How much do you know about babies or did you know before you had your first? Some people are lucky to be au fait with baby care if they have older siblings with children, but myself and my husband were completely clueless. When we were giving our daughter her first bath, we had to read the instructions step-by-step as we went along. It had taken me a good half hour to deal with the first meconium poo and probably the rest of the hour to get a vest and babygro on her.
So for those of you who haven’t a breeze, The Baby Book by Sears and Sears should get you up to speed.
This book is definitely on the crunchy side – Dr. Bill and nurse Martha Sears are attachment parenting advocates, and parents to eight children. But you don’t have to be planning to breastfeed, babywear and bed share with your baby in order to find this book practical. It’s a book that a lot of GentleBirth parents will relate to, as the book talks about having a safe and satisfying birth as the first step on the road to positive parenting. It is mostly aimed at those intending to breastfeed – there are a couple of chapters on breastfeeding basics and troubleshooting in the early weeks – but there is also a chapter on formula feeding.
The book is laid out by chapter subject, rather than chronologically, which makes it less goal oriented than the likes of What to Expect – The First Year (which seems to be an endless list of things your baby should be doing that you can tick off). Chapters include babywearing (carrying baby in a sling) and nighttime sleep, parenting the fussy baby, as well as chapters on feeding. There are sections on baby development from 0-6 months, 6-12 months and the second year. The chapters on the second year include dealing gently with undesirable toddler behaviour.
What I love about this book is that it encourages trusting your instincts and going with the flow – tuning into your baby and your baby’s needs as you get to know each other. It’s not prescriptive, there are no routines or schedules and while it details milestones your baby will reach during the first two years, there’s more of a range of age given for these than in some other books.
Basic stuff like nappy changing and bathing is covered, of course, for the uninitiated! Sure, at times most first time parents will probably find bits of it a little too ‘attachment’ for them. I know I did. But it all seemed completely normal by the time I had my second!