Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What are you reading, Ember Williams?

Knowing that I was a new mother, a friend of mine and mother of three recommended that I pick up Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg, and I really appreciate a lot of the information that is set forth. Hogg has a clear, no-nonsense writing style, and she also includes an index to find topics easily. Both of these things came in handy for me as I tried to snatch a moment here or there to read while taking care of a newborn

The book spells out the author's personal recommendations for helping to establish good eating and sleeping habits for your baby, based on her experience as a neo-natal nurse and mother. In a culture in which many lactation consultants and other professionals insist that the only way to feed a baby is "on demand," this book gives a flexible scheduling alternative that makes a lot of sense for someone like me. I like to have a plan and somewhat of a routine. Her approach has helped enable me AND the baby to get more rest.

Not only does the author write about a daily schedule for babies, but she also outlines ways in which parents can learn to listen to their babiesthat is, she tells how parents might distinguish between different types of crying and talk "to" their babies, rather than "at" them. Her main themes are respecting your baby as a real person and taking the time to get to know who your baby is as an individual.

I've found some success in using the author's suggestions, and I would recommend this book to new parents. However, as I would say with ALL parenting books, each parent must read "with a grain of salt," taking the things that make the most sense to them individually. There is no one book that has all the answers about caring for a newborn, and it can become very overwhelming and confusing to sort through all the different theories and opinions. This particular book happened to make good sense to me, but it may not be the answer for every new parent out there.

Now that I've become a parent I'm lucky if I can find time to read the directions on the frozen pizza box! However, I used to read a chapter or two of this or that book each night before bedtimeusually a contemporary novel or literary classic. I enjoy the challenge of reading books with more formal language and expanded vocabularies. When I get some time to read again, I would like to re-read Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, or any of the Jane Austin novels. I would would also like to pick up The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Ember Williams has been working in the Music Department here at HIU for six years now. Her husband, Chris Williams, is Hope's former director of Campus Ministries.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau, Ballantine Books, 2005.

This book may be purchased at, Barnes and Noble, and Better World Books.

You may also find this book at your local library by searching

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