Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracy Hogg

Baby books are so alluring to me: they often purport to have the answer to solving all of your baby’s sleeping or eating or crying problems. What new mom doesn’t want to have all the answers? So, I arm myself with as many theories as I can hold, but all the time I’m wondering: Do these people really know what they are talking about?

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Hogg’s book clearly is promoting this image. Anything that claims to tell you about “secrets” surely wants you to think that they have all the answers. I have found a lot of interesting ideas in this book, but I don’t know if Tracy Hogg has cornered the market by having all the secrets to baby care in her possession.

Things I liked:

  • Hogg starts off by telling parents to respect their baby by talking to her, introducing her to new people and activities, and letting her know what is going on. I like the idea of treating your baby like an actual human, as if they can understand you.
  • She recommends separating food from sleep in a pattern she describes with the acronym EASY (eat, activity, sleep, your time). Other books recommend this too, but this was the first book I had encountered it. She describes this as a “predictable routine” as opposed to a rigid, timed schedule.
  • She explains that babies sometimes cry for reasons other than hunger or a dirty diaper, and she gives a list of physical cues you can look for in your baby to identify these. It makes sense to me that babies would sometimes cry when they become overstimulated — I do this myself sometimes! And I like having ideas of how to soothe a baby in this state.
  • She encourages new moms to have a big nap from 2-5pm everyday or three 1-hour naps in the first 6 weeks. I am all about getting some sleep, and I love having an idea of how I’ll get it once baby comes!

Things I didn’t like:

  • Hogg is always calling us “luv“ and “ducky,” apparently in an attempt to communicate her British heritage. But it seems gimmicky.
  • She seems to think she has all the answers. But does she? Probably not.
  • She doesn’t really address co-sleeping, and especially as it reduces SIDS. Can you follow her sleep patterns while co-sleeping? (We recently purchased an ArmsReach co-sleeper and feel excited about using it.)
  • While she is very supportive of breastfeeding, she gives a lot of reasons why it might not work — which could backfire if a woman really wants to breastfeed but is just having some troubles due to lack of support and unexpected challenges.
  • She assumes that parents should start helping a baby to be independent right away by teaching them to fall asleep on their own, but this is so arbitrary! Why not wait a few weeks or months to help the newborn adjust to our unpredictable world? She even says no one can answer this question, but she chooses to start at birth.
  • The subtitle has a grammatical error. (Can you find it?)

Again, I’m so curious to see what works with our baby! I hope she doesn’t mind being our guinea pig. We’ll just explain everything we are doing to her and maybe that will bore her enough that she’ll just go to sleep. :)

Update: See some of my later thoughts about Why I Am Mad at Tracy Hogg.


Considered in this review: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau.

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