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
"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)
From the Publisher
About the Author
Tracy Hogg trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital and continued her education in midwifery and caring for newborns at St James' Hospital in Leeds and St Catherine's Hospital, Doncaster. She migrated to the US in 1993 where her uncanny ability to understand and calm babies led to her nickname 'The Baby Whisperer'.
Melinda Blau is an award-winning writer specialising in family and health topics. She is the author of seven other books and countless magazine articles and is the mother of two grown-up children.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
One of the most common questions asked of me by prospective parents is, "What books do you recommend we obtain for guidance?" My dilemma has never been with the choice of a medically based text, but rather with a solid volume presenting practical, simple and yet individualised advice about early infant behaviour and development. Now my dilemma is solved.
In Secrets of a Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg has given new (and even experienced) parents a great gift - the ability to develop early insight into their child's temperament, a framework for interpreting a baby's early communication and behaviour, and as a result, a set of very practical and workable solutions for remedying typical infant problems such as excessive crying, frequent feedings, and sleepless nights.
For many new parents, information overload from well-meaning family members, friend, books and the electronic media creates confusion and anxiety, even before a baby is born. Current publications dealing with typical newborn problems are often too dogmatic or, worse yet, too loose in philosophy. Barraged with these extremes, new parents often develop a style of "accidental parenting", well intentioned, but likely to produce even more problems with Baby. In this book, Tracy emphasises the importance of structured routine to help parents fall into a predictable rhythm.
She suggests and "E.A.S.Y." cycle of eating, activity, and then sleep in order to detach the expectation of eating from sleeping, and thus time is created for the parent - You. As a result, babies learn to self-soothe and settle without a breast or bottle association. Cries or behaviour observed after baby is well fed are then able to be interpreted more realistically by new parents.
In a new parent's zeal to multi-task and integrate parenting into a "pre-baby" world, Tracy encourages you to "S.L.O.W." down. She gives very useful suggestions for surviving the postpartum adjustment all family members must make, how to anticipate problems and simplify this most tiring of periods, and therefore how to capture the most subtle, yet most important of cues - the new baby's desire to communicate. Tracy teaches carers to observe Baby's body language and respond to the real world, and to use this knowledge to help interpret an infant's basic needs.
For parents who pick up this book late into their baby's infancy, helpful suggestions are brought forth to untangle and resolve on-going difficulties - take heed, old habits can still be corrected. Tracy walks you patiently through the process and will instil in you confidence that parenting (an sleep, and fussiness) can get back on a liveable track. For all parents, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer will become the dog-eared, well-loved reference we have all been waiting for. Enjoy!
Jannett J. Levenstein MD