Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your BabySecrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I'd read this book sooner!  It's the whole reason I am able to sit here on my couch in a quiet house and write this review instead of being up in my daughter's room being a human pacifier for about 2 hours, trying to get her to take a nap.  Since I read the sections on Ms. Hogg's "E.A.S.Y." system, we've been able to get our daughter to go down for naps much quicker and easier and without requiring us to rock her or pace or nurse, etc.  Now we watch for the signs she's getting tired, make sure she's got a dry diaper & a full tummy, put her in her sleep sack & darken her room, read a story if she's not too far gone already, and put her down.  She usually gives a protest cry for a couple of minutes and then conks out.  Sometimes she just conks out.  It's fantastic!!  I do have to admit, though, that I don't always stick to "E.A.S.Y." (Eat Activity Sleep You-time).  Often it's more like E.A.E.S.Y. or A.E.A.S.Y., but the main thing is that we watch for those tell-tale yawns now.

I do have a couple of cautions about the book, however.  First, it's a little unclear whether Ms. Hogg expects her audience to read the book before or after the baby is born.  She talks a lot about getting to know your baby as an individual, which you can't do until s/he is externally visible, but once the baby is born, you have zero time or energy for reading until long after she suggests you start following her guidelines.  So my recommendation is to read it before the baby comes and then refer back to specific sections after your little darling starts making his or her personality known.

My next caution has to do with the accuracy of some of the science, namely regarding breastfeeding and breast milk.  I very much appreciate that Ms. Hogg doesn't want any mother to feel badly about her decision to give her baby formula versus nursing and/or pumping, but in the 14 years since this book was first published, there have indeed been scientific studies that indicate breastfeeding is better for both mother and baby.  It's not the end of the world if you have to use formula exclusively or supplementally, but it is preferable to breastfeed if you can.

And finally, my last, and definitely least, quibble is with the overuse of the word "luv."  It seems to be intended to make the book feel more folksy and less like an expert telling you what to do, but about 90% of the instances should have been cut with a lovely editor's pen.  They really started to grate on my nerves.

Bottom line, though: a good choice for expectant parents who want to be able to eat, sleep, and shower, not to mention read a book or watch Downton Abbey ever again.  You might even want to buy this one and put it on your parenting resources shelf to refer back to now and again.

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