Overjoyed but exhausted? Perplexed but purring? Then you may just be a new parent. And if you're looking for practical reassurance and advice then Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect and Communicate with your Baby
is for you.
Clearly a remarkable person, Tracy Hogg (the "baby whisperer") has an impressive ability to understand and relate to babies. Herself a mother, she is an experienced maternity nurse and has derived her approach from her dealings with countless babies and their families. Forgiving and sympathetic in style, her book is well written, immensely readable and is full of gems and shrewd observations that even the seasoned parent may not have worked out. She emphasises the importance of showing respect to your baby: "Just try to remember that this is a little human being in your arms, a person whose senses are alive, a tiny being who already knows your voice and even what you smell like." And so the parent is instructed to give the newly returned-home baby an explanatory commentary and friendly guided tour of his or her new home.
Those who enjoy personality quizzes will love the Know-Your-Baby Quiz in which you can "zero in" on your baby's type which, according to Ms Hogg could be "Angel", "Textbook", "Touchy", "Spirited" or "Grumpy". She then provides tips on the best way to handle each type of baby. Advocating a structured routine with the acronym EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You) she then demonstrates how it works for the benefit of all the family. The book covers most topics from sex to weaning, but possibly the most helpful, even beautiful, section is where the Baby Whisperer divulges her secrets for interpreting your baby's body language, signals and cries.
If you find The Baby Whisperer helpful, you may well also be interested in Gina Ford's The Contented Little Baby Book, What to Expect: the First Year and the slightly higher brow Babyhood by Penelope Leach. --Rebecca Pickering
"Miracles are her business" (Jodie Foster
"The honest truth is that Tracy Hogg has provided me with more insight into the things that matter than anyone else." (Alain de Botton Observer Review
"She achieves what, to hard-pressed parents, seem like miracles." (Mail on Sunday
"...in a different league than all other 'how to manage as a parent' books." (Daily Mail