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4.3 out of 5 stars46
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 24 April 2013
This is the kind of book that I imagine was great when it was first published, but felt too out-of-date to me to really resonate with my experience of motherhood.

It's very readable and there were odd bits that made me laugh aloud, but overall it is a book of tips and advice - I think I'd been hoping more for a book that would be cathartic with its humour. Lots of advice was probably refreshing honest and even radical in places when it was first published but feels quite mainstream now e.g.in the toddler section, you'll find suggestions to use distraction to head off unwanted behaviour, to buy toys from jumble sales, and to do potty training in the summer . Much has changed since the book was written (in the 1980s?). For example, a fair chunk of the book is about childcare and returning to work, and it all focused on nannies and child minders with no mention of nurseries. The author did an update in 2004, but ultimately, the experience of being a mother has changed so much since then in terms of the pressures, issues and so on, that I don't think it can hope to hit the mark in the way that it probably did originally.
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on 30 March 2004
Of all the books on parenting I read when I was pregnant with my first child, this was far and away the most realistic, the most useful and the most entertaining to read. Full of useful tips on real-life parenting - not the textbook claptrap of "perfect mother" books. I would recommend this book to any new parents, old parents, grandparents, carers, next-door-neighbours... anyone who has dealings with babies, toddlers and young children. An essential weapon in the parental armoury!
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on 14 October 2003
I borrowed this book from the library and renewed it so many times that I had to buy it in the end. It kept me amused during my pregnancy and reassured during the first year of my baby's life. Now after number 2 child, I enjoy reading it again and smiling knowingly at all the stages of new parenthood. It doesn't preach, just dishes out good sensible advice in bite sized sections. Libby Purves accepts every baby and mother is different and offers several solutions to the age old challenges of trying to survive the first year of motherhood. Well worth the money.
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on 9 September 2002
You already know how to look after your baby, and Libby Purves has written the only baby-care book I know of that acknowledges this and encourages mothers - and fathers - to rely on their common sense, supplemented with a range of crafty tips that will reduce your stress levels by 100%. Other 'baby manuals', however sympathetic their tone seems, manage to leave parents with a sense of guilt and inadequacy because they aren't keeping the humidity in the baby's room at the right level, or measuring the temperature of baby's milk correctly.
This book is a great antidote to the prevailing tendency to make a science out of everything, even the most natural things, like raising children. Libby Purves has faith in people. As you read her book, your faith in yourself comes flooding back.
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on 24 January 2001
One day I am going to write to Ms Purves and claim a share of her royalties for this book. I found it by chance when about four months pregnant fourteen years ago; it is with me still as a "never lend" - but I have bought any number of copies for friends and family. I can vouch for the fact that it has cheered up the depressed, encouraged the weary, and amused all.
Yes I suppose it is dated in some respects. However, there are some principles of motherhood that do not change, and what I especially enjoyed about this book was its essential subversiveness, compared with the terrible guilt trips offered by the middle class bible thumpers.... At the time, this was the only book I came across that even contemplated the possibility that a mother might want to go out to work - or have to - and offered moral support and practical advice instead of disapproval.
I can thoroughly recommend the two subsequent books as well; my children are a year or two younger than Ms Purves', and I am still hoping for the one about teenagers....
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This book is terribly dated. I found it fascinating that she had to tie the baby's carrycot into the car with string when she wanted to take it out. It makes me bless the invention of the car seat. Having said that it is very funny about a subject which can be hideously serious at a time when you need reassurances and not lists of why you have done it wrong again! I found myself identifying with her in all sorts of ways and it was very refreshing to find that I was actually doing just fine thank you very much.
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on 19 October 2008
With sparkling humour and a low cunning born of four years spent catching food before it hits the floor, Libby Prves shows that even the most unpromising madonna can survive the years of looking after babies and toddlers. Full of down-to-earth tips and hilarious anecdotes, this is a battle-manual for the mother on the front line, going from pregnancy to preschoolers, and taking in sibling fights, fraught outings, nannies and careers along the way.
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on 10 January 2006
Libby Purves proves that, as a mother who has suffered from tragic incidents that become a daily feature of a mother's life, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With understanding and humour, she talks us mothers through life day by day- sparing a thought for US instead of the baby for a change! A MUST HAVE! Don't attemp motherhood without it! My daughter would have lost her mother to desparation and sleep without this chest of unbeatable treasure!
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on 24 May 2010
A great book to read during your pregnancy and then read again while nursing your newborn. It'll help you loads and make you feel better.
I bought an older edition at a 2nd hand fair (after I had had my baby) so when 2 of my friends got pregnant, I felt they needed this book earlier than I had read it. They loved it.
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on 24 March 2008
i loved this book - an entertaining read, full of good advice, the best being trust yourself. so do! she doesn't always get it right, but she isn't far wrong most of the time. and she doesn't judge you. calmed me down when i was getting worried, which is the most i could have wanted from any book.. worth a read..
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