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Can you learn your baby's language?
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer - Tracy Hogg
Member Name: brightlight
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer - Tracy Hogg
Advantages: covers the basics and introduces a sleep solution
Disadvantages: I didn't find it useful in practice
~ Why I purchased the book ~
I gave birth to my daughter just 12 weeks ago. Being a first time mother, looking after a newborn came as a bit of a shock to say the least! After a difficult labour, I realised I was now literally left 'holding the baby!' Unfortunately my baby was and still is a bit colicky, which meant that she spent much of her time crying. Much as being a mother is a wonderful feeling, looking after a demanding, constantly crying baby is difficult at the best of times, and in desperation I searched online for a decent baby book that could help guide me to implement routines and to understand my baby's behaviour.
After randomly searching Amazon for various choices of books, I decided to purchase two different books to start with to see if any could help me. One of these happened to be Tracey Hogg's the baby Whisperer.
~ A summary of the book ~
Tracey Hogg's ethos is that you need to show respect to your baby. She suggests talking to and with your baby and telling them what you are going to do before you do it. Some people may find this a little odd, but I think it is a good idea as it promotes language skills and although your baby may not fully understand you, talking to them prepares them for what will happen next. For instance, telling your baby gently that you will be taking off their clothes and nappy engages them and makes this less of a shock for them!
There are a selection of chapters, which enlighten the reader on a variety of issues:
Chapter 1 ~ focuses on the first few days at home with your baby, what to expect and what to be aware of
Chapter 2 ~ Discusses Tracey Hogg's suggested EASY routine, and the importance of structure in a baby's life
Chapter 3 ~ Explains how to respect and understand your baby's feelings and language
Chapter 4 ~ Examines feeding issues relating to breast and bottle
Chapter 5 ~ Explores the baby's day - including changing nappies, dressing. playing, bath time and massage.
Chapter 6 ~ Sleep Patterns and practices
Chapter 7 ~ The importance of parents looking after themselves
Chapter 8 ~ Special circumstances such as surrogacy, adoption and lengthy hospital stays.
Chapter 9 ~ Changing bad parental habbits into better ones
~Key issues and points in the book ~
Rather than repeat the entire book by going through each chapter, I think it would be more useful to emphasise the key points to the book which seperate it from other baby parenting books on the market.
The first thing which is unique to Tracey Hogg's book, is the focus on her E.A.S.Y routine. This is a routine which she suggests all parents try to use with their baby, and it stands for E ~ Eat, A~ Activity, S~ Sleep, and Y - You time.
In a nutshell therefore, over a period of approximately 3 hours, Tracey suggests that you should feed your baby, then have some activity time with them (which could also include things like bathing, dressing, nappy changing, outings, as well as playing), get them to go to sleep, and whilst they are asleep - have some you time.
There is a chapter dedicated to understanding what type of baby you have. There are five types of baby -
a) Angel Baby. This is basically a perfect baby who rarely cries, sleeps easily and without prompting, plays by themself and is no trouble at all!! If only...
b) Textbook baby. Not as content as Angel baby, but still a relatively easy and predictable baby who reaches all his milestones on target
c) Touchy Baby. This baby cries a lot and is a nervous and sensitive type who needs lots of comforting.
d) Spirited baby. This baby is quite demanding and needs a lot of attention.
e) Grumpy baby. A baby who cries constantly and is rarely happy!
The book has a quiz which helps you decide which type of baby you have, and it suggests you and if applicable, your partner take the quiz in order to assertain exactly which type.
There is a section which tells the reader how to interperet baby cries and body language.
Tracey outlines a solution to helping you get your baby to sleep which she says is a better alternative to controlled crying - this is called the 'pick up put down method.'
~My opinion on the book~
Whilst I like the ethos and ideas within the book, in practice I have not found much of it particuarly useful.
First of all, the EASY routine. When I initially read this in the book, I thought to myself 'what a cop out!' To me, this is not exactly brain science. Yes, it may be more flexible than a book that outlines a rigid routine, but to be honest, I dont think I needed to buy a book to tell me the basics of allowing my my baby to eat, play and sleep. In addition to this, as with all routines, I find that it is still not that easy. The issue I have, is that my baby does not always go to sleep in that order. I am sure that an 'angel baby' will drift off to sleep right after the 'activity' allowing for 'you time,' but sadly my baby is a cross between spirited, touchy and grumpy baby and fights sleep! Sometimes when I finally get my baby to sleep, she wakes up after half an hour and there is no time for 'me time!' Then my baby gets up and activity time starts which worries me as 'sleep' is supposed to come first, but feeds are every 3-4 hours! So basically, I find it hard to always stick to this and the book does not acknowledge these difficulties, it just expects babies to follow the order of the EASY routine.
Secondly, I did not find the baby types and quiz particuarly helpful. The reason being is that my baby did not fall into just one type, I could not pick which type she is, as she was a strong cross of three types! My partner did the quiz and also said the book was unhelpful due to the same reason.
And as for the baby language section, in theory it sounds useful, but in reality a lot of the pointers were quite obvious to me anyway - hardly a revelation.
As for the sleep method...Tracey recommends that to get your baby to sleep, you should pick them up from their crib when they cry, and put them down when they stop. This should continue until they fall asleep and can take hundreds of times before it works, and can last a week or two in duration. I confess, I started to try it but have not fully perservered yet. Reason being that it is just not practable because when trying it at night it involves so much energy and time if your baby is fiesty and cries a lot (like mine) and it is keeping my partner awake when he needs to get up for work. I may try it again, but to be honest, I think that controlled crying, although harder on the parent may be a better and quicker option. I may therefore do this when my baby is a bit older. I feel that the pick up put down method may be confusing for the baby.
~ would I recommend? ~
I was not overly impressed by this book. I would only really recommend it to first time mothers who have done no other reading as it covers the basics, and if you can, read it along with other books before the baby is born so you can make your own mind up.
Summary: worth reading but not the best parenting book
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