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Ask the Expert: The Happiest Baby: Can We Reduce Infant Crying, Boost Sleep, and Reduce Abuse, SUID, and PPD…for the Cost of Breakfast?

March 19, 2015 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Crying and sleeplessness are two of the greatest challenges for new parents. Persistent crying and parental exhaustion are key triggers of infant neglect (associated with postpartum anxiety and depression) and other serious medical conditions, including SIDS/suffocation, over-diagnosis of GERD, breastfeeding failure, marital stress, parental smoking, car accidents, and possibly infant obesity.

In a paradigm shift, presenter Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC School of Medicine, will discuss why newborns still need a protected environment (a 4th trimester) of holding and rhythmic stimulation to improve their state control and regulation.

Dr. Karp will present a novel theory that babies are born with a calming reflex (a relative off-switch for crying and on-switch for sleep) activated by imitating five specific aspects of the baby’s in-utero experience (swaddling, side/stomach, shushing, swinging, and sucking). The correct method for each step will be demonstrated and examples of fussy babies being calmed in this manner will be shown.

There will be a brief discussion of the thousands of Happiest Baby educators teaching this work in hospitals, home visiting programs, WWIC centers, military bases, etc. across the US. Recent studies will be presented, including an ongoing University of Amsterdam study of colicky babies demonstrating dramatic reduction in crying and increase in sleep and surveys showing significantly improved confidence in pregnant couples taught these techniques.

By the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:

  • List 10 serious consequences triggered by infant crying and/or parental sleep deprivation.
  • Explain what is meant by the term “the missing 4th trimester”
  • Explain what is meant by the “calming reflex.”
  • List 5 techniques (the “5 S’s”) that activate the “calming reflex.”

Webinar Materials:

Parenting Education
Safe Sleep

Promote Quality

Safe Sleep


Ask the Expert

The Healthy Start EPIC Center is operated by the National Institute for Children's Health Quality. This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number 1 UF5MC327500100 titled Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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