Harvey Karp

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Dr. Harvey Karp

Harvey Neil Karp (born 1951) is an American pediatrician, best known for the techniques he has developed and popularized for calming infants. He is the author of two books, The Happiest Baby on the Block, published in 2002, and its 2004 sequel, The Happiest Toddler on the Block.[1]

Karp's technique[edit]

The technique is designed to recreate the essential elements of the experience of living in the womb. Human babies, according to Karp, are born less-developed than other mammals. The first three months of life Karp calls the "fourth trimester". Karp believes there is a "calming reflex" that causes babies to instantly relax when they are given clues that they are safe inside the womb. There are five parts of the technique he calls the "five S's".

  1. Swaddling: Tight swaddling recreates the confinement of the womb.
  2. Side/Stomach position: Holding the baby on the right side slightly face down.
  3. Shushing: Karp uses a loud "ssh" sound similar to the loud white noise that is present in the womb.
  4. Swinging (and jiggling): Gentle but constant jiggling (especially of the head) is intended to remind babies of the constant motion they experienced in the womb.
  5. Sucking: Karp also recommends the use of pacifiers.

Criticism[edit]

CBS news reports that "Critics say Karp is riding to fame on the strength of his patients' VIP parents, who include Michelle Pfeiffer, Pierce Brosnan and Madonna. Endorsements from several stars appear on his book jacket and video cover."[1] Some doctors have also expressed concern that babies may accidentally be left to sleep face down, a position which increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Karp explicitly warns parents not to leave babies in this position.[2] Ralph Frenken has argued against Karp’s recommendation of the use of tight swaddling and the concept of a "calming reflex".[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b AP (2002-10-21), Can This Man Keep Your Baby Quiet?, CBS News, retrieved 23 October 2008 
  2. ^ Falcon, Mike; Shoop, Stephen A. (2002-09-09), "Happy baby doctor" calms colic crying, USA Today, retrieved 23 October 2008
  3. ^ Frenken, Ralph (2011). Psychology and history of swaddling: Part two – The abolishment of swaddling from the 16th century until today. In: The Journal of Psychohistory, 39 (3), p. 219-245.

References[edit]

External links[edit]