44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2004
This would be a great reference book were it not for the index, which consistently directs the reader to the wrong page. This is extremely frustrating at times. The content, however, is very informative and comprehensive.
I bought this book on the back of owning "What to Expect When You're Expecting", which was my pregnancy bible. As a first-time mum, I've found the book equally as invaluable. As well as the twelve chapters on what to expect month by month, there are excellent sections on baby health, ailments, first aid, baby care, breastfeeding, diet (for baby and mum), and fatherhood.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2000
I thought this book was brilliant. Having just had my first baby and not knowing anything about bringing her up, I found this book invaluable. It covers everything, and the questions posed throughout were almost exactly the questions I wanted answered. It gives you confidence that you are doing the right thing, that other babies do the same things and that there isn't a problem!
The only thing I would say against this book is that at the beginning of each monthly chapter it spells out what your baby should be doing by the end of that month, and what it possibly may be able to do. if my baby isn't doing that then I feel she is 'behind'. But outside of that it is a great book and one every new parent should have.
71 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2006
This is THE most useful book you can buy as a first time parent.
It's a kind of Baby-bible really and I would suggest you buy it BEFORE junior arrives as it has lots of useful advice about what you need and what you'll be doing in the first weeks. (And lets face it you won't have time to read books in those early days...)
It's written like a list of FAQs for each month of baby's first year, but rather than presenting only one viewpoint or answer, it describes all current views on a subject, gives you the facts then lets you decide what's appropriate advice for YOU and YOUR baby.
Sometimes it's just enough to know that something you're experiencing is completely normal and has been experienced by other people. Sometimes you have questions that seem too trivial to bother the health visitor with so this book provides a useful back up.
It covers health topics, behaviour, and likely development stages for each month. A useful book for dads too - especially in the first few weeks when they can feel like they're reliant on the women-folk to know what's going on (don't know why - first time mums feel as clueless as everyone else at times!!).
The only down-side, and the reason I've only given the book 4 stars, is that it was obviously written for the American market but has been 'Anglified' and almost all of the examples have been re-written to cover English views/laws etc, however now and then you find a bit of the American lingo still hanging around. The examples are still useful though, but you just get a feel that they're not quite as relevant.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2010
I bought this because I loved 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' so figured this would be just as good, but it's really not to be honest.
They're an American series tweaked a little for the UK market, and while that generally worked fine with the pregnancy one I'm afraid it annoys me a bit here. There's a lot of repetition, a lot of emphasis on seeing the doctor every month (clearly American - am trying to imagine my GP's face if I rocked up every month for a full routine physical check and discussion about my mental wellbeing!), and the format is a bit all over the place with a lot of quite stupid questions and answers that I think just pad it out unnecessarily.
It does manage to be fairly comprehensive, the first aid advice is good to read and I quite like the reference tables at the back. It just caters a bit too much to what seems to be a more neurotic US market.
It's worth having on the shelf but if you're only buying one book I would advise Week By Week over this one.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 1999
I have a love-hate relationship with this book. It is huge, and there is something to read on every question you may have. However, it is often highly misleading, and despite being theoretically a UK version, a lot of the information is more relevant to the USA. It is presented as an unbiased reference book, for example listing arguments for and against certain approaches to childcare. However, the authors have been highly selective in the arguments they list in such sections, so that many points which they presumably do not agree with are either not included, or presented unfairly.
The book seems to promote an American conservative approach to childcare, which seems peculiar in the UK. For example, the authors are evidently very much in favour of routine circumcision of baby boys, and the list of possible arguments against it is small and superficial. This operation is routine in some US hospitals, but is generally considered unnecessary and unfair in the UK - most doctors will refuse to perform it unless there is some overrriding clinical or religious imperative.
The book is less supportive of breastfeeding than any other modern childcare book I have read, and it gives strange advice in this chapter. The authors claim that breastfeeding is not recommended in a range of situations, but most lactation authorities would disagree with many of them. If you want help with breastfeeding, consult the experts at La Leche League or the National Childbirth Trust, and ignore this book.
In numerous other areas, the book presents some highly controversial views as if they were accepted facts. Use this book if you will, but consult other sources as well.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2007
This book was bought as a present for me, after I'd shunned all literature on pregnancy/baby rearing following an initial foray proved confusing and provided conflicting advice. Initially sceptical, I found 'What to Expect...' well written and well thought out. Rather than scare me stupid, which is what other books did, this book reassured me and provided sound advice and tips, and calmed me down when I thought I was going mad with 'what if' worry. Even my mother ("I have four children and three grandchildren and don't need a book...") thought that this was a great reference manual.
In terms of how to read it: in the first few months I avidly read every word, up two months in advance of my little one's age. As both she and my confidence grew, I found I dipped in and out, rather than holding on to it as a lifeline. Do you have to read the months either side of your baby's age? The answer is the same to this question as it is to 'do baby's develop at differing rates?'. The book does not avoid this point, and emphasises it at the beginning of every chapter. The information on illnesses is good, and does not pretend to be a substitute for seeing a doctor. As an indicator of what to look out for and whether or not you should be concerned, it is great. For this reason, it does cover scary illnesses, but then being a new mum is pretty scary, and 'What to Expect...' tries to be measured and calm, whilst pressing that if you think your baby is ill, however trivial you may think it, then call a doctor. After all, you know your baby better than anyone else, and I haven't yet come across a doctor who didn't say they would rather be called for something that turned out to be nothing, than not called at all.
I'm so glad my friend bought this book for me - it's been a great support. Read it cover to cover, dip in and out, but most of all relax, and enjoy your first year with your baby - if I got through it then anyone can!
71 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2003
I bought this on the strength of the reviews on this site as I was looking for a book about child development. I do not find the format "useful" and "informative", as other people have said, but jumbled and lacking in any depth or order (the layout appears to promote browsing at random, rather than looking anything up).
I find the question-and-answer format so irritating, you feel you are reading an agony-aunt column where you can guess the answer before you have read it (e.g. "My 3-week baby son has crooked legs. Is he malformed, or will he get better?" - you hardly need read on).
I thought there would be new and interesting insights into development each month and suggestions as to how to help promote physical, emotional and intellectual development, but each month, there is a list of similar things: - "he should be able to: sit up" for example, and "he might be able to: say da-da". The following month, the "might be able to" will become "should be able to", etc. It's not really useful.
It purports to be a very general book and I think this where its "strength" is, if you like. In other words, it is probably best if you have it on your shelf with your more comprehensive baby books and dip into it just for extra information you may or may not find. For instance, I found some interesting information about arguments for and against and how to introduce a beaker for my baby, but I don't tend to *use* the book to gauge his development or expect it to go into any depth about anything important...
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2002
I have just had my first baby and found this book excellent. As a new Mum I found I was inundated with well meaning advice but found it extremely useful to have a book which discusses all the options and gives a very balanced view and what so far has been sound advice. I found myself reading and re-reading sections which you can't do with advice you get from your health visitor and you can't always remember all the detail first time round.
It is laid out month by month suggesting progress your baby may be making at each stage, but I felt under no pressure whatsoever for my baby to be 'fitting in'. The question and answer structure is great and I found it easy to find the subjects I was interested in in the index at the back.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2010
As a new dad I spent hours on the 'net reading the advice for Fathers to be and to be honest I was wondering what most Fathers to be are thinking about. What I needed was very practical, day to day advice on the things I will actually have to do. I'm not concerned about not going to the pub, that's pretty much a given when you have a child :) What I wanted to know is what to do with a nappy, how to bathe a child, how to carry a baby etc etc. This is not stuff Dads just know and you need the help.
This book has all that and more. Every month of the first year is presented in a really pleasing format. Each chapter starting with what your babay probably will be doing, could be doing and might be doing at a stretch. You know, you need that kind of thing because if you're like me, you have no idea what is 'normal' for a baby and what not.
The chapter then goes in to more details on the kind of things you will need to do in each month with diagrams, step by step instructions and, crucial for someone like me, why you or the baby are doing this :) Makes understanding what you are doing so much easier.
There are sections dealing with some of the more unpleasant possibilities which I hope are never needed but they are there for if problems arise. The sections on baby health issues are packed with the symptoms of all sorts of things serious, and not so serious, you might encounter and how to stock your Baby's medicine cabinet.
First time parents will get a whole deal of help from this book and it will sit within easy reach for reference before and after each month. If you are planning books to help you when the new guy or gal is born this should be in your library.
Good luck with the new arrivals to everyone :)
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2000
What to Expect in the First year was invaluable. I read it monthly, and it was a useful guide for a first time mum to read about what to do next (particularly when you have to begin to child proof the house in advance). Also friends and relatives' memories of what happened when to their babies I found notoriously inaccurate - the memory fades quickly. Because of this I had more confidence in the accuracy of the book than in much casual word-of-mouth advice. The checklists for your baby's development were fun - and flexible, so they clued me up to what to look for next in his movements, sounds etc. The question format worked well too - I had my doubts at first as I thought they'd not be the questions I'd want to ask. While they were often witness to more extreme behaviour than my baby was exhibiting, this was also reassuring. The question format also made the information much more accessible. Sometimes it didn't go into enough medical detail for me - having read Sheila Kitzinger's Pregnancy and Birth, I was used to a more informed discussion of the medical choices you can make. Though pleasingly, it was one of the best on circumcision, and didn't have the bias against many British books do. However, I could have done with more discussion over immunizations at the end of the first year, the scientific evidence behind avoiding cows milk and the evidence for linking it to eczema, and eczema to asthma, the scientific evidence behind peanut allergies etc. Nevertheless, I found this book in combination with Annabel Karmel's The New Complete Baby and Toddler Planner made a good pair (the latter was an excellent guide to preparing baby foods for different ages, though some of the recipes were too sweet for my taste). The only other book I used was 'Breast is Best' for queries on breast feeding (i.e. what are the symptoms of mastitis).