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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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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 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 17 July 2005
This is a great book for new mums - very positive, reassuring and helpful, but also compulsive reading! Tracy Hogg's compassionate approach to crying babies and their concerned mums is a breath of fresh air after all the rhetoric of controlled crying. I didn't believe it was right to leave my baby to cry - even for a short time - and this book gave me the confidence to parent the way I wanted to without feeling neurotic and, importantly, whilst knowing I was in fact creating a bond of trust.
By detailing the various baby types (my first was an Angel but my second was definitely Spirited!) and how best to handle them, Tracy Hogg restores a feeling of control to frazzled parents.
The E.A.S.Y. parenting schedule gives baby the routine she requires whilst not imposing an inflexible system on the mother... you watch the baby, not the clock! But it's not all about the structure, it's about 'tuning in' to your individual baby's needs and identifying the signs of hunger, boredom, tiredness et al before the crying starts. Forget Gina Ford... this lady loves babies and it shows.
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on 10 December 2003
The problem that I have found with most baby care books is that they are generally a bit too extremist. It's either strict routines, and leaving your baby to cry for ages or its no structure, they are King and you should fit in around them, even if this means you carrying them around all day long, and feeding them several times a night.
This book is different, it is a middle of the road, sensible approach to looking after a baby. It involves a pattern rather than a fixed routine, and encourages you to get to know what your baby wants by listening to their cries and watching their body language. It seeks to put you in control of your childs care, in such a way that meets all your childs needs, but in a way that means both of you know what is going on.
It helps you to look at your child as an individual and get to know their character. It countains tips for getting them to sleep through the night early without requiring controlled crying.
I would recommend this book above all other baby care books that I have read. It really is incredibly useful.
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on 21 March 2001
This book has received a lot of good press, and once you've read it it's easy to see why. Tracy Hogg offers some good practical advice for new parents. The main message the author seems to be pushing in this book is really use your common sense. You might think that new parents don't need to be told this, but trust me - as a new parent - common sense can be one of the first things to go out the window in those first few sleep deprived months. I found the author's views about getting the baby to learn how to fall asleep on its own particularly useful. I had read so many other conflicting views about how to do this (from leaving the poor little mite to scream himself until he is blue in the face, to bringing the new addition into bed) and Tracey Hogg's advice has been, for me, by far the most reasonable.
I would definitely recommend that a new parent allocate a little of their precious spare time to reading this. It does help get things into perspective!
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on 26 July 2002
I had heard that this was a good book to find out how to get your baby to sleep through the night, but it really isn't about sleep at all - just a few pages. As a mother of three, much of the rest was common sense, although sometimes too much so: very much the author's opinions (not always meshing with mine). I don't like that she presents herself as against breastfeeding, having choice is good but discounting science (which she does repeatedly) to justify choice is not. If you are looking for a book on SLEEP though, try The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
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on 9 October 2005
This book is roughly 20% useful, 20% rubbish, and 60% fluff. The advice here is useful, occasionally a little too prescriptive (although compared to many books, this is quite relaxed), but padded out with far too much waffle.
It can be summed up as follows: give your baby some activity after a feed, and they'll sleep longer.
But that, of course, isn't enough reason to buy a book, and so Hogg (or her cowriter) cleverly structures it into the 'E.A.S.Y.' system, with a chapter each devoted to eating, activity, sleeping and 'your time'. There are also Cosmo-style quizzes such as 'what type of baby do you have' (tip: skip to the descriptions and decide yourself), and other catchy acronyms.
This is all interspersed with brand-building stuff about her Yorkshire background and her Nan's wisdom, which I'm sure the Americans love but which grates very quickly.
But a quick scan-read will give you a number of helpful tips such as burping the baby *before* you feed as well as after; placing the new nappy underneath the old one when you're about to change it; and not trying too hard to stimulate your new baby with fancy toys (which actually overstimulate them and make them cry) when actually they're quite happy to stare at a piece of cardboard for half an hour, or, in my case it seems, gawp at my face while trying to keep their head from bumping into my chin.
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on 17 November 2003
I read this book when my son was 6 weeks old. He was suffering from colic, not sleeping at all during the day, Feeding constantly & crying lots. We had no natural routine at all and I was desperate.
I had also read the Contented baby book by Gina Ford at the same time and as many parents do found her to be too regimented.
Tracy Hoggs routine is flexible enough for every baby. We now have a casual routine that suits both of us.
The best bit about this book is it tells you how to read your baby. As a new parent I was misinterpreting his cries. He now feeds and sleeps at all the right times. He also only wakes once-twice in the night. He is 9 weeks.
The only down side is the book seems to tell you sometimes too much about what not to do and not enough detail on how to.
However I would recommend this book be bought by all new parents or expecting parents. I wish I had read this before my baby arrived we could have made the first 6 weeks much easier.
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on 2 May 2002
I have to disagree with the reviewer who said that this book recommends you go against your baby's nature, when the truth is quite different. Tracy Hogg's stance comes from love and respect for babies and gives parents (especially first-time parents like me!) a great start in understanding what wee ones want and need from their carers. She advocates giving children love, listening to what they say (even if that just means interpreting their cries) and suggests ways to make your baby feel secure and content. True, she doesn't recommend the 'three in a bed' approach, but neither does she suggest that you leave your baby to cry.
I bought this book when my daughter was three weeks old, my mother had gone home and my husband was back at work. Tracy gave me the kind reassurance I needed when I was feeling unsure and vulnerable, and lots of practical help and useful advice that I'm still following, months later. I recommend this book highly to any parent or care-giver!
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