Book: The Babytalk Insider’s Guide To Your Baby’s First Year

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Book: Your baby's first yearTitle: The Babytalk Insider’s Guide To Your Baby’s First Year
Stephanie Wood and Kitty O’Callaghan, contributing editors, babytalk magazine
Ottawa Public Library
Available online

Notes: This book’s main message, it appears, is to calm the parents down by telling them not to stress about pretty much anything except putting the baby to sleep on their back and using a car seat. Everything else is justified: to breast- or formula-feed, whether to use a pacifier,  whether to prop the bottle, – anything and everything is a parents’ choice and they should not feel guilty about it. While this is generally a reasonable approach, it means that for those of us who have already made a choice, parts of the book dealing with the practical implementation of the alternative are not useful. It also does not make the process of making the decision much easier, since “no matter what you do it’s ok”.

The book covers lots of issues and provides so much information that it is overwhelming. Unless it is used as a daily reference, there is no way to remember all the details. Also, I’m getting a bit weary of seeing certain information in each and every baby-care book, such as “picking a safe crib” or “buying a proper car seat”. Yes, these things are important, however, with safety requirements changing somewhat frequently, the best thing to do is to consult a knowledgeable person at the store that specializes in car seats or cribs and to read up on the current industry guidelines on the sites of the organizations that create and maintain those guidelines. These are one-time purchases requiring a short period of research that certainly does not spell out a large portion of “your baby’s first year”, whereas such areas as feeding and everyday caring for a child do.

Some assumptions made by authors did not agree with me much, such as “you love showing off your baby, opening all those adorable gifts, and recounting your delivery room war stories” or “unlike sex, however, you will actually miss your sleep”. Way to apply swooping generalizations to a variety of women’s personalities.

The chapter about staying at home versus going back to work does provide a good discussion of the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” phenomenon. The chapters that cover health issues are overwhelming – it might be better to refer the reader to a good medical encyclopedia focusing on the health issues that can arise in the first year. Otherwise, by the second page of the lists of symptoms the conditions start to blend together, and it seems that your baby has symptoms of all of them.

Overall, not the greatest book to have as an overview of the issues or as a detailed reference, as it is trying to be both.

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