Thursday, 4 July 2013

New Mom/Parent? Helpful books

I enjoy posting book reviews but I didn't get the chance to read much fiction in the past year. Yet I went through a few books of the parenting variety and since I felt lost in the early days after my baby’s birth, I thought I would post this in case it helps new parents.

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As a typical new mom, I was eager to do my absolute best and was looking for specific instructions to follow and goals to work towards. But it seemed none of the professionals I spoke to, Midwives, health visitors, paediatricians or even friends and family would give me the information I needed. Most said “follow your baby’s lead”. Well, I had no idea what following the lead of a newborn meant and said newborn's communication skills were kind of limited.

So here are the resources that made it easier: 

- Your Baby Week by Week The ultimate guide to caring for your new baby by Dr Caroline Fertleman and Simone Cave was by far the most useful book in the first couple of months.  One of the authors is a paediatrician, so it provides clear information about how much baby should be eating, sleeping, crying, etc. It is divided in weekly sections until 25 weeks of age. I read 2-3 weeks ahead of where my baby was which helped prepare me for things that would have otherwise been worrying. It was also helpful with weaning.  

- What to expect the First year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. There’s a reason the What To Expect series is so popular and I suspect it’s because they provide lots of information in manageable amounts and give sensible, well researched advice. Unlike other books, they don’t talk down to the reader or try to impose a school of child rearing thought on them. I use it mostly to track baby’s development.

- The new contented little baby book by Gina Ford. Gina Ford is an expert maternity nurse and the champion of baby scheduling. To me, though, her emphasis on scheduling is a bit much as I’m nowhere near disciplined enough to follow such tight timetables, so I borrowed a few useful tips without actually applying her method. I found this book most helpful when the baby was ready to sleep full nights.
- Jo Frost's Confident Baby Care: Everything You Need To Know For The First Year From UK's Most Trusted Nanny. You may remember Frost from her hit TV series “Super Nanny” and although she is mostly known for her wizardry in keeping toddlers under control, she also has a lot of experience with newborns and babies and the book is full of practical advice without being overbearing. Here, though, I would have liked her to focus more on problem areas such as fussy eating etc. She touches on a few but doesn’t go into enough depth.

When it was time for weaning I read the following:

- The contented little baby book of weaning by Gina Ford. It explains in simple terms the basics of weaning with a helpful guide on when and how to introduce various foods. It also includes simple recipes.
- Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner. This one can be a bit of an overkill for those of us who aren't accomplished domestic goddesses but it does contain some recipes for punters. Also, the meal planners provide a better idea of the type of foods to serve baby throughout the process. For example when to stop giving full feeds of fruit and start introducing fruit as desert.

Online my top would be:
- This comes up at the top of google searches. They have great videos and a pool of experts to answer questions. I love their newsletter, which is tailored to your child’s age and provides insight about their development.
- Is an amazing resource, especially if you live in the UK.  
- Just like the book version, this is the place to get quick and easy tips. They also have mailers based on your child’s age.

… and remember, use Google with caution, especially when it’s about potential health issues…

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