Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

I recently read "The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg. I thought I'd give my feedback on the book, for those of you who are interested.

The book seemed to take a middle ground between what's known as "Attachment Parenting" and "BabyWise". She seems to take some ideas from each philosophy and tries to create a happy balance. AP (Attachment Parenting) is about following the baby's leading, taking advantage of every opportunity to hold your child and keep him happy, often feeding more than is necessary (according to Ezzo and Hogg). Babywise comes across as more rigid, although it tries to claim the middle ground. Babywise advocates a schedule, while although it can be flexible, the book still proclaims how important it is not to deviate from the schedule. Hogg is for a routine, but not a schedule, she's against co-sleeping (same as Ezzo) and is very clear that we should treat babies as people: with respect, something that isn't hit home as hard in either AP or Ezzo's theories.

Hogg has an acronym she uses for the parents schedule: E.A.S.Y. Eat. Activity. Sleep. You. This is very simular to Ezzo's concept, although less rigid. Eat: Feed the baby, make sure he gets full. Activity: Change his diaper, play with him, bathe him, etc., etc. Sleep: Nap time for baby. You: now take care of you: recharge. The cycle should repeat itself every 2 1/2 - 3 hours. I've found with Steven that this type of routine is beneficial for us both.

Hogg uses another acronym for how to respond to your baby's cries. Here she takes an obvious middle ground between Ezzo's cry-it-out (he says it's fine for babies to cry even up to 45 minutes when trying to fall asleep) and AP's don't-let-them-cry (often feeding the baby any time they start to cry, regardless of when they were last fed). Her acronym is S.L.O.W. S:Slow Down. L:Listen. O:Observe. W:(I think it was) Other Ways to Evaluate. Slow Down: According to Hogg, too many parents hear their baby cry and immediately start feeding him. She says to slow down for a minute. Listen: Take a minute to really listen to your baby. Hogg is very against letting them cry-it-out, but she insists upon taking a minute to listen, is this a hunger cry? a pain cry? a tired cry? because baby's cries are different. Observe: Observe your child's behavior and body language. Is he rubbing his eyes? yawning? rooting? sucking his fingers? Other Ways to Evaluate: Because you're following E.A.S.Y., you'll know how long it's been since he's eaten and about how long until he'll be hungry again, you'll know when he last napped and about when he should be ready for another one, etc. You can use this to pinpoint why your baby's crying. Then respond and meet that need.

Hogg is just as against co-sleeping as is Ezzo, and for the same stated reasons, as it creates unhealthy sleep patterns, they say. Personally, I can see that if you train a baby to sleep with you at night, then that is what he will come to expect. Same with if you train him to sleep alone: he will come to expect that. I think there is a lot to say on either side of the issue, but a lot depends upon parent's preference. And every single thing we do with our baby is just that: training. Hogg does a good job of giving parents perspective in this regard. She has a saying: Start as you plan to go on, or something to that effect.

Overall, Tracy uses common sense when it comes to dealing with babies: treat them as people. In my opinion, she takes it a little far when she says you need to ask your baby permission to enter into their "circle", but basically she has good, common-sense ideas for interacting with your baby.

1 comment:

Martha said...

Hi Crystal!

This is Martha Klaver, a lurker on your blog. :D I've been reading it for quite awhile and enjoying it. I haven't met you (I don't think), but I'm Terry's wife who's Sven's old friend so that's the connection.

Anyway, I just want to let you know that I think this book has been the MOST HELPFUL parenting book I read. I know it has a couple wacky statements (the other was about how grumpy babies are "old souls"), but for the most part it's quite common-sense and it really helped me transition into motherhood.

My other two fave books have been Breastfeeding with Confidence by Sue Cox and Infant Potty Training by Laurie Boucke. And yes, I've also been ECing with our Julia since she was born on May 5. I also had a natural birth at a local birth centre which was a very positive experience. All in all I think we have a lot in common as mothers. :D

Keep up the blogging. On our blog, we don't talk about the different parenting things too much - I've been a bit lazy and we have a fairly wide audience so I don't want to get too graphic for them. haha. But anyway I love the EC journey with Julia. Hope you continue to enjoy the connection with your little Steven. :)