With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s second child due this summer, Simon Wittenberg talks to Happiest Baby’s co-founder, author and paediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, to find out how you can give your baby the royal treatment as soon as it arrives into the world, and what makes the SNOO Smart Sleeper so special.
Luxurious Magazine: What is the ethos behind Happiest Baby, and what sets your business apart from the competition?
Dr. Harvey Karp: Happiest Baby is a mission-driven company dedicated to helping parents succeed at their most important job – raising healthy and happy children.
Parenting is one of the greatest joys in life, and loving our children is natural and intuitive, but knowing how to parent them is a skill built on experience. Yet modern parents often have little childcare experience or hands-on help from friends and family.
This is a problem, as exhaustion and the stress of parenting can trigger a cascade of serious problems, including postpartum depression/anxiety, marital conflict and accidents.
That’s where Happiest Baby makes a difference! We develop science-based products, content and services to enhance child wellbeing and to help solve everyday parenting challenges.
At the heart of Happiest Baby, we’re a team of experts who have studied and experienced parenting first-hand and are continually developing and learning to provide the very best for families all around the world.
LM: Happiest Baby was established in Los Angeles in 2001. Why was the decision taken to expand into the UK market?
DHK: Sleep is a universal need! Not only is getting enough sleep crucial for a baby’s healthy development, but it’s essential for a parent’s health too. Exhaustion is the number one cause of stress for new mums and dads, and sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, including triggering perinatal depression, accidents and marital tension.
After our celebrity advisors and ambassadors sang the praises of SNOO, we saw an unprecedented rise in parents across the UK reaching out for advice. It made complete sense to launch Happiest Baby within the UK, especially as there wasn’t a smart bassinet already on the market.
LM: When shopping for a newborn, what should you be considering, as there are so many different products to choose from?
DHK: Shopping for a newborn can be a very daunting experience for many families. With so many different cots, prams and clothes to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start! It’s important to choose products that are safe and help a baby’s healthy development.
Unlike cots and prams, and clothes, SNOO is one product that has been proven to aid sleep for families and adds peace of mind by keeping babies sleeping on their backs. Plus, it’s smart to purchase products that also make life easier for parents – this is true now more than ever with COVID-19 and many new parents not having as much in-person support from grandparents, friends and extended family.
LM: Your flagship product is the renowned and luxurious SNOO Smart Sleeper, which is used by celebrities, including Mila Kunis, Beyonce, and Chrissy Teigan. How long did it take to develop, and what benefits does it offer newborns and parents?
DHK: SNOO was born after five years of development and testing (many, many hours of work go into birthing the safest and smartest baby bed!). We made it in collaboration with renowned industrial designer Yves Béhar of Fuseproject and Dr. Deb Roy, Director, Laboratory for Social Machines, MIT Media Lab.
SNOO is based on the principles of the 5S’s. In a certain sense, our babies are born three to four months before they are “fully baked”. For nine months, babies are tightly cuddled in the cosy womb, surrounded by constant motion and continuous ‘whooshing’ sounds (the sound of placental blood flow is actually as loud as a hoover!).
It’s, therefore, no surprise that after birth, babies sleep best with these comforting rhythms, as these womb sensations turn on a baby’s automatic calming reflex. Using what I’ve termed as the 5S’s help activate the calming reflex curbs, persistent fussing and helps babies to fall asleep faster. The 5S’s are:
- Swaddle: Recreating the snug packaging inside the womb. To swaddle correctly, wrap arms snug, straight at the side, but let the hips be loose and flexed. Babies shouldn’t be swaddled all day, just during fussing and sleep.
- Side/Stomach Position: The back is the only safe position for sleeping, but it is the worst position for calming fussiness. Hold your baby on their side, on their stomach or over your shoulder.
- Shush: The best way to re-create this magic womb sound that babies are so used to is by playing white noise using a sound machine, bassinet, or app.
- Swing: Life in the womb is very jiggly! Use fast, tiny motions to soothe a crying infant. Babies love being swayed or rocked!
- Suck: A dummy helps many babies sleep. This S is the cherry on the top of a baby soothing cake!
The SNOO uses three of the S’s (swinging, shushing, and swaddling) and helps reduce crying, aids sleep, naturally sleep trains babies, and is the world’s first bed to keep babies safely on their back.
Equipped with customisable settings via the mobile app, parents have access to daily sleep reports and helpful tips and tricks at their fingertips. The SNOO features a special sleep sack, which makes swaddling easier, reduces overheating, prevents unravelled blankets, and keeps babies safely on their backs.
LM: Buyers of the SNOO Smart Sleeper also have access to a personal helper, an extra pair of hands, around the clock. Please tell our readers how they can help new parents and baby?
DHK: SNOO is much more than a bed…It’s a 24/7 caregiver. SNOO offers new parents some much-needed support and rest; it keeps babies sleeping longer and automatically responds to their cries with more shushing and rocking, often calming upsets in seconds.
It’s like an extra pair of hands there to help, so parents can make dinner, take a shower, play with older kids, or take a well-deserved sleep break!
Unlike traditional cots, SNOO adds one to two hours to a baby’s sleep. This helps give exhausted parents the sleep they need and reduces the risk of marital conflict, breastfeeding failure, postnatal depression, and even unsafe bed sharing that can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). With the unique swaddle, this gives parents incredible peace of mind and allows them to rest easier.
LM: Happiest Baby offers other science-based products to enhance child wellbeing and help solve the daily parenting challenges. Can you give our readers an insight into some of these, please?
DHK: Even after they transition from SNOO to a cot, babies sleep better with white noise, which is why we designed the SNOObear, a super huggable teddy that has a white noise sound machine in its tummy, and plays the same magical sounds babies love in SNOO. These shushing rhythms give children better sleep, sweeter dreams and help settle fears!
The SNOObear will play its white noise for 30 to 60 minutes, but will always ‘pay attention’ for three hours after the sound stops, responding to any new fussing with another dose of soothing sound, helping parents sleep better, too!
As a paediatrician, I’ve known babies and toddlers of all kinds, and over the years, I have developed tips and tricks to help parents boost their children’s cooperation, build patience and reduce tantrums!
These are in my book ‘The Happiest Toddler on the Block,’ which has helped parents around the world. It teaches game-changing parenting techniques, such as Feeding the Meter and Toddler-ese, a talking style that really works can quickly improve the confidence and emotional resilience of children from eight months to five years of age.
Just this year, we’ve released the Everything Dress: a camisole dress for pregnancy and nursing.
We understand that in 2021, both expectant and new mums need something that’s flexible and can fit into their everyday routine.
A grow-with-you garment, the unique design will keep the hem of the skirt from riding up as your bump blossoms, and once the baby arrives, the dress will provide quick, discreet access for nursing and pumping, and for no-fuss nursing pad replacement.
LM: Are there any physical stores where we can see your product range or is Happiest Baby an online retailer only?
DHK: Whilst we don’t have any independent Happiest Baby stores in the UK, our products are available online at https://happiestbaby.co.uk, and also at Harrods and Selfridges.
LM: What ages are your products generally suitable for?
DHK: Our products are for newborns, toddlers, young children and parents! In addition to our products, including the SNOO and SNOObear, we have the Happiest Baby blog, which arms parents with information and advice to thrive throughout the baby and toddler years…and beyond. We provide expert tips and tricks on all areas of parenting, from sleep to the best baby names, and how to keep your kids entertained at home!
LM: Who are your celebrity parent advisors, and how do they support families across the globe?
DHK: We are proud to be joined by several wonderful parent advisors, including Jessica Chastain, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson and Zoe Saldana. Our advisors really support our goal to help families across the country and around the world in all areas of parenting, from sleep and maternal mental health to baby development and toddler behaviour.
Happiest Baby – Where and How?
For more information about Happiest Baby, visit https://happiestbaby.co.uk.
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