Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ’s about The Happiest Baby

Q: The Happiest Baby techniques seem quite different from other baby soothing techniques. Why are they so effective?

A: The Happiest Baby (THB) DVD and CD can help any parent become a world-class colic calmer… and help any baby sleep an extra 1-3 hours/night!

In fact, it is revolutionary in 3 ways:

  1. It is based on the novel concept that new babies are not fully ready for the world. In a way, they are born 3 months early and need a 4th trimester of holding, rocking and nurturing (this unique idea is the “ah-ha!” moment that helps new parents understand exactly what they need to do);
  2. It teaches the extraordinary new discovery that all babies are born with a calming reflex – a virtual off-switch for infant crying… even colic,
  3. The Happiest Baby teaches parents exactly how to do the 5 S’s (five simple steps that turn on the calming reflex).

Using the correct technique is so important because reflexes only work when triggered exactly right! For example, if you hit the knee even just a tiny bit too low and – even though it looks like you are doing it right – the knee reflex will fail every time. Similarly turning on the calming reflex usually fails unless the 5 S’s are done correctly.

It is very important to watch The Happiest Baby DVD carefully, use a large, thin, square swaddling blanket and play slightly harsh white noise (like our “Super-Soothing” Sleep Sounds CD). When you do these steps exactly right the effect of the 5 S’s is almost magical.

Once you master the 5 S’s it will be clear to you why The Happiest Baby has been translated into over 20 languages and applauded by experts from the former US Surgeon General, the founder of Lamaze, America’s most prominent pediatricians, La Leche League International, etc.

Q: Is there any scientific documentation of the existence of the calming reflex?

A: Good question!

When you watch The Happiest Baby DVD you will see one crying baby after another being calmed in seconds. This is exactly what we see when a reflex is being turned on. Numerous studies of the 5 S’s are now being done across the US. For example, the Department of Health of Boulder Colorado sent nurses into the homes of stressed, high-risk families to teach them The Happiest Baby approach. In 41/42 families they found that The Happiest Baby immediately improved the parent’s ability to calm the baby’s fussing and it often increased a baby’s sleep by extra 1-3 hours/night.

“Dr. Karp’s work is fascinating. It presents the top science about the development of babies in a style that is sensible and a pleasure to read. I believe it will reassure and guide new parents for many years to come.” – Julius Richmond, MD, Professor, Harvard Medical School,former US Surgeon General.

Q: What is white noise and why is it so helpful to new babies?

A: Just as white light is a mix of all the colors of light (that’s why light can be turned into a rainbow by a crystal or prism), white noise is a mix of high and low pitched rumbles and whooshes. This imitates the sound that babies hear inside the womb – 24/7 -of blood whooshing through the placenta It is a powerful way of turning on the calming reflex.

The Happiest Baby “Super-Soothing” Sleep CD is a favorite of many parents because it is easy to use in the car (to prevent fussing) and it helps babies sleep well even on vacations or trips to grandma.

To calm crying and colic you need to use the right type of white noise. It should be a rough and as loud as a vacuum cleaner. To boost sleep, however, the sound should be a bit quieter, just as loud as a shower, but still rough, like the womb or hairdryer sound (milder sounds, like the hum of a fan or the sound of ocean waves, are often too soft to be effective).

Q: How does white noise help a infant sleep and how long should it be used?

A: Dr. Karp recommends that parents use white noise whenever their baby is sleeping… naptime and all night. It is very helpful not only during the 1st months of life, but all the way up to the 1st birthday… and beyond!

The right type of white noise can instantly add 1-3 hours to a swaddled baby’s sleep. It works 3 different ways: 1) it turns on the calming reflex; 2) it prevents the common sleep problems so common in babies 4-12 months of age by covering over outside commotion (planes, snoring, etc) and disturbing sensations inside the baby’s body (like teething or mild hunger); 3) it makes babies feel cozy, relaxed and sleepy, almost like an “auditory” teddy bear.

Better sleep is not only important for babies, moms who sleep well find breastfeeding easier and have less postpartum depression, marital stress, and are less likely to put their sleeping baby at risk by placing her on the stomach or falling asleep together on a couch.

Q: Can you train a new baby to sleep better?

A: Yes! Here’s what you do: When your baby is just 1-2 weeks old play the white noise CD in the background during the last feeding of the evening. Then, after the feeding, swaddle her snugly. This is a wonderful time of closeness. Rock and hold her as much as you want. Don’t worry if she falls asleep in your arms… enjoy it!

But, when you put her down in her crib…jostle her a little to slightly wake her up. Make sure she is well swaddled and the CD is still on (put it on “repeat” so it plays track 3,4 or 5 all night). Most babies just open their eyes a bit (they’re “drunk” from the milk) and fall right back to sleep…but if your baby starts to fuss just jiggle the crib with tiny (1-2 inch) fast movements for 20 seconds to settle her back to sleep.

After just a week or two of this routine your baby will automatically be better at sleeping and self-soothing.

Q: Can a baby get addicted to white noise?

A: Not at all!

White noise can be weaned anytime you want. Just gradually crank the volume down over a week or two… and your baby will easily get used to sleeping in total silence.

Many parents use white noise in their child’s room for years…in fact many adults even like to sleep with white noise. Does that mean they are addicted to it? No. Sleeping with white noise is no different than preferring to sleep every night with a favorite pillow.

Q: We used the “Soothing-Sounds” Sleep CD to help our baby sleep for the first 12 months of life. Will it still help during the toddler years or should we start weaning it?

A: Many parents use white noise to boost their children’s sleep. Even kids who’ve never heard white noise before, usually benefit from it.

Playing the right type of white noise – all night long – is a great way to help infants AND toddlers sleep better. It covers over the disturbing sounds (like, people talking and passing planes) and even throbbing teething pain that often wake a child up. And, it becomes a trustedcomfort that can immediately put a sleepy child into a relaxed “I’m ready for bed” mood. I like to think of white noise as a cozy, auditory “teddy bear.”

Use a slightly harsh sound (like tracks 3,4 or 5 of the “Super-Soothing” Sleep Sounds CD) played as loud as a shower – all night long. It can stop over 50% of night waking sleep problems in just a few nights…even in toddlers. And, when paired with The Happiest Toddler technique of “patience stretching,” white noise can eliminate many cases of bedtime resistance fighting…without having to let your child cry it out!

Q: My 1-week-old baby struggles when I swaddle her… she seems to want her hands up. Do some kids just not like the wrapping?

A: Swaddling is the key to soothing a crying baby and helping your baby sleep… that’s why parents around the world have been doing it for thousands of years!

However, you may be fooled into thinking your baby doesn’t want to be wrapped because her initial response is to struggle against it. But don’t worry, Babies don’t have great arm control and often flail about when they have colic. Too many parents think that their baby’s struggle means that they need freedom. You may not want to be snugly wrapped, but most likely you wouldn’t like to live in a uterus either.

Of course, babies don’t really need freedom (they have so little of it in the womb). What new babies really need is security and reassurance and that is exactly what swaddling gives them.

Remember, babies are “snug as a bug” in the womb, and they love it. If your baby struggles against the blanket, just do the other S’s and you will quickly turn on her calming reflex. Being snuggly wrapped will then keep her soothed, prevent her from flailing and upsetting herself again…and keep her from accidentally rolling onto her stomach.

Q: Can swaddling a baby with arms down be bad?

A: Absolutely not. In fact, swaddling with the arms down is the way babies are wrapped all around the world. Swaddling with arms up is the best position for premature babies in the hospital (it helps them be more alert and may improve feeding). But, as soon as a baby (even a premature baby) goes home they stay calmer and sleep longer when wrapped with the arms down…at the sides.

Q: Does swaddling interfere with a baby’s motor development?

A: No, swaddling does not prevent development of sitting or crawling. Babies are usually swaddled during the sleep period only i.e. nighttime or nap time. Most big muscle activity is taking place during the day when the baby is not swaddled.

Native American tribes often swaddled their babies with the arms down until they were 6 months old and their children were well known for being brave, coordinated and independent.

Q: Does swaddling hurt hip development?

A: No, swaddling is perfectly fine for the hips… as long as you make sure to use a soft thin blanket and allow the hips to be a little bent. Never wrap your baby with the legs pressed together… or straightened (like on a rigid board).

Q: Some hospitals recommend that nothing be put in the baby’s crib, including blankets. What is your answer to this?

A: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against using bulky blankets, but they clearly state that thin blankets are acceptable (they prefer the blanket tucked in, but do allow swaddling). In fact, the AAP recommends swaddling in their book, “Guide to Your Child’s Sleep”. The Happiest Baby is also specifically recommended in the AAP’s new parent guide “Heading Home with Your Newborn.” A landmark medical study from Australia reported that swaddling can actually reduce the risk of SIDS by 1/3 (as long as the baby is not overheated or allowed to sleep on the stomach). Snug swaddling reduces SIDS 4 ways:

  1. Swaddling allows babies to sleep longer, but lighter (light sleep has been shown to lower the risk of SIDS). Swaddled babies may sleep lighter because the constant touching of the skin by the blanket is delicious continuous stimulation (like, tactile “white noise”).
  2. Swaddling helps keeps babies from accidentally rolling onto the stomach. Rolling onto the stomach during sleep greatly increases a baby’s risk of SIDS.
  3. Many exhausted parents place their babies to sleep on the stomach (even though they know they shouldn’t) because they are waking up too much on their backs. But, research now has proven that swaddled babies sleep just as well on their backs as un-swaddled babies sleep on the stomach! Hopefully, this will persuade some exhausted parents to stop their risky behavior.
  4. Babies who bed share may suffocate if they move around during the night and lodge their faces into pillows or comforters. Snug swaddling reduces a baby’s mobility and may help keep babies from wiggling into a dangerous situation.

Parents who swaddle should avoid 4 situations that might increase SIDS: 1) overheating (wrapped babies should be dressed lightly in warm weather and parents should check them after they’ve fallen asleep. Hot ears and sweaty necks are a sign of overheating and these babies should be wrapped only in a diaper and have a fan or air conditioning …or not be wrapped at all); 2) bulky, thick blankets (they’re a suffocation hazard); 3) face covering (with hats, loose sheets or blankets); 4) stomach sleeping.

Q: Can swinging aggravate a baby’s acid reflux?

A: Swinging is done in a semi upright position which may lessen reflux. Swinging can also help by calming crying. Infant crying causes tightening of the stomach muscles and more reflux.

Swinging movement does not increase spitting up it actually allows burps to jiggle out without letting all the milk escaping.

Q: Can a baby get addicted to swaddling? When and how should a baby be weaned from the swaddling?

A: Swaddling is recommended until at least 4 months. Many babiesare ready by that age, however, some benefit from an extra few months of swaddling.

Here’s the general approach: At 4 months, try to swaddle with one arm out (it’s important to keep the white noise playing all night). If your baby sleeps well with one arm out, you can stop the wrapping (but still continue the sound). However, if he does not sleep as well with one arm out, continue with the regular wrapping and sound and try the one arm wrapping again in another month.

The white noise I is continued until at least the 1st birthday! It is super-helpful in preventing the sleep problems from teething, growth spurs and first colds that are so common around 6-12 months.

For detailed information on how to wean your baby off the 5 S’s please read the step-by-step directions in the book, The Happiest Baby on the Block.

Q: Our 5-month old baby loves swaddling, but recently she started to wiggle loose. What can we do to make it work again?

A: Please make sure you are using white noise all night (this will keep you baby more relaxed) and double check your wrapping technique with the DVD to make sure you are swaddling the baby snugly, arms down, so she can’t pop out too easily. Also, make sure that the blanket is still big enough for the last part of the wrap to go all the way around and tuck in front (as shown in the swaddling demonstration on the DVD). If the blanket is wrapped too loose or too small it may actually make your baby fuss more. (The blanket should be about 44 inch square.)

Q: If we had to choose between buying your book or the DVD, which one would you recommend?

A: We recommend you choose the DVD!

Most new moms (and especially dads) like to use the The Happiest Baby DVD first. The DVD is fun, funny and the best way to learn the basic calming / baby sleep techniques. These techniques can be a little tricky and watching the 5 S’s on the DVD makes it clear exactly how to do them correctly.

Parents usually watch the DVD a couple of times and practice the 5 S’s first when the baby is calm…to really get good at the techniques. The DVD is also great for teaching grandma or grandpa or other members of the family who may not have the time to read a book.

The Happiest Baby on the Block book is an in-depth and informative look at Dr. Karp’s work. It contains many bits of advice and interesting information not included on the DVD. It is a wonderful supplement for those who want to learn even more about keeping their baby happy.

Q: “I ordered the Happiest Baby on te Block DVD from Amazon.com, and love the video, but the audio tracks do not work. I’ve tried playing them on 2 CD players, and then tried on the computer since nothing was working.”

A: The DVD will only play on a dvd player…not a cd player…please have her try on that…or on a computer with a dvd player. – The Soothing Sounds CD can be played on a CD player.

Want to learn to more? Click here to order The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, book and CD and The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD and book for yourself or a friend!


FAQ’s about The Happiest Toddler

Q: Dr. Karp has gone from teaching about crying babies in his first DVD and book, The Happiest Baby, to soothing tantrums and helping calm toddlers become even more patient and cooperative. In The Happiest Baby, the key idea is that babies are born a little too soon (the missing 4th trimester). What key idea will parents learn from The Happiest Toddler?

A: In The Happiest Toddler DVD and book, Dr. Karp presents a fun and fast way to raise great toddlers. It’s all based on a surprising, new concept: The best way to think of young kids, 8 months-5 years, is that in many ways they are like little…cavemen! Now, don’t get jump to the wrong conclusion, toddlers are great! Most of the time they are sweet, silly and fun. However, they can also be wild and impulsive, especially when they’re upset. They often grunt, grab, scratch and shriek like uncivilized little primitives. Yet, when you learn to speak your toddler’s simple language – Toddler-ese – you’ll find you can usually soothe his outbursts in just seconds!

Q: So what’s the secret for talking Toddler-ese?

A: When little kids are happy, we speak to them with our normal words, tone of voice, and gestures. After all, that’s how we teach them the right way to speak. But the more frustrated, angry, scared, or sad your child becomes, the fuzzier your words will sound to her. To communicate clearly and effectively with upset tots it helps to translate what our words into Toddler-ese. It’s as easy as 1…2…3!

Here’s how:

  • Use super short phrases. Long sentences are tough for toddlers to understand…especially when they’re stressed out. Start out with one- to three-word phrases (three to five words for upset older toddlers).
  • Repeat phrases over and over. Upset young kidsneed us to repeat simple statements five to ten times
  • Be expressive. The way you speak to your child is even more important than the words you say. Reflect just about 1/3 of your child’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and body gestures – aiming for what Dr. Karp calls the sweet spot. (Don’t mimic too much of her level of emotion.) When you move your arms, furrow your brow to echo a bit of her complaints she’ll know you care and understand exactly how she feels.

Q: Why do toddlers have such a hard time listening?

A: Tots – especially emotional tots – have trouble listening because their minds are so distractible. You’ll be much more successful getting your child to listen to you if you first calm him down with a minute of your best Fast Food Rule and Toddler-ese. That gives your child the clear, loving message that you understand and care about his feelings.

Learning and emotion are like oil and water… they just don’t mix. Calm children learn much faster and acknowledging their feelings in Toddler-ese is the key to quick calming.

Only once your tot starts to settle should you offer distraction (“Hey, look at this book.”), explanation (“It’s too hot to drink.”) or reassurance (“It’s OK, it’s OK… you’re alright”).

Imagine your 18-month-old is standing at the door, having a tantrum to go outside, but it’s raining. Don’t start out by quashing his hopes by telling him why he can’t go. Instead, it’s best to first acknowledge his feelings…in his own energetic language. Repeatedly point at the door and with sympathetic facial expressions gestures and a loving tone of voice echo some (about 1/3) of his feeling over and over several times. Say something like, “You say, ‘Go, Mommy. Go! Go!’ You want out, now! Out! Out! Out! You’re bored, bored, bored!” Once your child realizes that you truly “get the message” in over 50% of cases his whining and wailing will just evaporate. (If it continues, you either need to check to make sure you are speaking in the correct tone of voice or else you need to switch tactics like to kind ignoring described in The Happiest Toddler DVD and book.)

Once your child substantially calms down that your signal that it’s your turn to give him your reasons, reassurance, options, etc.

Q: But what if my child is doing something that’s clearly wrong? Might echoing him feelings accidentally make him think that you’re agreeing with him?

A: Every day, our toddlers experience a roller coaster of powerful emotions that can trigger pretty erratic behavior. That’s why one of your main jobs will be to teach your toddler to express his feelings while restraining unacceptable actions. And, when a child can’t stop his misbehavior, it becomes a parent’s job is make him stop. I think of this as flashing toddlers a “red-light.” There are 3 types of red-light acts requiring immediate parental intervention (like, a Time out), 1) violence, 2) danger, 3) breaking of important family rules.

For example, if your child endangers herself by running into the street), you’ll immediately put the brakes on that and bring her back to safety. Once she is safe you can sincerely acknowledge her feelings.

In less urgent situations, lovingly tell your tot that you care about her feelings, but that you can’t allow her misbehavior. For example, if she yanks a truck out of her friend’s hands, before telling her the importance of sharing, energetically reflect her feelings by pointing to the truck and saying, “You want! You want! You want it now! You say, ‘My truck. I want it now!’” Then, as soon as she starts settling down, add your mini-message, “But, no grab…no grab. It’s Jake’s turn.”

Q. What are the main tips for preventing tantrums and raising “the happiest toddler on my block”?

A: There are three:

  • Play and talk together a lot! Just as feeding quarters into a parking meter all day long protects you from dreaded tickets, “feeding your child’s meter” with lots of 2-10 minute helpings of playtime throughout each day ward off temper tantrums and create a growing relationship of cooperation and caring with your toddler.
  • Set clear and consistent limits. Toddlers are like little primitive beings who push us around if we’re too wimpy about the rules. Smart parents pick their battles and only set limits they are sure they can enforce. And, if needed they’re prepared to take a stand and do a time out.Warning: If you find you are doing too many time-outs, it’s probably a sign that you are not “feeding your child’s meter” with enough time-ins (like, attention, play, praise).
  • Above all, treat your child with respect. The best way to raise a child who is respectful is to show her respect with your words and actions…even when she’s doing something you want to change. The Happiest Toddler will teach you how to teach discipline and even do a perfect Time-out, but the best ways to raise a respectful child is to show respect to your toddler by echoing a bit of his feelings (the Fast Food Rule) in Toddler-ese. That will help you quiet the yelling, whining and pleading much faster, lessen the frustration and create a more loving, happy time for both of you.

Q: Will you have the Happiest Toddler DVD in Spanish any time soon?

A: Yes, The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD is now available in English & Spanish.

Want to learn to more? Click here to order The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, book and CD and The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD and book for yourself or a friend!


FAQ’s about The Happiest Baby Inc.

Q: Are your products available for purchase internationally?

A: Yes, we have distributors in the following countries:

AUSTRALIA
Gapfiller Pty Ltd.
13/25 Power Avenue
Alexandria NSW 2015
Contact: Dani Harpaz, Director
Licensed for: THB DVD, THB, VHS, Soothing Sounds CD

BRAZIL
Anasoft Editora e Distribuidora Ltda.
Rua Goitacazes
343 São Caetano do Sul-SP-Brazil 09510-300
Licensed for: THB DVD, THB VHS, THT DVD

JAPAN
Comtec Co. Ltd.
Boeki Building
Higa shi-machi 123-1
Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0031
JAPAN
Contact: Hiroshi Norioka, President and Representative Director
Licensed for: THB DVD, THB VHS, Soothing Sounds CD

SINGAPORE, HONG KONG & MALAYSIA
Smart Baby
13 Telok Blangah Crescent, #05-340
SINGAPORE (090013)
Contact: Ho Yew Kay
Licensed for: THB DVD, THB VHS, Soothing Sounds CD, THT DVD

SOUTH KOREA
Dawoori Entertainment Co., Ltd.
Sadle Building 2nd Floor
#64-13 Nonhyun-Dong,
Kangham-Ku, Seoul 135-010 KOREA
Contact: Hong John Won, President
Licensed for: THB DVD, THB VHS, Soothing Sounds CD, THT DVD, THT VHS

SPAIN
Essential Minds SL
Fructuous I Gelabert
2-4 puerta 4 piso 2
Sant Joan Despi 08970 Barcelona
Contact: Roser Pusol, Director
Licensed for: THB DVD, THB VHS, Soothing Sounds CD

TAIWAN
Well Go USA, Inc.
990 N. Bowser Road
Suite 700, Richardson TX 75081
Contact: Doris Pfardrecher, Vice President Int’l Distribution
Licensed for: THB DVD, THB VHS, THT DVD

UK & EIRE (ENGLAND, NORTHERN IRELAND, SCOTLAND, WALES) (No Signed Contract) Delta Music Plc.
222 Cray Avenue, Orpington, Kent BR5 3PZ
Contact: 01689 888 888
email: info@deltamusic.co.uk
Potentially Licensed for: THB DVD, THB VHS, Soothing Sounds CD, THT DVD

Q: Is Dr. Karp appearing publicly? Is he giving lectures?

A: For a complete list of Dr. Karp’s public appearances, please go to “Dr. Karp’s Appearances” category located on the home page of the website.

Q: I purchased the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, but the audio track on The Happiest Baby DVD does not work on a CD player. How can I listen to it?

A: The DVD will only play on a DVD player and is intended for illustration purposes only. However, our CD of white noise sounds from the womb called, “Super-Soothing” Sleep CD, can be played on a CD player. Apart from increasing your baby’s sleep when used all night, this CD is also excellent for use in cars and during visits to grandma’s house!

Q: What region/format are your DVD’s? Can they be played on any DVD player?

A: Both of our DVDs are encoded for all regions so they can be viewed around the globe.

Want to learn to more? Click here to order The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, book and “Super-Soothing” Sleep Sounds CD and The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD and book for yourself or a friend!


"Dedicated to the generous hearts of all parents and to our sweet children who enter the world with such trust."

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