When I was pregnant, I really enjoyed reading The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. (You can read my earlier review here.) I thought she sounded like a very reasonable person. Now, I am mad at her (even though she’s dead).
Not to talk about baby sleep again, but it does consume a lot of my coherent thinking ability these days. The other day, it dawned on me that most of my stress about Lucy’s sleeping comes from Hogg’s writings. She entreats parents to “start as you mean to go on” — sound advice, except when you are talking about newborns. She has so many stories of parents who found themselves entrenched in unhelpful patterns of “accidental parenting,” and I didn’t want to find myself echoing their mistakes.
Her recommendation for newborns is to “shush-pat” them to sleep. This method actually works sometimes if Lucy is already asleep but then wakes up when I put her in her crib. But I just have no idea how it is possible for me to put my baby in a crib in a “sleepy but awake” state and expect her to not start screaming.
Other books seem to recognize that infants younger than three or four months old need lots of help falling asleep. I was comforted by this sound piece of advice from Heading Home with Your Newborn, by Laura A. Jana and Jennifer Shu:
In case you hadn’t noticed, let us point out that most of the “don’t rely on sleep aids to get your baby to sleep” advice is usually meant for babies as they approach 4 months of age. Instead, we suggest you avoid wasting your time worrying about whether you are doing yourself and your newborn a great disservice by occasionally allowing her to fall asleep cradled in your arms, snuggled up on your chest, or in the back of your car secured in her car seat instead of her crib and just do it (“it” being whatever you need to do, within reason, to get you both some rest) (99-100).
It is nice to have a book say what I am thinking already. :)
To be fair, lots of Baby Whisperer tips seem very useful and practical for the future. Even her idea of being on a “flexible routine” seems to be working for us, although Lucy’s napping patterns might not pass Hogg’s test. I’ve always liked her philosophy of looking at things from the baby’s point of view, talking to the baby as if she is a real human, letting her know when you are going to pick her up, etc.
I don’t like to feel like I’m not doing it quite right. So, I’m just a little mad at Tracy Hogg today. I’m sorry she died young, but I’m still mad at her right now.