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on 29 March 2004
At present, I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I made the mistake of reading it while pregnant and thought "Being a mum is going to be simple, what on earth do people complain about?" However I realised from day four (the day on which Hogg recommends starting your baby on E.A.S.Y.) that if motherhood were as easy as this book makes out, I would be significantly less tired and harassed than i am now!
So Hogg recommends starting your baby on a routine from day four... well as far as Eating was concerned, my newborn just couldn't rest unless she was at the breast and actually this is not surprising given the trauma she had been through plus the fact she was probably starving and my milk supply needed a good week to rev up. i personally think putting a newborn on a feeding routine at such a tender age is ludicrous. Now my baby is nearly four weeks old and we are on the 2.5 - 3 hour feeding routine and i couldn't recommend it strongly enough but it is unrealistic and demoralising to a first-time mum to find her baby does not wish to dance to Tracey Hogg's tune from day one (or rather, day four). As for the Activity bit, it is recommended that from birth to three months your baby is given 45 minutes entertainment time. i quickly realised that a newborn does not have the capacity for 45 minutes entertainment, and even now my daughter cannot entertain herself that easily, and i can only do so much to keep her so. What the book fails to mention is that your young baby might wish to spend her time crying as a past time! As for the Sleep part, Hogg blithely talks about putting your baby down for the night and seems to imply that a little reassuring pat and a rub was is all it takes to quieten your infant. Sorry, but no matter how many times you say, "Goodnight Mr Moonpenny" while drawing he curtains at dusk, my experience of putting my baby to sleep is far harder than Hogg makes out, and she seems to discredit all the 'tried and tested' recommended routes to pave the way for sleep such as cuddling, feeding, rocking and singing. Try as i could to find some decent tips for pacifying a SCREAMING baby once put down in the cot all Hogg recommends is a pat and a few reassuring actions, NONE OF WHICH WORKED... AND AT FIVE IN THE MORNING I NEARLY THREW THIS BOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW!!!
Also, there is too much reliance in here on using a dummy. I am not against using one but my daughter refuses point blank to take one, something Hogg doesn't take into account on several occasions.
Anyway, I have given this book three stars. For a start, some excellent guidelines for why my baby is crying, although not easy to make out at first, i think i'm starting to make progress here. Secondly, the recommendation to get your baby on a bottle by three weeks (ours is given a half bottle at the end of the day in order that i might have some freedom during the six months i plan to breastfeed) plus while her writing style can be a little condescending, it is clear, easy to read and entertaining. On many occasions she offers impartial advice such as in the section on the breastfeeeding/formula dilema plus some good breastfeeding advice such as single-side feeding (although i have yet to meet a midwife in the UK who DOESN'T advocte this - beware the Americanisms in this book!).
Overall, i think you need to take some of this book with a pinch of salt. I recommend it for its many strengths but on several occasions it's just too idealistic and leaves you feeling demoralised when your baby doesn't seem to want to click in to the E.A.S.Y routine as quickly or simply as Hogg makes out. I will continue to read this book and hope that maybe by 3 months or so things are easier and more structured, after all it's early days yet!
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on 12 October 2015
Cannot speak highly enough of this book. I implemented many of the techniques and from 4 months old my son slept through the night (7 to 7). There have been times when sleeping has been off course due to teething, illness, developmental milestone but I kept persisting with the structure in the book and he is now over a year old and we've not had any issues with his sleep. He is confident and happy when we put him down to sleep and of not immediately tired entertains himself until he drops off to sleep. Is also comfortable to entertain himself in the morning if he wakes early. This book was great as it does not advocate controlled crying which I was uncomfortable with but does give you confidence on how to put in place structure and teach baby to self-soothe. Only negative I would say is that at times I wanted something a lot more instructive on timings for naps etc and found the Gina ford book a good accompaniment. I found Gina's timetable very rigid and didn't work for us but gives a good indication of general timings to follow. I liked the philosophy of this book much better though.
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2006
There's some really good stuff in this book.

Hogg recommends taking time to learn your baby's body language and understand what they want (I couldn't understand why anyone might need to be told to do this until I attended a post natal group and saw mothers plugging their baby's mouth with a tit every time they made a noise).

EASY is a good way of structuring your day when you're a first time mother without much of a clue. But, but, but - I have never cracked naps despite religiously following Tracy's advice and a blissful 3 weeks of baby sleeping through the night turned out to be the ONLY time she did this. Baby has developed a dependence on dummies through following Tracy's technique for getting her to sleep even though I have been very careful NOT to over-use them.

I didn't find the baby classification too helpful - seems to be a bit early to be labelling the poor little mites.

I've read a lot of baby books, from Gina Ford to Sears, which pretty much encompasses both extremes. Tracy's not as rigid as Gina and a lot more humane but there is still a emphasis on getting baby to fit with your life and if you don't manage to train them into whatever the recommended structure is, then you're culpable. What I like about Sears is that he acknowledges that babies turn your life upside down, you can't train them like a labrador, sometimes the techniques don't work and it's NOT YOUR FAULT. Sometimes you have to do what it takes (bring baby into bed, demand feed etc) and remember that it's not going to be forever and it's OK!
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on 18 June 2008
I bought this book, hoping to help me with my daughters sleeping, and routine. Instead it made me feel like the worst mother ever. I was trying to do things with her, that made no sense, kept trying to make her sleep all the time, when she shouldn't have been. Such a terrible book, don't buy it, it will confuse you, and make you feel rubbish!!!!!
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on 10 December 2003
This is written with both love and common-sense by a former paediatric nurse and mother of two. It is packed with tips and advice on all aspects of caring for a baby, including excellent stuff on how to "read" your baby's signals. Like most first time mums I associated crying with hunger every time until I read this book - now I am much more adept at reading body language and identifying when my daughter is tired/bored/hungry. Rather than put your baby in a regimented routine a la Gina Ford, Tracy Hogg suggests a flexible "eat-activity-sleep" pattern (the "EASY routine") which can vary in length and the cycles don't have to start or end at any particular time. It certainly works for me and my daughter, who is a very chilled-out baby indeed! The text is written in a non-patronising, and non-judgemental manner by someone who has had their own children and cared for many others. The only minor criticism I have is that some of the language is a little "Americanised" as Tracy worked in America for several years. However, don't let that put you off, this is an invaluable guide for first time mums so buy this and consign Gina and her draconian routine to the dustbin once and for all!!
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on 30 September 2007
I bought about six baby books when I was pregnant as I really felt that I didn't have a clue about a babies needs. I found that this book was a real common sense lifesaver for a new mum. I fully agreed with the idea that you are the parent both listening to and guiding your baby. The section on interpreting your babys body language and cries was fab and allowed me from the start to begin to interpret my babys needs, and not just assume he wanted feeding (which I think I would have done without it!). She also writes about talking to your baby and respecting them, explaining everything you are doing.

She writes about the apparent contradiction of all babies being individual but that they have similar needs for love, food, enough sleep and play.

The book explained lots of things. The part on just how much sleep and little play a newborn needs was really illuminating, and about watching your baby carefully for signs of tiredness. The section on calming an overtired baby is also great for when you miss your babies tired cues.

Also the advice on breastfeeding was fab, about the need when your milk comes in to gently encourage your baby to feed well, by staying on the same breast long enough to get the rich hind milk that comes in after the first ten minutes. When my baby fed, he fell asleep after about five minutes, so I followed what Tracy suggested, gently stroking his cheek so that he woke enough to feed a bit more. This in turn meant that he fed well, gained weight and slept well, and I had a good supply.

I would recommend it to all new mums as the sensible middle ground between prescriptive routines led by the clock not your baby and the chaotic following whatever you think your baby demands, which often results in misinterpreting all cries for hunger.

Everyone says that my little boy is so happy, I think its because this book helped me interpret and anticipate his needs, and also gently guide him into sensible sleeping and eating habits.
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on 26 March 2015
If you want a way to get your baby happily sleeping well without leaving them to cry alone for a single minute then this is the book for you!
In this book, which is the first of the Baby Whisperer series, Tracy Hogg teaches parents how to gently teach baby to happily fall asleep in his/her own cot. The EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-time) routine really works and makes it easier to know if baby is hungry or getting tired and needing a sleep. There is a fab little quiz to determine baby's personality type with tips on how best to care for the different types.
I have now used the Pick Up Put Down and Shush-Pat methods in this book (as well as the Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems and Baby Whisperer for Toddlers books) with all three of my babies and the approach works so well. I love that the routine is flexible and not a timed schedule like some other popular books advocate so you can fit the routine to your baby instead of trying to fit baby into what a book says he should be doing.
The breastfeeding info needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as unfortunately since the author passed on in 2004 she has been unable to update it in light of more recent research on breastmilk. But she does say her routines are just examples and you should take your cues from the little one and must always feed a hungry baby so you can't really go wrong if you stick by that advice! I exclusively breastfed all my babies full term alongside babywhispering so the two are definitely compatible.
I'm also a big fan of the BabyWhispererForums.com website which the author set up for like-minded parents to support each other in using her methods. It has a tonne of supporting information, including how to make breastfeeding and the EASY routine work together, and a great little community of parents who help posters, new and old, use the Baby Whisperer techniques and apply them to real life.
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Tracy Hogg is a Brit writing for an American audience and it's surprising what a difference this makes compared to some of the other baby advice books we've read so far- and not just from the liberal and slightly irritating use of "luv" to make Americans think of loveable Daphne from "Frasier".

On the plus side, it's mostly warm and reassuring. Encouraging a common sense to communicating with your baby, remaining calm and remembering that crying is the only language it's got is essential advice and the key point of this book. Tips and advice for caring and balanced parenting make this book worth reading. It's written in a light-hearted style (though not actually funny) that you could dip into inbetween baby feeds for some quick suggestions even if you haven't got time to read all 300 pages in one go.

On the down side, it's quite unscientific in parts and not all the advice will work. The decision to categorise babies into five types (Angel, Grumpy, Spirited, Textbook, or Touchy) is a bit idealistic and restrictive, as is some of the 'three day plan' stuff which claims that most behaviours can be retrained within 72 hours, which a lot of successful new parents will have to disagree with. Furthermore, for a British audience some of the advice regarding formula milk, home help and more is not quite accurate in this country, though not in a particularly dangerous way.

So overall this is a really worthwhile read and should definitely be on any new parent's or parent-to-be's bookshelf, albeit with a couple of reservations.
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on 17 September 2009
I would definitely recommend this book. There are two pages in it with a really useful, practical table of how to interpret your baby's body language, and as a first time mum, this was completely invaluable. I would have been worth 10x the price just for these pages. In terms of the routine, as with anything, you can't expect miracles, and i think its worth being flexible - an attitude that the author herself advocates. Also bear in mind that it will take time - you wouldn't expect an adult to suddenly slot into a routine on day 1, so its a bit much to expect that of a baby. But having said that, I read this book a week ago, and so far my six week old has slept through the night twice (i really wouldn't have predicted that a week ago, when the longest he had slept was 4 hours at a stretch) and has really taken to his daytime naps, which means that in a week i have gone from not even having time for a shower, to having 4 whole spare hours in the day to get stuff done. The difference with this book is that she teaches you how to understand early signals of tiredness/hunger/pain - before i couldn't put him down for a nap because i wasn't really catching his tired signals early enough, so by the time i knew he was tired, he was already overtired and unable to sleep. She also advocates communicating with your baby - explaining what you're doing and treating him/her essentially as if she can understand you. Of course the baby cant understand the words you're saying, but my little one responds really really well to this and he's very much calmer and more smiley. This book really has been brilliant for me and my baby.
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on 29 August 2009
I was really impressed by the tone of this book - Tracey comes across as an experienced pal rather than a dictatorial know it all, (not mentioning any names) which makes this book much more accessible. Its recommendations whilst at times a little contrived, fundamentally make sense and in theory you can see how sticking to them should make for a calmer family life - obviously the practical reality of following her words will NEVER be as straightforward as the ink on on the page - unless you are very lucky! However, I find the book to be very realistic, generally impartial (on issues such as breast vs bottle) and should appeal to different types of women. Building a relationship with your baby is a key message, as is respecting babies as little human beings rather than just 'the baby', which is very easy to do after a few nights of sleep deprivation! The book contains some very practical advice too - I especially like the section on reading baby body language - which I have found to be VERY useful. You're deluded if you think this book will somehow turn you into a perfect baby nurse overnight, but what it will do is give you the benefit of a acomplished baby nurses' experience. The 'routine' suggestions are less rigid than most, but more importantly I feel this books helps the reader to achieve the right frame of mind for looking after your baby - rather than the right 'level of control'. After all, it's your marbles you feel like you may be losing when things get tough, so some insight can make for reassuring reading. If you only buy one baby book, you could do a lot worse than this one.
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