Parenting Book Reviews

Table of Contents


Pre-pregnancy Books

Pregnancy Books

Nutrition in Pregnancy

Pregnancy for Fathers

Baby Name Books

Birth guidebooks

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

Infants & Toddlers


Sleep Problems

Child Rearing & Discipline

Preschool-aged children

Young school-aged children

Teenaged children

Learning disabilities and ADHD

Medical Information & Nutrition

Life Style Choices

Death and Children

Boys/Girls: "Gender" issues

Miscellaneous Books

Other Media

Sources & Acknowledgements

Paula Burch's Home Page

Reviews of Books About Infants & Toddlers

For sleeping problems, see under Sleep problems in infants and children of all ages, several pages further on.
Try reading these before your baby's born, in case you don't have time

Dylan Landis: _Checklist for Your New Baby_. 1997. ISBN #0-399-51657-3.
[sources incl. amazon]
 	I found a great book that tells you what you need 
	for a new baby (and also what you DON'T need).  Has the
	Layette that you will need, and it isn't exceptionally long...
	That should help you tremendously. --Alice Jackson [from a post]

Denise and Alan Fields: Baby Bargains. 1997. ISBN 0-9626556-4-3; price, $11.95.
[sources incl. amazon]	[A] consumer's guide to all the things you need to buy when
	you have a baby.  Cribs, strollers, bedding, clothes are all
	covered.  They discuss which brands and models they liked,
	which features are worth paying more for and which aren't,
	when you should think about buying an item, and how much you
	will spend.  There is a chapter on mail-order catalogs that
	sell baby-related stuff.  They always give the price and
	manufacturer's address/phone number of items they discuss.  My
	wife & I are finding it very useful (our first is due in
	April).  Because it just came out [new edition 1997], all the
	prices and phone numbers are CORRECT! --Mike Gibson [from a post]

Morris, Desmond: Babywatching 
[OOP; try your library or amazon]
	Rather a stupid book, this repeats what other books
	say but without references, often wrong. WHY is this guy famous?
	Assumes that all babies are exactly alike. Interesting if you never
	read any other baby book, I suppose. --Paula Burch

Miriam Stoppard: Baby & Child A to Z Medical Handbook/Parents Easy
Reference Guide to Children's Illnesses, Symptoms, and Treatment. 1992.
[sources incl. amazon]
	a good medical book

Miriam Stoppard: Day by Day Baby Care. 1988.
[sources incl. amazon]
a generalized
	care handbook which is quite good, except for what IMHO is an
	overemphasis on formula/bottle sterilization and warmth.

Maurer and Maurer: the World of the Newborn 
[ OOP; try your library or amazon]
	reviews all the literature and theories about how babies hear, 
	see, feel and think

Spock et al.: Baby and Child Care (1968, Pocket)
[sources of 1998 edition incl. amazon]
        Maybe the newer one is better but although I try and try I can't
        get any useful information out of this. -- Kate Gregory

another viewpoint: (1980s edition, paperback, about $5) Really handy on what you need to have on hand before the baby comes, how to breastfeed (assuming no special problems), what to do about various symptoms, etc. Basic, inexpensive, highly worthwhile.

most recent (1998) edition: whacko nutrion. Useful only for committed vegans - vegetarians who eat no animal foods at all. Anne C. Beal: The Black Parenting Book. [sources incl. amazon] Will my light-skinned African-American child get darker with time? Do the splotches cradle cap leaves on a black baby go away? Since asthma is more common among black children, what do I need to know? How do I combine teaching traditional respect for authority with newer means of discipline, such as time-outs? Dr. Beal's book is an all-inclusive resource aimed at parents of African-American babies from birth through age five. Marianne Neihart: Dr. Mom (1993, paperback, $5) [sources incl. amazon] Similar to Dr. Spock but more up-to-date with advice to avoid cow's milk until the end of the first year, etc. Mostly very useful for the same things. Written by a pediatrician who is the mother of five children. --Paula Burch Butler: Babies Need Books (1988, Penguin; 0-14-010094-6) [sources incl. amazon] What kinds of books kids at various ages (up to six) need. Specific book lists, which I never consulted again after Beth was born. -- Kate Gregory Caplan: The First Twelve Months of Life (1971, 1995, Bantam; 0-553-24233-4) [sources incl. amazon] Charts of abilities at each month of age. I gave up on it at about eight months or so -- Beth was always ahead on some and behind on others, and by then I no longer needed reassurance about her abilities. Three month olds are described as "ready for solids" which is in disagreement with all my other books. -- Kate Gregory Rozdilsky & Banet: What Now? A Handbook for New Parents (1972, 1996, Scribner; 0-684-14698-3) [sources incl. amazon] Concentrates on the feelings of parents and how to keep yourselves happy. Pretty good, though I didn't have time to read it again once she was born. -- Kate Gregory Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam: On Becoming Babywise [sources incl. amazon] There appears to be a consensus among lactation experts that this book is wrong-headed in the extreme, as it recommends the sort of parent-scheduled feedings that can result in an inadequate milk supply in the mother and impaired growth in an infant, especially those born at less than eight pounds. The information is claimed to be based on the Bible, although Ezzo admits that the Bible contains no advice whatsoever on the subject of infant feeding. --Paula Burch Greene: Good Morning, Merry Sunshine (1984, Penguin; 0-14007948-3) [OOP; try your library or amazon] A diary of a father's life during his child's first year. Mildy entertaining, though their parenting style was not one I was comfortable with as I read. -- Kate Gregory Metzger & Whittaker: the Childproofing Checklist (1988, Doubleday; 0-385-24263-8) [OOP; try your library or amazon] About what you'd expect. Far more details than the childproofing sections in more general books. For example, rather than just saying to put a gate on the stairs, it discusses styles of gates and how to choose among them. -- Kate Gregory "Making Your Home Child Safe" Sunset [OOP; try your library or amazon] This book has a lot of good child proofing suggestions. It covers how to keep kids out of harmful things I wouldn't have even thought they'd want to get into. It also has the best list of poisonous and injurious plants that I've seen. The list has the scientific names, common names, tells exactly what part of the plant is a problem and what it does. Curiosity Without Tears: Childproofing. VHS videotape. 1992. GHI Media. [sources incl. amazon] Brazelton: What Every Baby Knows (1987, Ballantine; 0-345-34455-3) [sources incl. amazon] Probably not the Brazelton book to get. Certainly not about what babies do and do not know, it is a series of case histories of some of his patients, the advice he gave them, and followups. It deals with discipline, sibling rivalry, divorce, disruptive crying, and so on, but not in a general way. I love anecdotal books, as perhaps you can tell from this list, but I wouldn't get this book again. -- Kate Gregory Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn: Baby Signs : How to Talk With Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk [sources incl. amazon] A fun book, firmly grounded in science. Research shows that teaching simple, easy sign language (as opposed to a real sign language such as ASL) to infants doesn't impair their spoken language development--in fact, it can put them ahead by an average of a year, later on! Being able to communicate is fun and may help avoid tantrums. My own baby was not much more inclined to learn signs than spoken words, but many are. --Paula Burch Penelope Leach, YOUR BABY AND CHILD. Alfred Knopf, 1985. ISBN 0-394-40755-5. [sources incl. amazon] Still my favorite. As you can see my copy is from 1985, I'm sure they've updated it. It would be interesting to see what information has changed in the update. For instance, she suggests that after 6 months, babies are ready to drink regular cows milk. I have a feeling that given today's wisdom, that probably has changed. What I like most about the book is that it always takes the point of view of the baby/child. Has helped me try to do the same with my kids. Leach covers the basics pretty well, and it's especially nice to see illustrations of bathing techniques, etc. She does gloss over some stuff, but nothing important. This is an excellent book by a psychologist who is unafraid to take some unpopular stands. It gives a very good account of what it is to be a baby, and approaches childcare from the standpoint of the baby--what's best for the baby, even if it is inconvenient for the parents. She doesn't pull many punches, and I really respect her for it. Many find her too militant in some ways. I don't like Penelope Leach. And it isn't that I have read her books. It is that I see a lot of posts the go "Penelope Leach says" and then are followed by comments like "if you don't breastfeed you aren't a good mother" or "never trust your pediatrician". SO I may be blaming her for the opinions of those who use her books as the child care bible. Penelope Leach, BABYHOOD: Stage by Stage, from Birth to Age Two; How Your Baby Develops Physically, Emotionally, Mentally. Alfred Knopf, 1990. ISBN 0-394-53092-6. [sources incl. amazon] A kind of YOUR BABY AND CHILD but more 'scholarly'. Cites the literature on some of the issues covered in YOUR BABY AND CHILD. Also more comprehensive. Not as enjoyable as the former. White, Burton - _The New First Three Years of Life_ 1985, 1995. Prentice Hall Press ISBN 0-13-317678-9 [sources incl. amazon] Based on the Harvard Preschool Project research, an unsentimental, very informative look at development in the first 3 years, as well as which childrearing practices seemed to work the best. Very interesting, though sometimes wrong--he says, for example, that babies don't like `Busy Boxes', whereas all the babies I know have loved the one we've been trading back and forth. I hope he's more accurate on other facts! Excellent for getting from the library. Good rebuttal to Doman's harmful "Better Baby Institute"-- explains what babies should be learning instead of flashcards! He discusses over and over again (or maybe it's just that I've read it over and over again? :-)) how to balance respecting a child's desires with teaching them that other people's desire also have to be respected. Frank Caplan: "The First Twelve Months of Life" [sources incl. amazon] Princeton Center for Infancy and Early Childhood, Has a month by month coverage of motor, mental, and language development. Also includes a chart summary at the end for the busy months when you meant to look at the book, but couldn't find the time. It's similiar to Dr. Brazelton's books, but faster to read. Frank and Theresa Caplan: The Second Twelve Months [sources incl. amazon] I don't think anyone mentioned [this]. (yes, there is also a "The first twelve months".) This is similar to What do you expect the First Year in that it is organized month by month and goes in to what is typical. When Peter approached 1 year I to feared withdrawal from What do You Expect, and searched in vain for the rumoured sequel. But as Pete turns 19 months tomorrow (gosh, those teenage months go fast) and we have beome Veteran Parents :-) , and as he has changed from a baby into a little boy, I find myself not reading the books quite as regularly. My wife still does, tho.-- Wally [posted] William Sears: The Baby Book: Everything You Need To Know About Your Baby From Birth To Age Two (1993) Little Brown and Company, Boston, Toronto, London, US$19.95 (paperback). [sources incl. amazon] I particularly liked the Baby Book by Sears for charts on foods, developemental milestones and the like. It's supposed to be about the first two years of life, although it has a lot more on the first year of life, but since Ben is now 19 months, I too, find that I don't read as frequently. I think that may have something to do with the fact that I no longer sit down while at home.... I am always am running after a very short person. -- Myriam Davis [posted] My wife first borrowed [this] from our local LaLeche League library and we liked it so much we went out and bought our own copy. We tend to be book junkies and we greaty prefer this book to the other standard baby books we've seen.The advice is down to earth and reasonable and doesn't treat infancy and childhood as a medical condition, like some books. But then we've gotten to the point where we reflexively change channel whenever T. Berry Brazelton comes on tv (little Tommy is OK, it's just Mom an Dad that have to get their own problems straightened out (gag)). We've liked the discussion the book has on introducing solid foods and also the discussion with diagrams of different ways to use a baby sling. We love our baby sling and the alternatives have been helpful now that our 6 month old is often more interested in being vertical (sometimes upside down) and resistant to being horizontal. The book also has a good discussion on choosing whom to assist with birthing and where; we wish we had seen this about a year ago, when the thrill of first being pregnant was starting to be replaced by the realization that the little tyke was eventually going to have to come out. As you would expect, the book goes quite heavy on Sears views on what he calls attachment parenting and also on sleep sharing. Some people may find this out of the mainstream, but we like it. I have no connection with the authors or publisher nor any a financial interest in the book. Try checking it out of your library first. --Charles Mitch [posted] Lansky: Toilet Training (1993, Bantam; 0-553-34070-1) $5 [sources incl. amazon] Everything I could ever want to know about this topic. (I think - Beth isn't trained yet :-).) I highly recommend [this] to all "Cyberparents" who are going through the enormous task of toilet training your children. Organized, easy to read, lots of good quotes, up-to-date, and most of all VERY helpful information. -Kunjal Doshi [posted] Laura Zahn: Bringing Baby Home: An Owner's Manual for First Time Parents Down to Earth Publications, Stillwater, Minnesota) [ISBN # 0-939301-91-1] $8.95. [sources incl. amazon] I was very happy with [this].It has bunches of sensible advice for the first few days and weeks when you need sensible advice; it only covers the first month, though. -Jessica Litman [posted] Toilet Training in Less Than a Day [sources incl. amazon] Before we restart the "it's all the parents' fault" flamewar, let me suggest that your friend's case sounds ideal for the methods described in TOILET-TRAINING IN LESS THAN A DAY. I usually dislike this book (the reinforcement methods described seem extreme to me), but its methods were originally designed for special-needs. Even if your friends read the book and dislike the overall method, it contains many useful tips that you can abstract -- for instance, having a doll demonstrate the use of the potty, and the best grip to teach a toddler for pants-lowering. --Betsy Hanes Perry [posted] June Oberlander: Slow and steady Get me ready: 260 weekly developmental activities from birth to age 5 (ISBN 0-9622322-0-3) [sources incl. amazon] This has lots of fun things to do with your child that help by having the activites geared to what the child is able to learn at that age -- approx. of course! For example, Week one is called "Move Body Parts" and is mostly you observing your child and how their body moves. Week two is reaction to light. Week three is moving an object in front of the baby and week four is making a cradle gym -- for a week you spend a part of each day trying to interest your baby in the moving objects . I used to do this (before I got the book :-)) by having Jack sit (lean) against my thighs, facing me, as I sat with my feet flat (so we were eye-to-eye) and holding various objects up for him to see. This worked great in sunlight, where I could catch the rays coming in thru a window and re-direct them with a shiny object. I like the book a lot. -- Mary Anne Walters [posted] Joan Leonard: Tales From Toddler Hell - My life As A Mom Published by Pharos Books - New York [OOP; try your library or amazon] My wife and I have not long both read the book "Tales from toddler hell". What a great book - it had us in fits of laughter. It is really just memoirs of a Mum reflecting on her and her husbands life before and after having children. Despite the title, the book is really funny because much of what she writes about every parent must have encountered at some stage or another - all those funny little things that happen that seem disasterous at the time but are hilarious to look back on. I thoroughly recommend the book as humorous light reading for Mums and Dads! -anonymous [posted] Steven P. Shelov: The American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring for your Baby and young Child. Birth to age 5. Bantam Books. [sources incl. amazon] The best. --Roberto Murguia M.D. [from a post] Tine Thevenin: The Family Bed (Avery 1987) [sources incl. amazon] Thevenin's _The_Family_Bed_ is the only book that I've ever considered to be so bad that I destroyed my copy, lest it mislead some poor soul who might find it at the used book store. If you want to read a sane person who writes in favor of the family bed, read William Sears. Thevenin is a crackpot who does not deserve to be widely read. For example, "where do the parents have sex if the kids are in bed with them?" is a popular question, which I've seen answered creatively on, but Thevenin goes off on a tirade against Americans' being so obsessed with sex that they would even ask such a stupid question--why would you want to have sex with your spouse, anyway?--and then talks about how it used to be considered normal to have sex in front of children--uh, okay--or even *with* them! Huh??! What a useful answer *that* one is! What about pointing out that there are other rooms in the house? This is the only example that sticks firmly in my head, but I recall that the book was full of them. -Paula Burch Eisenberg, Murkoff and Hathaway: "What To Expect the First Year" [sources incl. amazon] This is a very useful book which is less handy in terms of quickly getting to a topic, since it's organized month-to-month and takes the form of questions and answers. But, there are very useful sections by the authors on introducing solid foods, stimulating the infant, etc. Stern: "Diary of a Baby" [sources incl. amazon] This is a unique book, in that this doctor tries to paint a picture of a baby's life THROUGH the eyes of the baby. Using the latest research in infant development, Stern really brings you into the life of a baby. It's fascinating reading.

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Last updated: March 2, 2003
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