Baby Whisperer

I bought 2 baby Whisperer books the other day, and I've only just started reading the Sleep one. Just wondered if they all follow the same theme, that anything your baby doesn't do like sleep all night, is the parents fault? Has anyone read any of the books? So far all I've got is that parents get their babies in bad habits, the babies don't have a personality. Like I say I've only just started it, and I guess it's along the line of the contented little baby, and supernanny. There is a basis you work from. What are your opinions? xx mithical and James 11 weeks 2 days.


  • Hi

    I got the Baby Whisperer books when LO was 3 weeks in desperation, and they really saved me. I don't follow the routines as such (ie the timings) because I feed on demand, but I did adopt the EASY approach in that after every feed I change him, then he plays until I get the sleepy signs and then he sleeps until we start all over again, whatever times these things might occur. Before that I had been changing him before feeds and then feeding him to sleep. The problem was that after about two and a half weeks feeding him to sleep stopped working all the time and he wasn't sleeping at night (ie at all!!) which was really hard.

    I agree that the BW and Gina can both be a bit negative, blaming things on the parents!! For us though I do think we were a bit to blame for the sleeping stuff - our "settling" techniques were just additional stimulation. The BW's settling techniques were a godsend - it was really hard work for about 2 weeks but if you persevere it really does work. Now we don't have to settle Toby at all unless we miss the sleepy signs and he gets overtired - we just swaddle him and put him down. Sometimes he sucks on his dummy for a few minutes, otherwise he just settles himself to sleep. Also in the mornings he doesn't cry right away, he just plays by himself until one of us gets up to him which is really cute to listen to!

    So we are all much happier now and I would recommend the BW to anyone - what I like best about it is that you can tailor it to your baby rather than adopting rigid routines, which is what we found works the best. Funnily enough, my LO ended up being on a 3 hourly cycle almost like clockwork just by himself.

    Having said all that, my LO isn't sleeping through the night yet - we have one middle of the night feed between 2 and 4 am which I am desperate to drop. I tried doing the BW's cluster feeding just to see if it would work but he just throws up if I feed him when he's not hungry so that didn't work for us.

    I wouldn't say that the BW says that babies don't have a personality though - quite the opposite. She emphasises that you need to get to know your baby's personality and respond to it rather than treat all babies the same way. So in that respect she differs from Gina Ford a bit, and that was what I particularly liked - the idea of making my baby wait for food was just never going to work, lol!!

    Good luck whatever you decide to do!

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  • Hi mithical

    You know i was talking to my oh about this. We have a six month old and sometimes he still wakes between 1am and 2 for a feed, not all the time though, he goes to bed between 7pm and 7.30, hes on 3 meals a day as well as 5/6 bottles. MIL said he could just be waking out of habit and just to leave him, thing is i know hes hungry. Take this morning he woke up at 1.15am and drank 290ml of milk, most he's ever had on a night feed!!Point is i'm not going to leave him if hes hungry so is this a bad habit from us coz hes waking up??I don't understand, this is why i would rather not read books like this.

    Edited to say after reading the last post, have i missed the point?

    [Modified by: aerobubbles on April 04, 2010 12:08 PM]

  • Aerobubbles - no I don't think you've missed the point at all. I agree - if your baby wakes with hunger, you should feed him/her!! The BW says this too, although she also suggests upping the feeds during the day to try and avoid it (this just didn't work for us).

    If your baby is waking out of habit rather than hunger, you'll know because they won't drink as much. My LO takes a full feed in the middle of the night but doesn't seem as hungry in the morning at around 7amish, stopping feeding after only about 5-10 minutes. I am hoping that this means that the middle of the night feed will start to get later and later until it merges with the first morning feed, fingers crossed!

    So I don't think your LO is in a bad habit at all - unfortunately some of us just have hungry babies who don't sleep through the night image

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  • It's just things like swaddling for example. James likes sucking his fist, and 'cuddling' a muslim at night before he settles. If I swaddled him he wouldn't be able to do this. With the over-stimulation, I can totally see what she's saying. But we use a dream show, which James stares at. It comforts him, and makes him sleepy. I sometimes also walk about with him, or jiggle/rock him. This also makes him sleepy rather than over-stimulating. The feeding regime, James is following it himself. It says feeding 4 hourly (3-4 really) and will still probably be needing a feed around 4/5 am at his age, which he does. Although James doesn't nap consistently during the day, it depends what we are doing and sometimes he just cat naps. He still appears to be sleeping to the timings the BW feels is acceptable. So my point being whether I am doing accidental parenting or not, James is doing 80% of what she suggests anyway, and we didn't have a book to get there! I know she suggests following a routine, it's not a schedule so is baby led in that sense. But allowing James to make his own routine seems to be working for us. Obviously if I don't want to follow the BW I won't, and if others want to follow it or use certain aspects they can. She does highlight learning your lo's personality and their individual cues. But to come back to for example swaddling, she doesn't offer an alternative just presumes all babies will be swaddled. I'm sure I'm being picky, I don't need to be told that. It's the principles we are supposed to take on board. xx
  • sorry to butt in... with the swaddling issue my lo sucks his thumb. He's now 9 months and no longer swaddled but he was up until 7 months old. I found it helped hugely with lengthening his naps (not always but would notice a difference when not swaddled) I used to swaddle him with his arms tucked up under his chin initially so he could suck his fists. Once he started properly sucking his thumb I used to leave that arm out and swaddle the other one in.

    Like all routine books the B.W has elements that you can use and others you can laugh at! For me I found it good to help plan out my day. Initially lo was very much falling asleep feeding and once you get into that pattern it can be hard to get out of. For me personally following the EASY basis of the routine really helped and now lo sleeps like a dream during the day and night. The only time he goes to sleep straight after a bottle is when he's ill or at nighttime. The rest of the time I put him down tired but awake, he pops his thumb in and he's off to sleep within about 5 mins max.

    At the end of the day you will do what fits in with your family and your baby and from my experience 'bad habits' are easy to change with a little bit of patience and consistency when you feel ready!
  • It's things like saying something is a 'bad habit' that I'm referring to. Obviously it's all her opinion, based on the work and successes she has had over the years. But as I say according to the BW using a dream show is a bad habit, as is rocking ds to settle him. But the shops sell dream shows, and rocking cribs or seats. If it works and the rest of the routine is as she denotes. Why is it a bad habit, and why should it stop? :\? xx
  • With the things like the dream shows and rocking to sleep, she calls them 'props' if your baby can't sleep without them, and this is where the accidental parenting comes in. If they can settle to sleep on their own but like to have the dream show then thats fine, if they can only settle when they have a 'prop' whether it be a dummy or driving them in the car then this is when parents can have a problem later. What will happen if your dream show machine breaks? But as you say its your baby so do which bits you are happy with. She does have some slightly unusual ideas ie, that when you first bring your baby home you should 'show them round the house' introducing them to the home and any pets etc.

    I think some people are more natural at sussing things out and for others they may have large families and have been around babies and children a lot. For me, I'm the youngest of my siblings and cousins and was the first of my friends to have kids so I really didn't have any experience at all so I just took what information that I felt made sense to me. With dd1 I bought Gina Ford and when I got it home and started reading it it made me feel ill with how regimented it was so I binned it straight away and was lucky enough to find BW as for me it really suited me.

  • I agree Gina Ford is too strict for me, although I don't know her ideas in a lot of detail. The baby Whisperer is a lot better. I am only playing 'devil's advocate' here, although obviously I'm using James to illustrate my points. (Although I'm being shot down with each one! :lol: ) Here's another question then, will you not read your kids bed time stories, because it might become a prop? Or should we choose which props we are happy with? Kids are successfully weaned from dummies (and not always with difficulty), just as they grow out of wanting a bed time stories. xx
  • Ha ha Mithical this is priceless.........

    "James likes sucking his fist, and 'cuddling' a muslim at night before he settles."

  • It really depends on the parent. Ive got 3 kids, age 4, nearly 3 and 9 wks. Ive always used Gina routines, although i dont stress and follow to the min. Ive got 2/3 kids who sleep well, always have naps, settle themselves. They slept through at 6 weeks, and 9 weeks and still working on the baby. The oldest one had a dummy till he was 3, the middle one didnt and they all have music/light shows.

    Im not perfect but i do think its all about routine so the kids know what is coming up next. I do think you create most bad habits yourself. I gave my baby a dummy so thats my fault, but at the end of the day as long as you and baby are happy and settled, thats the most important thing. You can only do what you think is right.

    Mythical, you should do what suits you, some babies dont want a story, ive got 1 child that loves them and another that rarely wants a story, he wants to have his milk and go straight to sleep.. You are right, all these things are just one persons opinions and i would pick out what helps you and discard the rest.

    Glad you are doing ok tho

    Gemm x
  • Thanks Gemm. Dollywotsit, what's so funny about that! image He started playing with the muslim at feeds, so one night just put it in the crib with him while he settled himself, he seems to like playing with it. I always take it out when he's asleep. Would give him a comforter, but think they are too heavy for him at the moment! xx
  • LOL Mithical - Dollywotsit was referring to your typo!

    Think you mean "muslin" as in the square of cloth rather than "muslim" as in a person of islamic faith! Or does your LO cuddle one of them at night?? Tee hee.

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  • Do people who write these books actually have children or do they just try to tell other people how to raise theirs??

    Shame we don't live in a 'perfect world' like these people who write books like this think we do.

    I think that any parent has the right to bring up their children however they want instead of trying to live up to the standards the way the 'book' tells them to.

    Sorry just my opinion

  • Oh! lmao Do you know what, I've always called it a muslim, it never occurred to me I wrote that....twice! :lol: Maybe James has the right idea though, it could stop the war! Can you imagine the placards? 'Have you cuddled a muslim today?' or 'Queue here to cuddle a muslim' Sorry a bit of a tangent there! So anyway yes I think the Baby Whisperer has 3 kids or something, and no I believe Gina Ford has none. xx
  • hahaha - that's hysterical. Reminds me of my mum who until a couple of years ago (when one of us caught her doing it) she thought that sci-fi (as in a sci-fi movie) was pronounced "sky-fi" - because most of them took place in the sky/space! After explaining to her that it was short for "science fiction" we both laughed until we cried.

    Sorry getting o/t but you're right, the BW had 2 daughters I think but sadly she died a couple of years ago from melanoma.

    I'm not sure I agree that having children of their own is always relevant though - she and Gina Ford have both looked after hundreds of babies as live-ins which I think would qualify them to at least offer opinions as to what works. I don't agree with Gina Ford's methods personally but I know that they have worked for literally thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of families around the world - it's just not for everyone, including me. Likewise while the BW has some tips that I have found really useful, I don't follow her books to the letter and I'm sure lots of people got no help from them whatsoever because they didn't suit their baby. Everyone has to find what works for them and their families, and books like these can be really helpful for some - I was at my wits end when I got them and I'm so glad I did, even just to give me some new ideas!

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  • Sorry, just had to have a giggle at the 'muslim' cuddling!

    I am a BW devotee - BUT I do tend to ignore some things she says. I find it a bit patronising with all the 'luvs' and 'duckys' and at first was a bit offended by the accidental parenting phrase but I realise it does make sense!

    I had a nightmare with LO sleeping but since starting BW I have a dream baby who goes to bed at a decent hour and sleeps for a fab amount of time (feel free to read my previous desperate posts!)
    She is teething at the minute so I have been breastfeeding her to sleep but she is nearly 7 months old so I don't want her to get into the habit of that again. Within a couple of days she was self settling again.

    As with any parenting book, read it, pick out the bits that suit you and LO and then ignore the rest!!

  • Thanks marnb for that point of view. I'm sure it does make a difference when it's your own child, the attachment is different. There's only so much that can come from child behaviour and psychology. xx
  • Mithical, LOL i am peeing myself (well what do you expect after 3 kids) at the 'cuddling muslim'. Brightened up my morning!!

    The Sky fi movie is a good one!!! Think we should start a new post of spelling/word errors to make us all laugh.

    My FIL always talks about petrol and how cheap petrol ie tesco/asda is rubbish coz it doesnt have the good addictives that BP/shell petrol has.

    Gemm x
  • laughing out load Mithical - that is so funny - i always say if people played everyday like Toby - it could solve world wars!

    Hubby is also giggling about the placards " cuddle a Muslin here"

    With regard to BW we have had a routine from about 6 weeks -reading signs etc - with regard to swaddling - toby hated it - sleeping bags were the answer for us.

    we also cant wait so long for the sleep so we changed it slightly - i think read the book - shelve the book - then when intorucing a routine just think about some of her points. The good thing about bw is it is about reading your baby.

    I love the piccy you sent of james with his bottle - he really is lovely Mithical x x x
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