Dr Harvey Karp is the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA and has worked within this field for nearly 30 years. He has written many books and produced DVDs regarding child development and I want to focus on the one product of his which is relevant for the period immediately after the baby has arrived into your family.
Happiest Baby on the Block DVD is a practical guide as to how to calm a newborn baby. The reason I particularly like it is because it focuses on the idea that the baby has a fourth trimester and that in order to calm them, the environment they have just come from should be considered and replicated. Interestingly, this technique uses the same psychological approach as the one I talk about in the Relax During Birthing download, available free when you sign up to the newsletter. This process in the brain (although Dr Karp does does specifically refer to it) is called "Pattern Matching". Whether a newborn baby, a pregnant lady, or a birth companion, if there is a need to relax, by bringing into the environment things which your brain recognises have relaxed you in the past, it will automatically trigger a relaxation response.
In the case of a newborn baby, Dr Karp talks about the 5 S's - Swaddling, Shushing, Suckling, Swinging, Side/Stomach. He shows the viewer how to effectively swaddle as well as each of the other S's step by step. You will see babys going from screeming the house down, to calmly being jiggled and gently shushed. Dr Karp calls this the calming reflex. The DVD shows a group of parents in a class being taught the techniques, as well as individual one to ones with parents. The other useful addition to the DVD is the extra features - here he has included shushing noises which you can actually utilise with your baby (yes, I did actually sit down with my baby with this DVD on to calm him down!).
If you are interested in purchasing this DVD, it's a good idea to do it before the baby arrives, so you can learn the techniques and feel calm in yourself that you will know how to deal with your baby when they arrive (have an appropriately sized teddy bear/doll and blanket to hand).
You can see Dr Harvey Karp put his 5 S's into practice in this short interview with Richard and Judy from the UK. It really is quite amazing to see.
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