The Happiest Baby on the Block

“I believe that once our ancestors began living in villages and cities, they forgot that, since the Stone Age, babies were almost constantly jiggled and wiggled as their moms walked up and down the mountains… modern parents began to mistakenly think that babies were so fragile they could only tolerate quiet sounds and gentle motions.” (The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp)

The Happiest Baby on the Block CoverOf the parenting books I’ve recently breezed through, this one seems the most practical. If the technique does do as promised, calm any crying infant, then it was well worth the few hours put into reading it. However, the author could have made his points much more succinctly. He intersperses practical advice with pseudo-science justifications for why to use his method. Apparently, one should use the cuddle cure not because it works, but  because it mimics the way ‘cave men’ used to care for their young. Personally, I’ll believe a theory if it works in practice, not because of some hyped up historical pedigree.

In spite of its potential applications, the book does lack a certain panache as a reading experience. The author uses so many exclamation marks, casual sentences, and long-winded emoting that I had to check three times to make sure I wasn’t actually reading a series of social media posts written by a teenaged girl. Perhaps he uses the style for relatability, but I’d like to hope that most moms are reading with an adult level of emotional intelligence. Yet, for its failings as a reading experience, this book has the potential to be a life-changing force in a person’s life if read at the exact right time.

Recommended Action: BuyBorrow NowBorrow SometimeAvoid
Length: 267 pages
Ending: A New Parents’ survival guide appendix
Incidental Learning: breast feeding, pacifier training
Further Reading: If you don’t have a few hours to throw away on this book, I’d recommend just reading some articles or watching a video on the cuddle cure.


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