Customer Reviews: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby
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on May 20, 2004
My sister-in-law, who is a phenomenal mom, recommended the book so I bought it when my daughter was 10 weeks old. I'm a certified behavior therapist so I can tell you that everything in the book if used systematically and consistently will, eventually, work for all animals as the principles have been scientifically proven for about a century. That having been said, just because we CAN teach someone to do something doesn't mean we SHOULD. There are, I feel, ethical implications involved in denying a baby food, love, and attention when they need it. I can teach my daughter not to cry in the middle of the night when she's hungry but what has she learned in the process? Not to tell me when she's hungry because I won't attend to her needs when she does tell me. Not exactly the kind of introduction to the world I want for my children.
There are responsible books out there which help parents cope when exhaustion and frustration set in, this just isn't one of them. There are no easy answers to the upheavel a baby brings, but trying to change a baby to fit a pre-baby lifestyle seems short-sighted to me.
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on October 29, 2005
I would not recommend this book. Her "sensible sleep" philosophy claims to be a gentler approach to the cry-it-out method of teaching your baby to fall asleep on her own. You are allowed to comfort your baby when she cries but only to the point of comfort and must place her back in her crib to work it out on her own. If she cries again you pick her up again. The author claims to have had to do this picking up and putting down over a hundred times in one night with some babies.

I was desperate for a solution to my daughter's sleep issues and tried this method. Besides nearly breaking my back with all the picking up and putting down it taught my daughter that to stay in my arms all she had to do was to non-stop cry! She was inconsolible b/c she knew if she stopped she would end up in her crib.

I would have preferred to just let her cry it out if it was going to strip my ability to soothe her. It would have been less traumatic. Plus when she finally fell asleep she would wake every hour to find herself in her crib and do guess what?...That's right...cry! A total nightmare.

Also her views on breastfeeding are a bit uninformed (she claims it's just a trend on pg. 96) and a lot of her advice is common sense. Don't bother. Your instincts are a better guide.
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on February 10, 2001
At first I thought I would love this book. Someone who talked about respecting our precious babies! Tracy does have good ideas and some good theories.
However I was disappointed in the lack of good feeding information. I have read just about everything on breastfeeding and have begun to see some trends in factual information, unfortunately this book does not have that kind of information.
An example of outdated breastfeeding information: ((Page 105) First day [breastfed] whenever baby wants 5 minutes on each side Second day every 2 hours 10 minutes on each side Third day every 2 hours 15 minutes on each side Fourth day every 2 to 3 hours - 40 minutes maximum)
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a statement on breastfeeding that states just the opposite. Saying that newborn infants should breastfeed unrestricted and on-request during the first days of life (not an exact quote).
I also spoke to an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant(IBCLC) about this structured feeding technique. She said that not only is it unnecessary but it also teaches mom to read the clock not the baby. Also it can interfere with the initiation of the mothers milk supply to restrict early feedings.
I am just wondering how Ms. Hogg can know more than the 34,000 Pediatrician of the AAP or the members of the IBCLC?
Please read this book with a grain of salt!
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on June 6, 2007
I read this book when I was pregnant with my first child and I wonder if it did more harm than good. The book is filled with useful advice for new parents, but it caused me a *lot* of stress because my daughter simply did not fit into any of Tracy's categories and would not conform to EASY no matter how hard I tried. I ended up being very frustrated because Tracy made it sound like it should all be so easy, but it was not in our case! My daughter was simply a "high maintenance" baby until about 9-12 months of age, when she became a sweet toddler.

After reading numerous other books, especially about fussiness and sleeping, by authors like Sears, Ferber, Weissbluth, and Mindell, I realized that any baby book is mostly someone's best opinion. If you read enough, you will find advice given by any one of these "experts" which contradicts with at least one other author. So whom do you believe? Ultimately you can try many different suggestions and find what works best for you. With my second child I am a lot more relaxed, knowing that I can follow my own intuition and not try to conform him to a method or book. I also now realize that babies go through stages all the time, and just when you think you have a certain area taken care of, they progress into something new.

I think baby books are good in giving new parents principles, but in the end, trust your own instincts and listen to your baby, rather than trying to fit the baby into a box. Probably Tracy's best advice in this book is at the end, when she reminds parents that the baby stage is just a "blip" on the radar screen of life. This is so true--enjoy your baby as much as you can instead of stressing over perfect parenting, because that stage is over so quickly!
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on February 10, 2001
This book is an updated rehash of pre-Spock baby care manuals. The information on breastfeeding is simply and totally medically inaccurate and Ms. Hogg's insistence that infants under one year need to be trained out of their bad habits is most disturbing.
The author believes that all baby parenting fits in cute acronyms (E.A.S.Y. and S.L.O.W.) and formulae. This is going to cause a lot of new parents guilt and grief.
My suspicion is that someone cooked up this extremely clever title (playing on the hot "Horse Whisperer" book, movie, and concept) and then built a book around it.
Great title. Terrible book. Remember, PARENTS are their babies' "whisperers." They know their babies best.
Katie Allison Granju
Author, "Attachment Parenting:Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child" and mother of three young children
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on February 8, 2001
We bought this book because we saw Tracy Hogg on Dateline NBC and I really fell for it. Of course every parent wants their baby to be happy, understand them better and meet their needs. I thought this book would provide some "Secret" but I was sorely disappointed. I don't think that most parents will be able to "fix" their child in 3 days as she claims.
This book makes you feel if you have not followed her advice from day 1, you've already ingrained bad habits in your child through "Accidental Parenting" and that now you have to undo all your negative reinforcements. Reading this book was not exactly great for my self-esteem because according to Tracy we have been doing everything wrong for 6 weeks, like demand feeding and rocking our baby to calm her. We bought all the things she said were "bad" for your child, like the bouncy seat and swing. I feel that some of these "props," as she calls them, do work for many parents and shouldn't be completely banned.
I think you need to really think about her advice and whether it can apply to your child. It's not a bad book, but I think you need to take it in context with other parenting books and take just the bits that work for you.
Just a note -- the audio tape is murder. We bought both the book and the tape, and if you think "luv" gets old in the book, just listen to her say it numerous times in the tape! I actually had to turn the tape off because her voice and accent were getting too annoying.
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on August 19, 2006
I am very surprised at the spotlight reviewers who had trouble with this book. As a mom of a 3yr old, a 2yr old, a 1yr old, and one more on the way, I have to say that Tracy Hogg's book is the best one on newborns in my library. It is a refreshing middle-of-the-road read, somewhere between the 1920s way of authority-centered parenting and the 2000s way of child-centered or attachment parenting. She really recommends a balance between both--VERY difficult to find in a normal American baby book these days--where both mom and baby have their unique needs met at this tender time.

Specifically, Hogg recommends not letting your baby cry it out or go hungry, but not to assume that all cries mean hunger. From experience, you soon find out that nursing or sticking a bottle in a crying infant's mouth works well only for mall trips and doctor's offices. There is much more to raising a baby and beginning a relationship than feeding.

Hogg does NOT give breastfeeding the short thrift--she simply focuses on trying to lift the guilt burden which is placed on most American mothers these days. Her book is not a lactation consultant lesson.

Hogg also gives great advice on how to get your baby to nap and sleep at night, again taking the middle-of-the-road approach between not letting a child cry it out but not accepting it as normal either (and rearranging your life permanently in order to pacify your baby-toddler-preschooler through the night). After four straight years of baby-raising, and talking with many many mothers on the subject, I can say that any parent who does not welcome this straight-forward type of advice if they are having trouble in this area--any mother who considers helping their child nap and sleep well in their crib to be "cruel" or "demanding"--is way off target. No psychological damage will be done if Hogg's advice is followed... in fact, some sanity may be reclaimed!

Her input on baby personality types is great. Helpful, if not perfect, especially in retrospect.

And yet the one thing I agree that could have been addressed better is the discussion of the earliest newborn days. After nursing three tiny ones of my own and adopting a more parent-centered approach to their young years, I still find that the first week or two of having a new infant is up for grabs. There should be no pressure to begin a routine until mom feels capable and perceives the baby to be ready. Obviously one can be started, but I think it is worth strongly mentioning in a newborn book that some parents find the transition to bringing their little one to be very difficult--for any number of reasons, including just normal recovery. And the implementation (or not) of a routine does not affect the baby much in those first days.

Overall, however, I find Hogg's book to be so much more encouraging than Sears, Ezzo, or even the AAP's book on the first year. She's upbeat and experienced, and so common sensical that it is difficult to believe that there have been so many complaints on this site. Read it with relief.
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on February 9, 2001
New moms and dads, beware! This popular book (author is currently making the rounds of TV and radio) is in the "read this book and fix everything" category. It's simplistic, and does real harm to those who want to respond to their babies in the most loving, natural ways. Babies come with pretty clear signals, and moms come with the equipment to feed and nurture them. We just have to feel empowered to do so, a response which the author interferes with through schedules, categories, and an overall focus on adults rather than babies. Take a look at Meredith Small's "Our Babies, Ourselves" for a parenting style which takes into account the needs of babies for a close, "entwined" relationship with their caregivers. Its far more helpful for anyone who truly wants to know what their baby is telling them.
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on September 9, 2002
I agree with a lot of the previous reviews in that this EASY system is more difficult to implement before 2 months of age because newborns like to sleep after fedding. At about 1.5 - 2 months, my baby (textbook/spirited - halfway between both according to Tracy's test) naturally woke up after feedings. This book has pro's and cons:
EASY / Start as you mean to go on - try to do this in the first months to AVOID later problems with sleep especially, but don't get too freaked out if it doesn't work in the beginning.
SLOW - some very good advice about reading cues. Again, this came in handy AFTER the newborn stage.
Breastfeeding advice - I don't know too many lactation experts who would agree with a lot of Tracy's theories, especially single side feeding. Following her advice may lead to supply problems for some women.
Lack of enjoyment - Sometimes it's ok to let the baby fall asleep on your chest or nurse her to sleep. I think her method can stress out new mothers and not allow them to enjoy bonding with the baby. Independance is important but so is bonding. Trust your instincts!
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on November 26, 2002
As a curious new mom of a now 7 month-old, I have read through my share of books on infant care. This is the only one I ended up throwing away because I didn't want anybody else to have to read it. The author has some very bizarre ideas on caring for an infant, most of which are based on her own strong personal opinions instead of medical knowledge. The tone is a little pushy and high-handed - and don't be fooled by her claims that this method "respects" your baby. The theories in this book are adult-centered, go against your instincts, and basically put an emphasis on gently breaking your baby's will from as young an age as possible. If your infant doesn't fall into the routine, the book makes you feel like you just don't know what you're doing. I also think the author is dangerously unclear about the age to begin implementing her practices of denying feedings, etc. This sort of advice can hurt young infants who really do need to eat almost all the time in order to thrive!
Another important note is that this author is not very positive about breastfeeding and offers some stange points of view about it that counteract the advice of the AAP and breastfeeding experts. Yet at the same time, she tries to tell you how to do it. Her advice is not very accurate/helpful for maintaining a good milk supply, gaining breastfeeding confidence, and working with your baby. This book probably left me more concerned and confused about the breastfeeding than about anything else.
I definitely do NOT recommend this book to anyone, especially in the early weeks. You can certainly have a workable routine and structure to your day when baby is older, but not like this and not so young!
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