Albrie Marie Metts is a happy baby.
The sweet baby girl and her parents, Henry L. Metts Jr. and Angela Oglevee of Fairbank are part of a new statewide initiative to promote a program that sooths and calms newborns called “The Happiest Baby.’’ Created by pediatrician and child development expert Dr. Harvey Karp, “The Happiest Baby’’ teaches parents about a calming reflex that becomes an off-switch for crying babies.
“It works. There is no doubt about it,’’ said Metts. “…It’s an amazing thing. I think everyone should know about it.’’
Oglevee agreed, saying, “She is a very happy baby.’’
Officials are hoping to encourage other parents to try “The Happiest Baby.’’
Janet Debolt, supervisor of the Nurse/Family Partnership program operated by Fayette County Community Action Inc., said, “It’s an initiative through the Department of Health encompassing WIC (Women, Infants and Children) for the entire state of Pennsylvania and our Fayette County Nurse/Family Partnership.’’
The Nurse/Family Partnership was able to get the digital video discs and books, as did WIC. They are presenting the program to the community through groups and to individuals who call the office for more information. All the nurses are certified in “The Happiest Baby.”
Keeping tabs on its impact, the Nurse/Family Partnership also is in partnership with the Division of Applied Research and Evaluation at the Office of Child Division at the University of Pittsburgh to determine outcomes of families using “The Happiest Baby’’ program.
In “The Happiest Baby,’’ Karp promotes the idea of a fourth trimester that takes place after birth. Babies can be calmed during this time by activating a calming switch if they use techniques to replicate the environment of the womb.
Karp has developed a series of techniques he calls The 5 S’s: swaddle, side/stomach, shush, swinging and suck, with methods for each that can calm a baby. They begin with swaddling a baby snugly in a blanket when the baby is fussy or to help the bab