I am a pediatrician, author of the Happiest Baby and Happiest Toddler books/videos and inventor of SNOO, the Smart Sleeper. My breakthrough discoveries —the calming reflex, the 5 S’s and Toddler­-ese—have benefited millions of parents and my Happiest Baby classes are taught by 1000’s of educators in over 20 nations. I have devoted my life to helping families raise healthy and happy children.

See SNOO in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y5xLH5Qn_U

Feel free to ask me about your babies, your toddlers, my work, why I own so many blue shirts, or anything else!

Here's my proof! http://imgur.com/QwP55Uu

Thanks for all your great questions! I hope some of these tips help your babies sleep better. Stay in touch! We’re at http://happiestbaby.com. I publish new articles every week on the site and you can sign up for our weekly sleep tips email newsletter. Also, follow Happiest Baby on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Comments: 91 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

dianthe17 karma

Hi Dr. Karp! I just watched one of your videos on YouTube and found it very helpful, my crying baby calmed down almost immediately after I put her on her side and shhh'd in her ear :)

My question is - after my baby (6 weeks old) is calm and I put her to bed, if she starts fussing again do I need to tend to her immediately or shall I let her whine for a little bit to see if she settles by herself? There are so many conflicting opinions on this issue!

Happiest_Baby32 karma

That's fantastic!

You have two jobs with the calming reflex. One is to turn it on, and the other is to keep it turned on. When you put her in bed, you want to continue some of the 5 S's, like snug swaddling and the right type of white noise.

Over the first six months of life, one of your big jobs as a parent is to teach your baby to feel secure and trusting. So you really want to respond to her fussing whenever you can. That's what teaches her to have confidence in the people who love her. After nine months there will be plenty of opportunities to teach her what discipline means and limit setting. Now the goal is to build her trust and confidence.

bitterred9 karma

Thank you Dr. Karp! We were shown The Happiest Baby on the Block during our baby care classes.

The only thing that I was never really able to get the hang of after reading The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep was "drowsy yet awake" -- this never seemed to work for my infant and after five tries would lead to me and the baby crying. Is there something I missed or a trick to "drowsy yet awake" beyond just those three words?

Edit: also waking just a little as I put him down also led to disaster. Those first 3-4 months were really hard, and it seemed like unless I put him down totally asleep, we were all doomed.

Happiest_Baby5 karma

Of course every baby is different. However, most babies get pretty drunk and sleepy after a good feeding, and they are even more prepared for sleep if you have them snuggly swaddled and are playing rumbly white noise in the background. That is stacking the deck for success for putting your baby down to sleep. I usually find that those babies fall back to sleep quickly after being awakened (although sometimes you do have to jiggle the crib for 20-30 seconds.) But, if the baby continues crying, usually picking the baby and rocking for a few minutes is all that is needed for settling back down. If you don't do the drowsy-yet-awake technique, the baby learns that falling asleep means always being in your arms, and so when they wake in the middle of the night, they haven't had any practice being able to put themselves to sleep without any help. That's what I mean when I say they learn how to self-soothe, so if they are not very hungry, they have the ability to put themselves back to sleep at 2am instead of needing your help to rock them back to sleep. I'm wondering, were you using snug swaddling? What type of white noise did you have? (These can make all the difference.)

MattBaster8 karma

Have you ever considered adding a little alien antennae hoodie to the SNOO Smart Sleeper?

Happiest_Baby8 karma

We are! It's going to be part of the mobile.

gusmoreno158 karma

Why were you interested in pediatric as a specialty?

Happiest_Baby26 karma

I was interested in all areas of medicine but working in the South Bronx with underprivileged kids, I was so amazed by their resilience and I felt so good as a doctor to be able to make a difference and be able to relieve their suffering that it captured my heart. And maybe I always to be able to tell my parents what they should do - I like giving other parents advice.

I almost went into pediatric cardiology. I trained in that for a year, but I missed dealing with the whole child and the whole family. For the last twenty years, what I've been most interested in is trying to solve problems that hadn't been solved before. That's what drew me to the issue of crying babies and sleep. I was especially motivated to do this when I worked at the UCLA emergency room in the 1980s and had to care for children who were seriously injured or even killed by their parents for no other reason but they were crying. It just made no sense to me that we could put a man on the moon but we couldn't teach parents how to calm their babies better.

NeueBeginnings7 karma

Are you worried there could be potential flaws with this product that could harm babies' development?

For instance, people thought walkers were great until babies started getting hurt and actually walking later. People thought having babies sleep on their stomach was great until SIDS cases started going up.

I feel like if I created a product for babies, I'd be terrified that it would go down in the history books as yet another innovation that ended up actually harming babies.

Happiest_Baby12 karma

Great question. Of course, none of us can predict the future, but I feel as a pediatrician I've been particularly focused on not just preventing unsafe issues, but adding safety. Exhaustion is the number one stress on new parents. It can trigger post-partum depression, child abuse, unsafe sleeping practices and infant sleep deaths, breastfeeding failure, car accidents, over-treatment with medication, marital stress, and even obesity of the mother and child. I am very hopeful that by reducing a child's crying, improving their sleep, and being able to keep babies in the safest position - on the back, all night - for the first six months, will significantly improve the health babies and their parents.

One last thing - we have had our product reviewed by several independent safety experts to make sure we are doing everything possible to create the best bed for our babies.

GeorgeSamsa7 karma

Why do you own so many blue shirts?

Happiest_Baby8 karma

Hahaha. If you saw me in a green, pink, or gray shirt, you wouldn't ask that question. And besides, it makes it so easy for me when I get dressed in the morning. Just reach into the closet, and there's no decision to be made.

soapysong5 karma

My daughter is almost 1 and is not pointing yet. She looks at something she wants and makes whining noises instead. Should I be worried that this is an early sign of autism? She developed her pincer grasp a little later than 9 months. Could this have something to do with it? Thanks!

Happiest_Baby12 karma

I feel so terrible that parents have the worry that their child could be autistic. This is an area where I feel that our medical leaders have to do a much better job. During the decades that I've been a pediatrician, I've seen the number of children rise dramatically with the diagnosis of autism. There is a ton of evidence that this is not related to vaccines, but I am very concerned that it could be related to chemical exposure during pregnancy. We are exposed to so many endocrine disrupting chemicals in our personal care products, in cleaning products that can have all sort of effects on the developing child. It's why I feel deeply committed to reducing environmental exposures in children. For the past five years, I've been on the board of directors for Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) and I highly recommend you take a look there for suggestions on how to keep your house as safe and healthy as possible.

I don't think I'd worry about this yet (she's clearly indicated what she wants by her gaze.) One thing I would do is to spend a little time trying to teach her sign language. A 1-year-old can usually learn several signs like milk, blanket, flower, dog, etc. When she interacts with you and shows interest in the things you are sharing with her, that's a nice sign of her being at the appropriate level of social development.

SirLenzalot4 karma

Hi! I want to say your 5 S's is a life saver with my second child (his, not mine) so thanks!

So currently said second child is now 2 and seems to lose interest in eating after only about 5 bites. What's your best advice to stop us from resorting to the fried and sugary stuff kids love just to get him fed?

Edit- dropped a word

Happiest_Baby11 karma

Two year olds are notoriously picky. They seem to survive just on air, bread, and cheese. In truth, they are gaining weight very slowly so they don't need a lot of calories. Usually you can wait them out a little rather than going right to fried and sugary stuff. You can also offer them a little healthy food first and then they can the more junky food afterwards. In general I find that even a two year old can help you a little bit with making the meal and the more they feel involved the more they can participate with eating. (Of course this is effective for kids four years and older.) One other thing is to hide healthy food in the food you are giving, like mixing pureed carrots and broccoli into pancakes. There's a great book called "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld that can give you some tips on this.

usherova3 karma

Hello! I am a mom of very energetic almost one year old. How can I help him to calm down, relax and sleep through the night? He sleeps with us but wakes every two hours to nurse and crawls in his sleep. He has never fallen asleep in his crib, our little success was transitioning him from nursing/bouncing to sleep to only holding him. Just to clarify, he is a very happy baby, extremely active, constantly on the move and discovering the world. He sleeps poorly but it doesn't make him miserable.

Happiest_Baby3 karma

I know, some of us need a lot more sleep and some can get by with a lot less. Often this runs in families (are you guys energetic, light sleepers?) The one thing I would say is that good sleep begins after breakfast. By that I mean getting outside, getting fresh air, running around a lot, getting good naps are all a help in preparing a toddler for nighttime sleep. It also helps to have a good nighttime routine with turning down the lights and turning up the white noise an hour before bedtime to give his brain the signal that sleep is coming. I suggest you play the white noise - about as loud as a shower - throughout all sleep. That helps your child not be disturbed by outside sounds or sensations like teething, mild hunger, and intestinal gurgling. One more that can be a help is to start getting him used to a lovey. Carry it around all day long so that he associates it with you and then it will be a comforting companion for him to be with at night.

AnalyzeYourself3 karma

Thank you for doing this and for your work! The 5 S's have been great for our 3.5 week old. What do you recommend for a baby who will only sleep while being held? Our daughter will respond to the S's and fall asleep in our arms, but wakes very soon after we try to put her down in the bassinet. I even wait awhile to ensure she's in a deep sleep. I wish we could afford your SNOO, but it's just not feasible for our budget. Any tips to avoid co sleeping?

Also, what are your thoughts on baby wearing with wraps like the Ktan?

Happiest_Baby2 karma

I love baby-wearing (it gives babies several of the 5 S's all at once and it's wonderful for parents to feel your baby satisfied and so close.) I strongly recommend against bed-sharing and encourage you to use snug swaddling with the arms down and the right type of white noise all night as a way to imitate the womb and encourage better sleep.

BabyVessel3 karma

Hi Dr. Karp,

Thanks for doing this AMA. I'm pregnant with my first child and was just gifted your Happiest Baby on the Block book by a friend of mine who swore it was the most important book she read when pregnant!

Question for you - should I be worried that I won't bond as well with my baby? I'm a bit concerned about a robot putting my baby to sleep.

Happiest_Baby2 karma

You got your question in at just the last minute!

It uses robotics, but I couldn’t think about SNOO any more differently. Helping your baby sleep well is one of the most loving, important things you can do as a parent. Studies show good sleep boosts brain development and cognitive abilities, makes children less prone to obesity later on in their lives. Other studies show that one of the best ways to bond with your baby is to respond immediately to their cries; that helps infants feel safe and confident you are there for them. So SNOO’s “responsive” technology that soothes a baby’s fussing actually re-enforces the parent/child bond your building. And finally, parents need sleep in order to give their all to raising kids…we need healthy parents to raise healthy, happy children!

SNOO might give parents a little break, but believe me - you will still hold and cuddle your baby all the time!!

Check out this article about building an early bond with your baby: https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/blog/build-a-strong-early-bond-with-your-baby

ginger_berry3 karma

Do you have any recommended reading for first-time breastfeeding mamas?

Happiest_Baby4 karma

There are several great books about breastfeeding. One cute one that I like is called, "So That's What They're For." The one piece of advice I would give you is to check with your OB to make sure that you don't have flat or inverted nipples. That's definitely something that can be helped take some simple steps now and can cause real problems if you don't.

HopeSandoval3 karma

How does the SNOO work? How long did it take you to conclude that this particular noise/rocking would work? Did the crib rocking alone not do the trick, it was the noise? It almost sounds like the whooshing of an MRI machine.

Happiest_Baby3 karma

Horses can run on the first day of life. When they're born, they never get stuck by their heads, they only get stuck by their bodies. That's how they survived. They survive because they have strong bodies that can run the first day of life. But our babies survive because of their beds. It is a head that is as big as can be, but can still sneak out after 9 months although it is a very tight fit. In an odd sort of way, the best way to think our babies is that they're born three months before they are really ready for the world and they need what I call a "fourth trimester" of holding, rocking, and feeding.

The curious thing is that if you do that in just the right way, you're actually imitating the baby's experience in the womb and turning on an amazing response called the calming reflex. The thing about reflexes is that they only work if you trigger them exactly right. If you hit the knee but you're off by two inches, you don't get half a reflex. It's all or nothing. And the same thing is true with the noise and rocking to turn on the calming reflex. It's even a bit more complex than that because you need slightly different rocking and sound depending on the baby's level of upset. Gentle rocking and soft shushing is great for a sleeping baby, but there's nothing for a crying baby. Jiggly rocking and high-pitched white noise is great for a crying baby, but irritating for a sleeping baby. SNOO recognizes when the baby is crying and when the baby is sleeping and tailors the response to the baby's need. One other thing that I'm particularly proud about is we've created a new type of swaddle blanket that's super easy to use and more importantly, for the first time, we can put babies on their back and know that they can't roll over in the middle of the night. For the first six months, parents can rest assured that the baby will stay in a safe position all night long.

Ultimately, I concluded on the right type of noise and rocking to use by observing thousands of babies and noting what would work in different situations.

Here's a quick link that discusses how SNOO works a bit more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb3HbpkHgyM

RoseRun3 karma

First time mum here. Baby has not arrived and this is the first time I have heard of the 5Ss and SNOO.

I watched a few videos and wondered what one might do after they have breastfed baby, burped baby and now it is time to rest. How soon after baby has been fed, can one safely place baby in the SNOO flat on their back.

If baby were to bring up while flat on their back, is there a chance they could choke since they may aren't able to roll over or get SNOO to stop wiggling so yhey can orient themselves in time and turn their head to one side. (Mummy worries)

Di you have plans to make a version of the SNOO that is semi upright? (Like a carseat)

Happiest_Baby5 karma

This is an excellent question. When I was training to be a pediatrician, I was taught babies should only sleep on their stomach. They sleep better that way, and we were all so worried that back sleeping would lead to choking and aspiration. But since the 1990s, we've had all babies sleeping on their back, and we've been delighted to learn that the incidence of sleep death has dropped by 50% and I have never heard of a baby who has choked. One of the big reasons why they don't choke is because they reflexively turn their head to one side or another and the milk comes out that way. We've had no problems with babies being fed and then being placed in the SNOO. However, it's an interesting idea to have a semi-upright version. The big problem with that is that if the head is too far forward, a baby's head is so heavy it can fall forward and make it difficult for them to breath (that's why it's no longer recommended to let babies sleep in carseats, swings, or other seated devices.)

snaussy3 karma

Hi! First thank you for the 5 S's and SNOO! We use both! I'm getting a little nervous as time goes on though, will my baby get addicted to Snoo's sound and motion?

Happiest_Baby3 karma

Thanks for the question! Motion and sound have an amazing ability to trigger a baby’s calming reflex in the first months of life – but a baby grows less dependent on these “4th trimester” sensations for sleep as time goes on. The SNOO app lets you gently wean the motion whenever you choose to (most parents do it at around 4-5 months). So, by the time the baby outgrows SNOO, they no longer need the swaddle and they’re ready to transition into a flat crib. (I recommend using sound all night for the entire first year…or longer.)

LoveBy1373 karma

Is there any sort of sleep training you recommend for toddlers? My 19 month old is still nursing to sleep and while I don't always mind it, it makes it hard for my husband and other family members to get her to sleep.

I've never gotten the take her off the boob while drowsy but awake to work.

Happiest_Baby6 karma

There is a type of sleep training that I like a lot for toddlers. It isn't closing the door and letting them cry - it something much trickier. I call it "Twinkle Interruptus." It's a technique where you spend a week teaching your child to be more patient (using a Happiest Toddler technique called Patience Stretching) and then you incorporate that into her nighttime routine by interrupting your normal nighttime reading to her with short excursions out of the room (literally starting at 5 or 10 seconds and gradually increasing to a couple of minutes.) All the while, you have white noise playing in the room and you have your child holding her lovey. I know this sounds confusing if not cryptic, but it's a little complicated to review in this short format. The next time you're in a library or book store, you can take a look at a few pages in the Happiest Toddler book, or check out this article: http://www.babycenter.com/0_q-a-dr-karps-solutions-for-toddler-sleep-problems_10375754.bc

wonderarenotlost3 karma

We have a six month old who unfortunately got into the habit of sleeping with us, we are now trying to wean him of this habit and have tried the past two nights. It ended with us getting very little sleep and him screaming until he threw up. Can you suggest how we could get him to sleep?

Happiest_Baby6 karma

Yikes! This can definitely be challenging. It's very common for six-month-olds to prefer sleeping in bed with their parents (who can blame them?) Being by yourself in a quiet, dark room can feel a little lonely for a baby. Once children get to nine months of age, it becomes safe for allowing them to sleep with a small lovey to keep them company. But at this age, the first step I would take is to add white noise to the room every night. In fact, I would start the white noise an hour before bedtime and I would start darkening the house an hour before bedtime as well to give your baby's brain the signal that sleep is coming. There are a couple of ways of trying to do sleep training with children this age. One is called the "Cry It Out" technique where you literally walk out of the room and let your baby cry. Some recommend checking in every five minutes, some doctors recommend not going in until the morning. Another approach is the "Pick up, put down" routine, where you go to your child, pick them up and comfort them, but then put them back in bed once they are quieted and repeat until the baby falls asleep (sometimes fifty cycles later.) The good news is using these techniques, you can usually retrain your baby's sleep within 4-7 days, but the caveat is you have to do the techniques correctly or they can make matters worse. I don't mean to plug my own book, but there's a section in the "Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep." One last thing - you do want to establish a nice bedtime routine. Like I said, turning down the lights and turning up the white noise, as well perhaps a nice lullaby or recording, a nighttime massage, and singing to your baby. All of these things being repeated every night gives your baby the signal that when they begin to experience this, they will soon be going to sleep.

rossdonaldson3 karma

My wife and I were lucky enough to get to test your SNOO crib with our infant (who beforehand, was sleeping very poorly). It worked great and made such a difference in our lives! How did you come up with the idea for such a great invention?

Happiest_Baby11 karma

After teaching the 5 S's to families for ten years, I was so happy that it helped calm crying babies but many parents still complained they were having trouble getting their babies to sleep at night. Poor nighttime sleep is not just a nuisance, it is a very serious burden on families and can trigger post artum depression, child abuse, even infant sleep death (not to mention it makes it harder to lose the baby weight). I realized that if we could make a bed that delivered the 5 S's through out the night, it could help a lot of children get sleep at night. Today if you have a nanny or a night nurse, you are pretty well-off. And if you have two, you're definitely rich. But, throughout human history, up until a hundred years ago, all parents had four or five nannies. They were called your grandmother, aunt, and older sister. Parents today are really struggling with more dangerous neighborhoods, fewer parks, less experience knowing how to take care of children, less family support, more economic pressure. When you lay sleep deprivation on top of that, it can be really crushing.

Five years ago, I went out and found a partner, one of the leading engineers of MIT robotics and we joined forces together to create a totally new type of baby bed in SNOO smart sleeper, which I like to think of as an extra set of hand to help when Grandma leaves…or a virtual night nurse to help parents 24/7 for 6 months.

AwkwardRainbow1 karma

Why did you become a pediatrician? I have a friend in high school that wanted to become one but she is starting to reconsider. What gives you the inspiration to do your job?

Happiest_Baby1 karma

I appreciate the question!

Check out my answer in response to /u/gusmoreno15.

basedWalrus1 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, Dr. Karp. I am very intrigued by the SNOO Smart Sleeper, but the price point (understandably) is rather steep. Will Happiest Baby consider making products that are more affordable to the everyday parent?

Happiest_Baby4 karma

We definitely want to bring the price down to make SNOO affordable to many more parents and we will be working on that over the next year or two. In the meantime, using SNOO for 6 months means that it costs less than $7 a day to have 24/7 help calming your baby’s cries, getting more sleep and knowing that your little one is protected all night from rolling to a risky position. And, some families are registering for SNOO on Baby List, which lets friends and family chip in or taking advantage of our 3, 6 or 12 month payment plan.

Of course, we have books and DVDs that are much more accessible.

KingOfRibbles1 karma

Hi Dr. Karp. My son was a very fussy infant when trying to get him to sleep. The only way to get him to sleep was lying someone, until I found a swing he liked and we could get him to sleep in there for 4-5 hours sometimes. Then, he turned four months and he generally stopped sleeping for those long stretches. He will now only sleep in 2 hour intervals in the swing and 45mins in the crib. His naps are only 30 mins in length and he naps roughly every hour. I would like him to sleep in the crib and have proper naps in there, but tends to cry and make a fuss when put in the crib. For example, when putting him in the crib for the night we have to repeatedly pick up and put down to soothe him for about an hour, some times longer. What would you recommend to get him sleeping in the crib for lengthy stretches of time?

Happiest_Baby2 karma

I'm running out of time, but check out my response to /u/HOU5976 above as well as this article: https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/blog/nap-fails-get-daytime-sleep-back-on-track

smwertz1 karma

Hi Dr. Karp, my 2.5 yr old is experiencing a major sleep regression. He used to sleep through the night but about a month ago he started waking up 2-3 times at night and coming into our bed. And at 430am he sometimes refuses to go back to bed at all. Any advice?

Happiest_Baby2 karma

LAlb11 karma

What are your thoughts on sleep training? I never like my little crying and cannot and will not let them cry it out... but I also need sleep!

Happiest_Baby1 karma

As a pediatrician, my basic philosophy is to be nurturing to children but to also to be a realist. My goal is to train children to be better sleepers using their natural cues like white noise and swaddling. However, if you get to the point as a parent that you are feeling totally exhausted, that is going to have serious negative consequences for your child and yourself. In my practice, I have recommended crying it out when nothing else works and I have parents who are really not doing well because they are so sleep deprived. What we have observed with SNOO is that we are able to sleep train babies naturally - with their natural, in-utero sleep cues, usually within 1-2 months, which has prevented us from having to do cry it out sleep training.

Hou59761 karma

How can I get my baby to nap better? He's 8 weeks old. My baby naps swaddled in a swing in a dark room with a white noise machine. He resists taking naps and often lays wide awake in the swing. When he does nap, he only sleeps for 30 mins at a time. He gets very cranky from not napping all day and starts crying and screaming on and off from 5 pm until he goes to sleep around 7 pm or 8 pm. Bathing him is the only way to calm him at this point. In the past week, my baby has also gone from sleeping 4-5 hours at a time at night before waking to only being able to go 3 hours before waking.

Happiest_Baby3 karma

Napping is a challenge for some babies, especially once they get to be interested in the world around them. I think you're doing a good job to do the napping swaddled with the white noise in a dark room. Make sure the swaddling is with the arms down and snug around the arms but loose around the hips. And make sure that you're using a rough rumbly sound (high-pitched sounds or ocean sounds are not as effective.) I would, however, have you speak to your doctor about using a swing. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies not sleep sitting up because their heads can roll forward and make it very hard for them to breathe.

Here’s more info on troubleshooting naps: https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/blog/nap-fails-get-daytime-sleep-back-on-track

3x3animalstyle1 karma

How does SNOO differ from other products on the market?

Happiest_Baby1 karma

SNOO is in a category of its own—it is the world’s first smart sleeper, that can boost sleep and reduce crying. None of the other cribs on the market that say they are smart sleepers use smart technology to actually respond to a baby’s cries. SNOO also prevents accidental rolling, keeping babies safe and secure on the back, which is the AAP recommendation for the first 6 months of life. No other baby product has this safety feature.

cravenartery1 karma

What first got you interested in helping children sleep better? What were people doing before your 5 S work became the standard?

Happiest_Baby3 karma

Before The Happiest Baby DVD came out, people were either saying to put a crying baby in a dark room to let them "blow off steam" or they were giving medication for very fussy babies. In fact, when I did my training in the 1970s, I was taught to prescribe some very common medicines for fussy babies including valium, phenobarbital, or paregoric, which is a mixture of alcohol and opium. Of course parents were also taught to rock their babies but swaddling had been abandoned for almost two centuries as something that was unfair to babies and unnatural, even though swaddling had been used for centuries by successful parents around the world.

dltcasting1 karma

It seems like the baby's head shakes really hard in the SNOO. Is that safe?

Happiest_Baby1 karma

Like you, some parents have told us that it looks really odd to see a baby’s head jiggle back and forth. It may surprise you to learn that this jiggle is a key part of the 5 S’s calming method! In fact, for many babies the jiggle is absolutely essential for turning on the calming reflex. That’s why so many parents dance with their fussy babies, bounce on yoga balls, go for quick walks, or go on a car ride and try to jiggle their baby by hitting every speed bump and pot hole in sight. SNOO is using the same ideas. My entire career is devoted to the safety and health of babies, so SNOO is absolutely engineered for safety. The bed platform only moves about 0.25 inch in each direction!!!

tatiss1 karma

Hi dr Karp! I just found out about you today in a FB post at a mommys group. Will definitely check out your books. I have a 2.5 m o baby girl and I could use some help with sleep training. I absolutely hate to leave her crying it out. I don't agree with that! Am I doomed? Also, unrelated to sleeping... do babies absolutely need DHA in their formula? She's formula only fed and I chose an European formula over the US ones but this one does not have any DHA. I appreciate your comments. :)

Happiest_Baby1 karma

Regarding the formula, we don't have evidence that DHA is required (studies show that it is something that very premature babies benefit from but it's not clear that full-term babies require it) so I would think of it as a nice-to-have, not a must-have.

Regarding sleep training, the first step is to make sure you are taking the easy steps - snug swaddling, the right type of white noise, sufficient feeding, maybe a little massage at night to give her a cue that bedtime is coming. One thing I would also recommend is something I call "wake up and sleep" meaning it's fine to rock your baby to sleep in your arms, but when you put your baby down, you want to jostle her just a little to wake her up so she begins to have an experience where she learns to put herself to sleep. The old myth is "Never wake a sleeping baby." But actually, to help a child learn how to sooth themselves, it often helps to wake a baby up when we put them to sleep. Having said that, if a parent puts a baby down and the baby sleeps great, there's no need to start waking a child up. But for those who have babies who are waking up during the night still, it does speed a baby's learning how to get themselves back to sleep.

MrsSassyPickle1 karma

All of your tips were so helpful when my girl was a newborn! She's now 13 months old and will only nurse to sleep or fall asleep while driving, we cosleep and she nurses a lot in her sleep. What is the best way to gently get her to sleep on her own without nursing? Preferably with zero crying. My goal is to continue cosleeping but just not the night nursing part. Also it would be nice if others could put her to bed. If she falls asleep while not in the car without nursing she'll wake up after 10 mins crying to nurse.

Happiest_Baby1 karma

Thank you so much!

Check out "Twinkle Interruptus" in another response here. There's a whole bunch of new tips for children 8 months to five years of age to build emotional resilience, patience, and cooperation (and to prevent temper tantrums) in "The Happiest Toddler on the Block."

avazah1 karma

Hello Dr. Karp! Thanks for doing this AMA!

Since you are a huge proponent of swaddling, what are your thoughts about the AAP's recent guideline to stop swaddling at 8 weeks/2 months old? Most parents I know "break the swaddle habit" much later, when baby starts rolling back to tummy during the day. Is this just overly cautious? Is there another "method" of swaddling that may be more appropriate for older babies that still has the comforting closeness of the traditional swaddle?

I was surprised to see the recommendation to stop swaddling so young, because the swaddle was really key for my daughter until she started rolling at 3.5 months!

Happiest_Baby1 karma

Thanks for this question.

You're so right - it is way too early to stop swaddling a baby at two months. The peak of SIDS is between 2 and 4 months of age. That's the most important time for babies to stay on the back and snug swaddling plus white noise helps them by less wiggly and more likely to sleep on the back without rolling over. However, once a baby is starting to roll over, that is a signal to stop the swaddling because we don't want swaddled babies sleeping on their stomachs. That was one of our important goals with SNOO which has a special swaddle blanket that secures to safety clips to prevent accidental rolling and keep babies safely on their back all night.