrates how to do) my daughter started sleeping through the night. I no longer need this book because I was able to be so responsive to her needs in the first three months, that she is now secure enough to sleep on her own without being swaddled.

This book is also very well organized. As a matter of fact, you don't even have to read the whole book! He has helpful summaries and bullet points along the way. Just reading one page where he clearly and succinctly summarizes everything can save your life the first three months and get your baby on the road to being a trusting, self-suffient child.

This book did more than just help me soothe my infant. It increased my self-esteem as a parent. I knew that jiggling my baby soothed her. But the horrified looks on people's faces when you start jiggling a baby! Oh my! At least after reading this book it helped me know that it was indeed ok to do what intutively worked.

Also, the author is right - there's no spoling a baby. I "spoiled" my daughter like crazy. And what do I have now? A clingly baby who is addicted to jiggling and swaddling (as many people predicted when I followed the author's advice - "she'll be addicted and you'll have to swaddle her FOREVER!"). No! I have a happy baby who goes to sleep on her own and sleeps through the night. By the way, she's 4 months old. She Never needs to be jiggled anymore, or swaddled. I still put white noise on in the background for her though. But I hear many adults sleep that way too.

This book is also very sensitve and kind to the needs of our precious little babies. He says that the first three months are the fourth trimester. That the baby was in you for nine whole months and got used to there being sound and movement and confinement. And when they're born it's unnatural (and, in my opinion, cruel) to leave them to their own devices and figure out how to be a human being in the world right away. They need our help while they get their bearings. They're so tiny and the world is so big.

As a matter of fact, many book I read suggest not swaddling past the second month, or even past the first month. But the author recommends doing it for as long as the baby needs it. All babies are different and need to take their own time! And not only for as long as the baby needs it, but also as much as the baby needs it. That's right, swaddle the baby as often as the baby wants it. Some books say this hinders development but the author points out that if the baby needs it, it calms the baby down enough for the baby to be a ble to pay attention to the world and learn. My baby wanted to be swaddled for many hours out of every day. I felt guilty becuase so many other resources say not to do that. But this book helped me see that it was only natural. The author asked - doesn't your baby seem happier this way? YES!! She was So much happier when she was swaddled. And this did not make her addicted to it, as I said before - she went from being swaddled most of the day to not being swaddled Ever quickly and effortlessly.

I know this is a long review. I just have to strongly recommend this book. It's usefuleness and help go so much beyond sleeping issues. I love this book. It is the single most useful book I have ever read.
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on June 28, 2010
The thesis in the book is excellent - by understanding a baby's needs and how the first few months are really the "fourth trimester," we can learn to use his five-steps to calming a colicky infant.

The problem isn't that the advice is bad, because it's excellent and very practical. It's that he just repeats and repeats the same points, occasionally slipping in another nugget of useful info. This should be a 10-page handout, not a book. Heck, I probably could paste in enough directions for you to do this in this comment box, thus saving you from buying the whole book.

My advice - check it out from the library or borrow it, because in 20 minutes you'll have figured it out and you you can spend the money on diapers (the need of which cannot be abridged!).
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on September 6, 2002
This book is an excellent read - having a nice easy style and with some Anthropology thrown in. Be warned, this is not very good for babies over three months. I have a two month old who is fussy, and I found that I already used a lot of these techniques without knowing it! The one thing that has really been helpful so far is swaddling. It seems to help her take naps better. For 3 months and up, look at "The No-Cry Sleep Solution". It is similar to this book in that it uses a common sense approach to getting babies to calm down or sleep. Also, Healthy Sleep, Happy Child" gives a more scientific explanation of baby sleep.
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on August 22, 2002
Well, Dr. Karp's methods have worked well on my newborn, and I stress newborn. He presents some interesting facts about other cultures where crying babies are rare and colic doesn't exist. These cultures mostly have their babies at their sides in a sling, and unlimited access to suckle at mother's breast. With baby in a snug sling, constant body contact, the feeling of constant motion and breast milk access, Dr. Karp states this mimcs conditions in the womb: tight fit, constant movement, and lack of hunger from being fed via the umbilical cord while in utero. He goes on to say that months 0-3 of baby's life are the missing "fourth trimester", hence his methods of the following 5 S's work well since they imitate the womb environment.
The 5 S's are as follows:
1. Swaddle - he describes and illustrates an excellent swaddle technique, the tighter, the more womb-like
2. Side / Stomach - laying baby on side or stomach. He reiterates that when laying baby on stomach, baby should NEVER be left unattended. Positioning in this way is most comfortable for baby, when he's on his back, he has the sensation of free-falling, and thus feeling insecure.
3. Shush - baby was used to hearing your blood flow for those 9 months, so a loud shushing will calm baby down. Ever notice how he quiets when you turn on the vacuum? I've used a white noise machine, all the loud shushing got me blue in the face and most nearly passed out!
4. Swinging - rhythmic, jiggling motion. You don't necessarily have to use a swing for this one. He describes the motion as being a very nervous person holding a baby. You use very tiny shaky movements, movements must be tiny, other wise shaking baby with long, hard jerks may result in shaken baby syndrome. This movement imitates the constant movement he felt while in-utero.
5. Suck - sucking on a pacifier, nipple, your finger, etc...
These 5 S's will initiate the calming reflex when done in that order and in the correct way. We've all used those methods to try to calm baby, but we've likely used them as separate entities. Much like the knee-jerk reflex works only when your doctor hits your knee at the exact location, the calming reflex works only when the S's are done in an exact manner. He describes in detail how to do this.
So far it's worked for my daughter. My huge concern is, what happens after she passes her three month mark? Dr. Karp states that after three months, baby will start self-calming and will rely on the 5 S's less and less. Judging by all the "How to Get Your Baby to Calm and to Sleep" books out there, I have my doubts. He does well in calming a newborn, but beyond the newborn stage, he offers very little. He really needs to consider changing the title to "The Happiest Newborn on the Block" to better reflect the content of the book. So if your baby is less than three months, this may work for you, if your baby is older, look elsewhere.
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on July 7, 2013
Swaddle, side, suck, sway, sssshhhhh. Thats it. Unless you want to read a million things that don't cause Collic, I just saved you $9.
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on September 4, 2013
This book is terrible. The information in it could, and should, be condensed into a concise pamphlet. Let me save you some money and valuable time:

Dr. Karp’s Five “S’s” For Calming A Fussy Baby:
Swaddling
Side/stomach position
Swinging
Shushing
Sucking

Save your money, or get Brain Rules for Baby instead.
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on May 26, 2009
This book contains the advice you're looking for -- namely, now to calm your newborn -- but it's buried in anecdote after anecdote. If you want a helpful tutorial, skip the book and buy the DVD, which contains actual demonstrations.
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on May 30, 2002
This book saved our lives! Our little girl came home from the hospital wailing and it never stopped. She would cry for hours upon hours and nothing would soothe her--not cuddling, not feedings, not burping, not changings, not my mother-in-law (the baby soother extraordinaire), nothing...until this book!
The horror is finally over--the technique absolutely works every time. The book is well-written, easy to follow and the examples of other parents going through this are so reassuring. I am happy to report that now, at 7 weeks, we have lots of cooing, many smiles, bonding (nearly impossible with a screaming baby) and a lot more sleeping. You can call the author Dr. Karp, but in our house he is reverentially referred to as Saint Harvey--our patron saint of babies. If you have a fussy baby I can not recommend this book enough. It truly works miracles!
If I were the Queen of Everything I would make sure all new parents and hospital nurses learned this method. It could save so many, so much. Thank you Saint Harvey!
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on January 10, 2014
Just watch the video. I didn't find anything more useful in this book ... it didn't seem to add anything that the video didn't do a better job of demonstrating. Save yourself the time (because your time is a commodity at this point in your life!) and just watch the video.
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on July 21, 2013
After reading the book i felt like the whole thing was a scam that preys on desperate parents. My daughter started crying at five weeks old and I had heard of this book so I checked out the website first. The website explains the five s's but leads desperate parents to believe there is more to it than that so they buy the book. News flash...there isn't!! The book is extremely repetitive and doesn't give you any more information than the website. I would not recommend this book to my friends, I would just teach them the five s's. Total waste of time and money!!!!
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