Sunday, November 4, 2007

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer - Tracy Hogg

Title: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to calm, connect, and communicate with your child
Author: Tracy Hogg
Country: America
Year: 2001
Rating: C-
Pages: 287

First sentence: Let me tell you straightaway, luv: I didn't dub myself "the baby whisperer."

Short summary: This is a book about Tracy Hogg's baby training program that is designed to teach parents how to respect their babies, understand their needs, and help them to set up a routine of eat, sleep, and activity that works for them--the E.A.S.Y. method.

Challenge book? No.

What did I think? Just once, I would like to find a parenting book that admits, hey, this might not work for you. All families and all babies are unique, and while my ideas might work for many people, they don't work for everyone. Don't be discouraged if what I tell you doesn't work for you.

I haven't found that book yet.

Tracy Hogg claims to have the answers for everyone, since she has never failed. And undoubtedly, her middle-of-the-road approach may work for a lot of people (she continually cites the success with her Hollywood clientele and New York executives). And there are nuggets of solid advice in parts of her book: explanations of a baby's body language and cries, to help you understand what your little one is asking for; and the importance of parents to acknowledge their babies as humans, to respect them and speak to them like the tiny little people that they are.

But, the nuggets of advice seem to be scattered throughout a book that has quite a few misconceptions and inaccuracies, such as the fact that she is "never an advocate for on-demand feeding, a term that I believe speaks for itself--you end up with a demanding baby" and that breastfeeding is a current fad and may someday be replaced by genetically altered cows that produce human milk. Her supposedly unbiased approach to the breastfeeding vs formula debate seemed sadly one-sided to me.

Which brings me back to her insistence from the very beginning that this is a book that will work for everyone, and solve all of your problems. But, I don't think it would work for me, as her ideas are not compatible with some very important aspects of our parenting philosophy. I don't quite classify our beliefs as completely fitting the attachment parenting model, but there are quite a few similarities, none of which are supported by Hogg. We plan on breastfeeding exclusively, and don't plan on weaning during the first year; babywearing during the first few months (Hogg discourages this by comparing carrying baby in a sling to carrying around a sack of potatoes all day), and using a co-sleeper attached to the bed (all her advice is geared towards parents whose babies sleep in their own room from the very beginning).

These are our choices. Other families make different choices, and that is perfectly fine. Her bad breastfeeding advice aside (I would never recommend this book to someone who does not know very much about BF as a source of information), other people might find her advice very helpful. And who knows, a few months down the road, I may come back to her again if sleep is not coming so easily in our home. But I am not going to start my child on a schedule when she is four days old. And I am also learning that books that claim to know it all, are books best to stay away from.

Plus, her over-use of "quotations" absolutely "drives" me "nuts".


Kristina said...

That quotations thing might drive me a little batty too! I saw this woman on Oprah I think and really didn't like the way she just expected everyone to know what she was talking about at all times.
I am planning on being a SAHM, which means I thought that I'd have more time to read, apparently when I looked at my challenges, I flipped out a little. I redid them and tried to make a lot of them cross many challenges. Good luck to me right? lol

Nyssaneala said...

kristina - You know, I try to cross books with different challenges, but it doesn't always seem to work. :)

Jinee said...

Any smart mother knows you can't put a new born baby on a schedule from day 4, but you work towards it and you know what Tracy's method does work. It has worked for my son and it took 45 days to sort itself out and she did say that it takes time. She very much advocates breastfeeding, her advice with regards to top feeding was w. r. t. to those mothers who couldnt exclusively breastfeed for whatever the reason, so that they stay focussed on their child's needs rather than go on a guilt trip. You are right to say that it is not meant to work for everyone and every baby is different.....but Tracy's advice is meant to guide new mothers towards enjoying their baby and motherhood without compromising on the process involved in tending your little one. I actually get 6 hours in all to myself thanks to her...she taught me how to put my little one to sleep without my being at his side at all times or carrying him around and rocking him to sleep for my son is currently heavier than a sack of potatoes.
Her advice has definitely worked for me, and more importantly she taught me never to loose faith in my ability to be a good mother. She got me through all the frustrating moments. Thank God for her and may she rest in peace.

Catstacey said...

We all want to be the perfect mothers to our wonderful baby's and because of this we can tend to be a little defensive when someone else tells us we are making mistakes. It is natural that we will make mistakes as we are not trained in the profession of motherhood. Making mistakes or creating bad habits, doesn't make us bad parents, these habits are formed out of our love for them and our need to ensure they are happy and content. Tracy's book is wonderfully written for those who don't think they know it all but want to create the best environment for our baby's to grow. Feeding and sleeping are the two biggest issues with newborns and Tracy gives you all the tips and guidelines to making it run smoothly. I love Tracy's books, they work! I am a bit of a control freak and want everything to be perfect. I created some bad habits "helping" my baby to go to sleep and feeding was not easy either. Following Tracy's book gave me all the help I needed and now my 10 mth old sleeps 2 solid sleeps (1.5-2 hours) per day and 12 hours per night. We have never been happier and neither has she. I recommend this book to EVERYONE and my copy is currently on loan to another friend who is in desperate need for a solid nights sleep. STICK WITH IT AND YOU WILL REAP THE REWARDS. Good luck to all Mums.