Second Book to Read Before You Pop That Kid — Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg (and Melinda Blau)

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer should be a book I hate. It should be a book I hate because Tracy Hogg’s attitude is totally my-way-or-the-highway, and as I’ve already told you, I really don’t have any patience for that when it comes to parenting advice.

Maybe I’m just ornery. Maybe I’m just lazy. Mostly, as I’ve said before, I am a firm believer in pursuing whatever parenting practices make you least nuts.

That said, I really do believe that the Baby Whisperer system is designed to save you from the crazies.

Here’s why:

What’s most crazy-making about caring for an infant is not the days and weeks and months and years of sleepless nights you may / will experience when you start having babies. Sleeplessness is something most of us can adapt to. You can just up your coffee intake and keep going, promise. And honestly, sleep is relative. Before baby, you think you need 8-10 hours of it. After baby, you’ll be shocked at how well you can function on a nice 4-hour stretch of uninterruped zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs.

Also, there’s tons of things you can do to handle baby sleep problems — and I’m going to blog about that sort of thing tomorrow, promise.

But there’s a lot less you can do about the fact that your baby can’t talk.

Especially since, at least for the first few weeks of her life, all her crying is going to sound the same: pitiable, angry, and loud.

How on earth, then, are you supposed to know if she’s hungry, or tired, or achy, or what?

Tracy Hogg’ll tell you how! And with a catchy acronym, to boot! It’s incredibly easy to remember, too — so easy it’s called EASY, which stands for:

Eat

Activity

Sleep

You-Time

In Tracy Hogg’s opinion — and mine — EASY should be the basic building block for every baby’s daily routine. Yep, I said it — and I mean it:

YOU GOTTA HAVE A ROUTINE.

Here’s why:

Imagine you have a 3-month old baby on an EASY routine. Here’s what your day looks like (this schedule is based on a 4-hour eating routine):

7 am     Wake up and EAT

730        Change diaper and play (ACTIVITY)

830        Baby naps (SLEEP)

YOU TIME!

11 am     Wake up and EAT

1130       Change diaper and play (ACTIVITY)

1230      Baby naps  (SLEEP)

YOU TIME!

2 pm      Wake up and EAT

230        Change diaper and play (ACTIVITY)

330        Baby naps (SLEEP)

YOU TIME!

5 pm      Wake up and EAT

530        Change diaper and play (ACTIVITY)

630        Baby’s bedtime

YOU TIME!

Now, imagine it’s 815 in the morning and your kid is sobbing. He ate at 7. It’s almost naptime. He must be tired! Swaddle that sucker up and put him down!

Or imagine it’s 145 in the afternoon, and he’s woken up a little early from his nap. It’s almost time for his 2 pm bottle — he’s hungry! And just like a man, all you gotta do is feed him to make him happy.

Can you see the magic? And by magic, what I mean is, can you see the FOUR SEPARATE TIMES EVERY SINGLE DAY YOU GET A FEW MINUTES TO YOURSELF?!? (Just in case you missed them, I BOLDED THEM FOR YOU!)

Enjoy that YOU TIME. Catch up on Netflix. Do some dishes. Read a magazine. Surf the web. Shower daily. Seriously. Shower daily. Do it while you can, because when Baby #2 comes around, deep-conditioning is a thing of the past.

To recap:

The power of leveraging ROUTINES to better care for and understand your baby — and creating YOU TIME to care for yourself — are really the main take-away from this book, and Hogg’s slew of others. Which is not to say she doesn’t have a lot more to offer new parents — she does — so do yourself a favor and buy one of her books.

That said, ignore her advice on juggling twins, which in my opinion is patently absurd … but we can talk about that later. And take with a grain of salt her breastfeeding advice, which is completely outdated. Not that you can really blame her for that, seeing as she’s dead.

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