Nat inteviewed Dr. Harvey Karp — author of “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and creator of the Snoo smart sleeper — at the JPMA Baby Show 2017. Dr. Karp offers advice and guidance to new parents of twins to help them calm their babies and get more sleep.
Interview with Dr. Harvey Karp
Nat: Oh my goodness. Today is my lucky day. Or is it your lucky day?
DHK: Oh it’s definitely my lucky day.
Nat: Well hello. That’s good.
DHK: Hopefully yours too.
Nat: Guys, do you know who this is? So this is Dr. Harvey Karp. A real doctor. Not just one you play on TV.
DHK: Not just on television, yeah.
Nat: No it’s really. It’s the real deal. So, if you are not familiar with Dr. Karp’s technique. You have The Happiest Baby on the Block, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, do you have, do we have a “goes to school” age? When do we get that?
DHK: No, but there is a The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep. So for the first five years there is a sleep book as well.
Nat: When are we going to have a happiest middle schooler on the block? Who’s calling us?
DHK: Oh my Gosh, I think it’s my, my next appointment.
Nat: Oh it’s your alarm.
DHK: It’s a busy day.
Nat: It is a busy day. Well I appreciate you taking a minute. So we have twin families out there, and so if you had to say, here’s like the loaded question.
Nat: Right! The million dollar question. If you just found out that you were expecting twins, and we go through our pregnancy. Everything is great, and now they’re here. What is the one strategy, that you, not one clearly, or the one that comes off the top of your head. What’s the one strategy to make your family most content?
DHK: OH my gosh, so it’s very simple – get help. I mean, and everyone will tell you that; but then you have your babies and you think I don’t want to bother people.
DHK: I don’t want to put them out. And stuff like that. You gotta get them over to clean the kitchen, to make a casserole, to do the wash. And say, “Look, I’m going to pay you all back. It may take me two years, but I’m going to come back to your house, I’m going to help you out.”
It’s the time to take – and you know what’s interesting. In many other cultures,
DHK: you are babied when you have a baby. The first 100 days –
DHK: — you are taken care of.
Nat: It’s the truth.
DHK: And we don’t have that in our culture, then when you have two, of course, it’s double the work. Now as you know —
DHK: — the good side of that is that after a couple of years, when everyone else is struggling with their second singleton you’ve got little playmates and you’re off to the races.
DHK: So you’ve kind of already gone through all of that. But it’s tough in the beginning.
Nat: It really is.
DHK: And it can lead to real problems, marital problems and depression and —
DHK: — things like that. Because you are doing something that no one ever did in the history of humanity. No one took care of their kids by themselves. You always had your grandma, your aunt, your older sister helping. So
Nat: Your spouse.
DHK: And your spouse.
Nat: Can’t forget about those.
DHK: Yeah, but they were out hunting a lot also. But here’s the thing —
Nat: Alright. the hunters
DHK: — here’s the thing. This is why we created SNOO. Because SNOO is a bed that…
Nat: Wait, they don’t even know. They don’t even know. Jule show them the SNOO. This is a different, a totally different. So Dr. Karp has created the SNOO. And if you notice, that it is an independent sleeping system, Correct?
Nat: That has attached swaddlers, that come in three different sizes, out of the box. And it is a sound activated, tell me if I do good?
DHK: You’re fantastic.
Nat: Am I doing good so far?
DHK: Yeah, yup you’re hired.
Nat: It is a sound-activated sleeping system that responds exclusively to that baby’s cry.
Nat: And we’ve already talked about. How I was concerned about other twins in the room waking up their sibling. However, because of the placement of the microphones, that is no longer a concern for twin parents, or quad parents, or quint parents or septuplet parents
Nat: or the dog barking, or the doorbell ringing and the FedEx guy. So this is a system that when the baby cries, a simple gentle rocking motion and a shushing sound will start to play.
DHK: Well, actually it’s playing all the time.
Nat: It’s playing all the time. The shushing sound
Nat: The shushing sound
DHK: shushing and gentle motion are there all throughout the night, or any sleep.
DHK: But when the baby cries, it’ll go up a speed. It’s really kind of what you would do,
DHK: You’re just picking up the pace. And it goes up a few levels and if the baby doesn’t calm with that, then the bed just stops.
Nat: So five levels —
Nat: So five levels, from the baby’s first cry through the fifth level. And by the fifth level, if you still hear the baby crying, now it could be hunger, could be dirty diaper, could be — there’s a million things that it could be.
DHK: Even a hug.
Nat: Time to respond. Time to respond —
Nat: — and jump into action. So Dr. Karp, or Harvey, as now we’re on a first-name basis.
Nat: Um, he has won the Innovation Award, which is a very big to-do. So the JPMA has Innovation awards for, of course, the most innovative products within the juvenile products industry. And Dr. Karp has won, which is… it’s really, really remarkable. It’s a new product, but first of all, it is visually beautiful.
DHK: Thank you.
Nat: It really is. It’s very, very beautiful. And it serves a purpose that is not being met anywhere else in this industry.
Nat: We have a question. Would that be okay?
DHK: Um, of course, of course.
Nat: Question: Any ability to make it semi-recumbent for colicky babies who don’t like lying flat?
DHK: Yes, so. We are. We don’t have them quite yet, but we’re going to be having little shoes that go under the feet, to lift the head of the bed up an inch. So that’s one thing. There are a couple of other little steps, things you can do to help babies that don’t want to be flat. Kind of some other little tricks along the way. But I would say that that’s only something we talk about when parents have difficulty. Because almost all colicky babies respond to the bed, even in the flat position, because the motion and sound are so helpful that overcomes their resistance to being flat.
Nat: It’s really extraordinary.
Nat: I’m really proud of you.
Nat: And I have to say, like it’s one thing to be a doctor. Because of course just to be a doctor, I think, is super hero, power, in the universe. And the fact that you really were a practicing doctor, treating patients for years and years and years, and then were like, “Okay, what am I going to do now?” So instead of just continuing to treat the patients in front of you, you’re now treating the entire universe.
DHK: Well that’s, the goal is to help, and because being a mom of twins, or parents of twins, is a super hero job.
Nat: Are you saying that I’m a super hero?
DHK: I am, yes. You’ve got the cape on. I see that.
Nat: I do, I always have the cape on. I always wear a cape. It’s my shield of protection.
DHK: Um, but seriously though. It is. What I always tell parents is that they have to pat themselves on the back. They are literally doing a job that parents never did, except for the last 50 years on their own. They always did it with support and with twins it’s extra, extra hard. So it’s important to take a minute. In fact, with this bed, what I’m really proud of is the fact that we’re using it not just to help babies sleep but to help to prevent unsafe sleeping practices where they roll into an unsafe position. And even to reduce post-partum depression. Because if you can get that extra hour or two of sleep; man, it makes all the difference in the world.
Nat: I had very, very, very, very bad post-partum depression. Significantly, for about seven months. It was really not the best journey. But I think, well, you know what, I had preemies, so because they were, they were so early. And I had this weird guilt about pumping. Like I was militantly pumping around the clock. I write about in the book a lot, I kind, it’s my therapy. I think I wrote that book more for me than I wrote it for everybody else that’s reading it. But it’s true. The sleeping it’s — I always tell our students that sleep deprivation is a literal form of torture.
DHK: It is. Yeah.
Nat: And people don’t realize how important it is to get sleep. So we talk about how to grab naps when Grandma comes over and everybody’s like, “Well, you know I want to see my friends from work.“ And no, you’ll see your friends from work when the kids graduate from kindergarten. You know, we got plenty of time to see the friends from work.
DHK: No, it’s true you have to prioritize.
Nat: Let’s grab some naps.
DHK: Not Facebook, not socializing.
Nat: Absolutely, but you get in caught in, like, this web of what’s supposed to be important. What’s important is taking care of yourself, and making sure that you are a whole parent. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be good to anybody, especially the babies.
DHK: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, you’re then running on fumes. And with twins that’s especially case. And then you get sick.
DHK: And then you’re no good to anybody. So you really have to prioritize when you’re having the little babies. And you have to get, like we said in the beginning; you have to get help.
DHK: And don’t be shy about that. And that’s really… because you know what, people want to give help.
Nat: Yeah, they do.
DHK: People feel good about giving.
Nat: They just don’t know what to do. They just don’t know. And if you can instruct them. And actually on our website we created a chore chart. And you put it on your fridge and when anyone comes over —
Nat: — you just circle the things you need to have done. Because not everyone can say to their mother-in-law, “Do you mind unloading the dishwasher?”, so now you don’t have to. You can say anything on the list would be very helpful.
Nat: And then we just give them a form of communication. So yeah, I’m sorry that we took up so much of your time.
DHK: Including that ten thousand dollar, little circle at the bottom.
Nat: Yeah. College tuition is always good. Here is, you can direct deposit this into our account.
…That is definitely, definitely I’m hoping for full scholarships, is that way that we’re going with college planning. I don’t know if it’s really looking that good, but you know, we’ll see. God bless city universities is the way.
DHK: And a prayer.., a prayer.
Nat: Yeah, that’s our financial planning. Well, thank you so much for joining us.
DHK: Thank you, everybody.
Nat: Dr. Karp, Harvey. I’m sorry. I keep calling you Dr. Karp. I can’t control myself because that is what you’ve been in my head since the dawn of time.
DHK: It’s really a pleasure being with you Natalie.
Nat: Aw, thank you! So for more information you can check our Dr… Dr. Karp’s website. The SNOO is available there, and then no place else. So if you want it, go onto his website. It’s just the Happiest baby….right, .com
Nat: .com. happiestbaby.com, not calm. Which I do like that joke by the way. It’s a good one. I enjoy that, it’s a good one. So the happiestbaby.com. You can find more information about the SNOO but we’re going to repost this on Twiniversity in a few days, once I get back to the east coast and we’ll put a live link there too. So thanks for joining us.
DHK: Bye, everybody.
Nat: And sweet dreams, guys.