Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baby Books - Useful or the Devil?

I'll just dive right in. I have a ridiculous amount of pregnancy and baby books. I have a problem.

Some of these have been given to me from friends and family as gifts but the vast majority I have picked up since Eve was born. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with baby books, hence the blog post.

I plan to review these books and discuss their merits in a more detailed blog post later this week. But before I do so I felt the need to have a little rant about my attitude and experience with these books. I would also love to know what your thoughts are on the matter.

Useful or the devil?

The use of the word 'devil' might seem extreme but I have found myself cursing some of these books on occasion - I have also thrown one off the bed in a huff (take a guess which one that was!).

Have they been useful to me? Without a doubt, yes. There have been times that I've found myself at my wits end, confused, unsure of where to go next etc and I have always found solace in one of these, if not an answer. Last week for example, Eve woke three nights in a row at 3am (unheard of for Eve), not hungry but wide awake. I knew it was probably something simple so I picked up two of my books and went the appropriate section - both authors spoke about this being a common issue for babies at Eve's age and after walking starts. They recommended I cut back her morning nap by a few minutes. It took me 5 minutes to consult my books and problem solved.

Unfortunately it's not always that simple. Actually, it usually isn't. There is far too much information. It's overwhelming. Before I had Eve a friend gave me The Contented Little Baby Book  by Gina Ford. I have since come to understand that Gina is highly controversial. I can see why. When I read the book, I was terrified - routines timed down to the minute, babies who nap in only complete darkness, not going out around naps, feedings etc, breastfeeding timetables. Terrifying. I will talk about this book more in my follow-up review post but for now know that this book is the devil, but it's also useful. It's good for problem solving and dipping into. It has saved me on a few occasions. That being said hubby has wanted to burn it on a number of occasions. It makes me feel inadequate and on one or two occasions, like a bad mother. I read recently on a mummy forum about a woman who's husband grabbed this book off her while she sobbed over her inadequacies and he put it on the barbecue. I suspect this is a common  occurrence. It's not really the information in the book, it's the condescending, know-it-all tone of the author that makes you feel like poo.

So the book you own isn't doing it for you. You start to wonder if there is an author out there who shares your views on nursing, gut instinct, routines etc Low and behold, you purchase another book. This is  where The Baby Whisperer came in from me. Great advice, more relaxed, but then it's just another set of ideals to take on board. Again, too much information. I read the bits relevant to me and took a few things on board but again, felt over-whelmed.

Then I found The No Cry Sleep Solution and thought to myself, you need that! I didn't. It was a nice book to read and suits my parenting style but it wasn't practical for me and I ended up ignoring everything I read.

What I learned from reading all of these books was that there is extremely useful advice inside. There is also too much advice. Dip in where you need and let it go. I have picked up quite a few tips and tricks but then the book is sent to the shelf until the next issue arises. I refuse to be controlled by another baby book!

Do you love or hate parenting books? Have a lovely evening everyone!

* Just updated my beauty blog with a review on Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser - 2 people have commented on my glowing skin today, it's all in the make-up baby! Link

Amy x


  1. I too bought both 'Contented Little Baby' and 'The Baby Whisperer', amongst a lot of others!. Fretful of doing things wrong, I tried to 'follow' everything and I ended up in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed and had a very grumpy, confused baby. It's only when I started to relax and just trust my own judgement (that wasn't that long ago!) my son (now 18 months) has become more relaxed and we have much more fun!

  2. First off, I really love reading your blog. Following you from California!
    Well, being the mother of triplets (now 12 years old),none of the books quite measured up. I also had a huge stack of them. Too much information to process. The best I found was "What To Expect When You're Expecting". But then their "First Year" book was OK and the" Toddler Years" not so much. Also, "Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy" was great. Gemma is right. The best thing to do is relax and go with what feels right for your babies.