Home Author Harvey Karp, the author of “Happiest Baby on the Block”, a star for parents

Harvey Karp, the author of “Happiest Baby on the Block”, a star for parents


When Harvey Karp walks through airports, he often finds himself getting his hands slapped by men he doesn’t know. The pediatrician is something of a rock star for generations of American parents – his bestselling book ‘The Happiest Baby on the Block’, now celebrating its 20th anniversary of publication, has become a must-read item for millions of parents at most. deep in the trenches of the newborn. for one simple reason: it demystifies newborns and tells (often sleep-deprived) readers how to get their babies to sleep.

“As a pediatrician, you’re part of the family,” says Karp, who also invented the popular Snoo, the smart crib that automatically rocks baby to sleep. “It thrills my heart.”

Originally, the book was going to have a different focus.

“I was going to write a book about colic,” he says, describing frequent and prolonged crying and restlessness in babies, a condition for which there is no guaranteed cure.

“I said to my marketers, ‘What do you think of the name The Karp Colic Cure? Pretty good, isn’t it? They said, ‘It’s a nice alliteration, but we would never buy it. No one will read this book. They said, think of a positive name. Something bright and joyful.

And so, a classic was born.

Karp says he originally wanted to write a book that would help parents prevent colic, but his marketers feared it wouldn’t sell. Instead, he focused on newborns.
Harvey Karp invented the popular Snoo.
Harvey Karp invented the popular Snoo.
AFP via Getty Images

“The book revolves around a simple concept – the 4th trimester,” says Karp of the term, which was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this year and describes the first three months after the birth of a baby. and its adaptation to life outside the womb. “You have to understand that your baby is born 3 months too early and the womb is a symphony of sounds, every time the mother walks or breathes. Once you understand this, you understand that putting the baby in a bed is like sensory deprivation. To this end, he devised the 5S to soothe newborns: Swaddle (wrap the baby tightly in a swaddled blanket, mimicking the feeling of being in the womb); Position on the side or on the Tummy (the ideal position to calm the baby) Hush (the sound that all babies are soothed by, as it resembles the womb) Rocking (small and tiny movements while supporting the baby’s neck and head) and Suck (a pacifier).

Karp is also the author of “The Happiest Toddler on the Block”, the sequel to “Happiest Baby”. happiest child. “The premise of the toddler book is that toddlers aren’t little kids — they’re cavemen,” Karp explains. “They are uncivilized and they are inflexible.”