As I sat in my hospital bed for 5 days recovering from an emergency c-section after the birth of my first born, I spent a lot of time reading through Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (or The Baby Whisperer as lots call it). I had taken it into the hospital with me thinking that I might find time to flip to some important bookmarked pages if I found time. The one thing that surprised me most during those first few days post birth, was the amount of time that I found myself with. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer got a good workout!
But, I will never forget my favorite midwife, commenting on my reading material. “You should be reading your baby, not a book love”.
She was right. There is no substitute to reading your baby. Your baby will tell you when they are hungry, when they are tired, when they are bored and when they just want to hang out with you. However, learning to read your baby is not easy. Just like when you first learned to read words and recognise the different letters, sounds they make and how to put them together into a meaningful word and then sentence, learning to read a baby is exactly the same.
After my second child was born, I don’t think I picked up Secrets of the Baby Whisperer once. I knew what I was looking for in his behaviour and temperament, and everything just worked. Sure he was different than my firstborn, but to use the reading analogy, because I already knew how to read, it wasn’t hard to learn how to read a different book.
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was my learn to read manual for my firstborn. It helped me remain calm, connect with my daughter and communicate with her. It taught me to respect her as a unique individual.
I took on certain parts more than others (I didn’t use any of the breastfeeding advice for example) and when I struggled with 45 minute catnaps and the EASY rhythym went out of wack, I just dropped it and did the best I could. (While I found EASY – Eat, Activity, Sleep, You a great foundation and overall routine to follow, when your baby only has a short sleep and they aren’t ready to start the cycle back at “Eat” again it tends to throw the routine out the window!) Because I had followed Tracy Hoggs advice on connecting with my baby I was able to discern what she needed, even if she wasn’t following the traditional Baby Whisperer pattern.
The Baby Whisperer Routine
Tracy Hogg is fairly clear in the beginning of her book that she doesn’t like schedules or sticking to the clock. She prefers a routine, which is a set series of events that can be repeated throughout the day. While Tracy doesn’t necessarily advocate attachment parenting, she doesn’t advocate strict schedules either. Tracy describes her style as somewhere in the middle ground.
Her overall guidance is that mom and baby thrives best when they follow a routine she calls EASY:
E = Eat
A = Activity
S = Sleep
Y = You
In the early days, the routine will repeat itself every 2-3 hours. But by four months of age, a baby will be on a 4 hour routine. (Lots of parents find that their 4 month old routine is still at 3 to 3 and a half hours long, and it can take up to 6 months, or even longer to reach a 4 hour routine).
The routine progresses this way until the 9 month old routine which usually includes a short 45 minute nap at around 9am in the morning followed by a longer sleep in the middle of the day. Eventually the morning sleep disappears.
Tracy Hogg does not include a lot of details regarding the actual timing of routines (although there is a short example towards the front of the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer book for illustration purposes only) as she believes each child is an individual and each family is different as well.
I can highly recommend reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and think you will be sure to find at least glimmer of good advice that will apply to your own baby, family and situation. As with all parenting books, everyone has a different parenting style and is going to relate to different advice. The thing I liked most about Tracy Hogg’s Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is her encouraging nature and words that empowered me as a parent to make my own parenting decisions.
Tracy Hogg has a number of books available as followups to her first “The Baby Whisperer” classic, which you can purchase from Amazon.
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is Tracy’s first book, and the best one to start with.
The Baby Whisperer Solves all your Problems goes into more detail than the first, and trouble shoots common problems that parents have asked her throughout her career. This is a definite ‘must have’ in my opinion. But make sure you’ve read the original first!
Sleep (which can also be bought from Amazon’s Kindle store – which means you can start read it straight away!) is a book that I haven’t read, but I’ve heard amazing things from those who have used it. If sleep is your main issue, I would highly recommend it.
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers might not be something for you right now, but don’t forget it for a few years time. I found her advice very practical and calming.