‘The Baby Whisperer’ is a New York Times Bestseller book written by Tracy Hogg, a British nurse who immigrated to the USA in 1992. Her first book, ‘Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How To Calm, Connect, and Communicate With Your Baby’, which she co-authored with Melinda Belau was published in 2001. It was her first book and went on to become a New York Times Bestseller.
The success of her first book inspired her to write, ‘Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for, a year later. It went on to become a national bestseller. In the summer of 2002, she collaborated with Discovery Heath in the UK, for ‘The Baby Whisperer’, a television series compilation of 15 episodes.
image source: www.barnesandnoble.com
In 2004, when she was diagnosed and being treated for cancer, Tracy and Melinda Blau teamed up again for, ‘The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems', her final book.
About Tracy Hogg
Tracy Hogg was born in August in 1960 in South Yorkshire in England. She was a nurse in St Catherine’s Hospital for the mentally handicapped where her experiences with children, inspired her to become an expert on child care.
At the height of her popularity, she was earning an amount of $15,000 for three weeks of services as a babysitter. Some of the celebrities who sought her aid were Hollywood A-Listers like Jamie Lee Curtis, Cindy Crawford, Michael J Fox, and Jodie Foster. Actress Calista Flockhart famously hired her for seven weeks when she adopted her newborn baby. Over a short span of time, she had cared for over five thousand babies.
She died of melanoma at the age of 44 in her hometown in England, on 25 November, 2004.
A mom talking to her baby.
Book of the Baby Whisperer
Tracy Hoggs book revealed to parents on how they could better understand their baby’s needs simply by talking to them. Dismissing her expertise in the book as just pragmatic tips to the newbie parent, she encouraged parents to talk to their baby as if they were conversing to another person.
Following her advice parents started transitioning into 'whisperers' to their babies. Tracy always reinstated that a crying baby is not necessarily a hungry one.
Through the book, she has given invaluable insights on how to read a baby to tell if she’s tired, hungry or in distress. Often, they just require some TLC.
Through the acronyms EASY and SLOW she gave simple programs through which a baby be calmed.
- EASY- 'E' stands for eating, 'A' for activity, 'S' a sleeping schedule for the baby, and 'Y' stands for the time for you, the parent.
- SLOW- 'S' is to stop and 'L' to listen to the baby’s crying, as that is his language to communicate, 'O' to observe your baby’s actions and 'W' to stop and think after the observation, ‘What’s up?’
Hogg was never polarized in her opinion of whether to breastfeed or bottle feed a baby. She, however, was outspoken about her views about never co-sleeping with the baby. She also disagreed with the notion that the first year of a baby’s life was a sleepless one for the parent as she opined that a happy baby will sleep throughout the night.
In this book, she has summarized her 20 years of experience as a nurse and caregiver to bring simple, practical and accessible ideas on how to understand a baby and provide the best care as a parent.
Baby Whisperer Forum
Through her last book, Tracy tried to answer every possible problem a parent could have while tending to their baby. She tried to help all who needed help through the ‘The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems’. Her legacy lives on and she still remains alive in the memories of all who benefited and are still benefiting through her books and recordings.
Technology today has evolved and a group of people whose lives Tracy Hogg touched, came together after her death to form 'The Baby Whisperer Forum'. New parents can register for free and post their experiences, and put forth any questions they have on the site. With the intention of supporting new moms and provide encouragement, threads and discussions occur in this virtual community.
Keeping Hogg’s directives and her writings as the core, advice is provided based on the essence of her life's-work which was the ACTIVITY, STOP and SLOW methodology.
The Four 'S'
Hoggs was vehemently against the notion of letting a baby cry itself to sleep. She also opposed giving too much of attention to a baby during the night and emphasized the middle path. Through her book, she has given practical methods of developing healthy sleep habits that will encourage your baby to sleep through the night.
The three attributes of patience, listening, and a structured routine is the key. This method works differently in babies as per their age. The EASY method should be started once the baby is older than three months as the baby needs as much sleep and rest as she can, in the initial three months of his life.
Through EASY, Hogg advocated a strict daytime schedule for the baby. The 'E' is for feeding the baby as soon as it wakes up in the morning or after a nap; this could be a snack, milk or a solid meal depending on the time of the day and the baby’s age. This is the most important step and should be taken extremely seriously for the other steps to work.
A represents activities where after eating the baby plays, goes on errands and does any other activity that does not involve eating or sleeping.
The next step is 'S' for sleeping where the baby goes right away to sleep without eating anything. This is easy as the baby will be tired after his activities. A bottle or nursing at this time is not advised as the baby will get habituated to these to fall asleep and will not be able to establish the habit of soothing himself to sleep. The Y is for the ‘You’ time.
When the baby is put down to sleep she may either talk herself to sleep, fall asleep or will cry. If he cries Tracy advices in her book to practice the pickup and put down routine repeatedly till the baby falls asleep.
The four ‘S’ steps should practice thorough setting the stage by establishing a sleeping ritual, swaddling the baby, (although not all babies like this), sitting quietly and shush-pat the baby, (where you keep making the, ‘ssh’ sounds so that the baby can’t hear his own cries) and patting lightly between the shoulder blades.
After the baby has calmed down, it is wise to set him down in the crib and maintain physical contact to let him know you’re still there. If the baby cries again, repeat the process until he falls off to sleep. This method will eventually make your baby sleep through the night
Easy Sleep Training with the Baby Whisperer
A Swaddled Baby
Tracy Hogg Advises on When to Stop Swaddling
Swaddling involves snugly wrapping a newborn baby to keep her warm and secure as well as lessen the startle reflex that can wake her up.
Tracy Hogg advices parents to keep continuing swaddling their babies till the baby seems comfortable with it. A baby needs to be swaddled till the time he finds his fingers which don’t happen in some babies until they are five months old. Some like to be swaddled till they’re up to seven months old.
Swaddling should be stopped gradually when you see signs of fussiness. Begin by leaving one hand out as some babies like to have one hand near their face, (this is where they can find their fingers). If they seem unsettled with that, then continue swaddling and try again after a few days. According to Hogg, swaddling doesn’t stop the motor development of a baby.
Although she had a short life, through her books, Tracy Hogg has left an ocean of knowledge and directives for parents of newborns. The tens of thousands of reviews from grateful parents stands as a testimony to that.