345 of 374 people found the following review helpful
A Breath of Fresh Air
, February 14, 2002
This review is from: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby (Paperback)
As first time parents, my wife and I were both frustrated and overwhelmed by the conflicting advice that we received even before our daughter was released from the hospital.
In between the feedings and diaper changes during the first few days at home, I read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, which was given to us by a family friend. Finally, there was a sane voice of experience that helped us to find our own way.
Some of the important points of this book:
1. It is normal to feel overwhelmed.
2. Every baby has a unique personality. While Tracy Hogg's categories may be somewhat oversimplified, she does offer a means of identifying your baby's personality so that you may better handle certain situations. No single approach will work with every baby, because they are all different.
3. You are not evil if you choose not to breast feed. This seems to be the subject of most of the negative reviews on this site, which is unfortunate. However, the author does not advocate either breast or formula feeding, she merely presents the pros and cons of each in a balanced manner, and provides reassurance that whatever method you choose, it is your choice to make, and there is no wrong decision.
4. One of the best pieces of advice: follow a structured routine. "EASY": Eat, Activity, Sleep, time for Yourself. This is another area that seems to have drawn criticism from fellow ... reviewers. "EASY" is presented as an alternative to feeding on demand and scheduled feeding. Actually, it is not as much an alternative as it is a combination of the two.
--> Following a set schedule is often impractical, as we found out ourselves while our daughter was still in the hospital. There, feeding took place every three hours, and at the same times. Most of the feedings went well, but at times, it seemed as though we were were force-feeding the poor kid, and it was implied that we were somehow bad parents if she did not finish the prescribed amount. Once we got home, we were able to be more flexible with the feeding times, which is exactly what EASY suggests.
--> What EASY suggests is following a prescribed routine. Eating is followed by activity, and the activity is followed by sleep. And while the baby sleeps, you have time for yourself. The structure is etched in stone, but the times are not. Who will not agree that flexibility is good? And having the structure will help you interpret your baby's cries and decrease the miscues (for example, trying to feed the baby when the baby is actually overstimulated, or over-tired).
5. The author provides guidelines for interpreting your baby's crying.
6. The author also explains how bad habits start and suggests methods for undoing bad habits. For example: allowing the baby to fall asleep on your chest may lead to the baby needing your chest to fall asleep....
7. Babies need to become independent. This means not rushing to the crib everytime they start to fuss. Babies need to learn to self-soothe and often will go back to sleep.
As with any book of this type, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is not perfect, and there is some content that I do not necessarily agree with. But that's okay. The author is writing from personal experience, of which she has a lot. You will not find a whole lot of her advice to be in the vein of "studies have shown..." but rather "what I have learned...."
The style in which the book is written is also refreshingly down-to-earth. She speaks to the reader in a friendly voice that is neither condescending nor inaccessible.
Is this book worthy of addition to your bookshelf? Absolutely. I highly recommend it. Read it once, and you'll refer to it again and again.
The best advice that I can personally give anyone who is a new parent is this: TRUST YOUR OWN INSTINCTS. You will hear and read a lot of conflicting advice, none of which is perfect. You will have to find out what works best for you and your baby. No book can do that for you. Where Secrets of the Baby Whisperer succeeded the most for me was giving me the level of confidence to trust my own instincts, while providing some useful guidelines and advice.
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