Book Review and Giveaway!

I bought several pregnancy books (including What to Expect When You’re Expecting) so I could keep up with my babies in utero. To prepare for outside babies, I got several more books, each with a specific focus (twins; sleep; medical stuff; soothing techniques; developmental leaps). I wondered if there was some kind of all-encompassing book that would tell me everything in one place. However, I didn’t even attempt to find out if there were such a book, because it just seemed too overwhelming. And once they were born, I certainly didn’t have time or energy to pore over crowded shelves at a bookstore.

So when I was contacted recently by What To Expect and asked if I would be willing to do a review and/or giveaway of their book series, I was pretty psyched to learn that there IS an all-encompassing book! What to Expect the First Year talks about everything new parents want to and need to know about their new and growing babies.

The bulk of What to Expect the First Year is organized by month (the first month, the second month, etc), so it’s easy to pick up and find the information relevant to your current baby needs. Included in the month chapters are mini information sections about things you need to know and things that you might be concerned about. Within the Fifth Month chapter, for example, there’s a section on feeding. [That organization is actually my least favorite thing about these books (I noticed it in the pregnancy one too)–a lot of information is kind of scattered all around the book. I suppose I just need to remember to scan the Table of Contents in case there’s something of use in a different section than wherever I’m reading.]

The book is very even-keeled and non-judgmental, which is much appreciated. It rationally and objectively discusses both sides of hotbutton issues like formula vs breastfeeding, cloth vs disposable diapering, circumcision, and immunizations. It’s clear that this book is not a parenting philosophy book, it’s a book about helping you do your best with your baby. It’s also prone to silly extended metaphors.

There are some sections at the beginning that talk about foundations like baby gear, doctors, feeding, and babycare basics. If you’ve ever read *anything* about babies, you’ve likely already read plenty about some of those topics–but again, I definitely appreciate having everything in one place.

There are also several appendices: One is a collection of baby food recipes, which, as a non-cook, I definitely appreciate. Another is a list of childhood illnesses. It’s all too easy to wonder and worry and obsess and worry about baby health, so I will probably be skipping that section, personally. However, there’s also a collection of easy-to-understand ‘home remedies’ as well as a medicine dosage chart. Knock on wood, my babies haven’t been sick yet, but when it happens (and it surely will, over and over again), I will be glad to have a resource to refer to.

So far, I’ve read a few full chapters and skimmed other bits and pieces. The parts I read had information that I had probably already seen in various other places, but again, I like having everything all in one place and in print (as opposed to online, where it’s so easy to go down a rabbithole of links). And every source has slightly different information, so it’s still good to read ‘again.’

So overall, I think a book like What to Expect the First Year is a great addition to the new parent’s bookshelf, as a starting reference guide at the least. I’m sure I’ll be picking it up each month to scan for development expectations, milestones, and assorted tips.

Now on to the giveaway–my very first one! Exciting!

The books available are:

What to Expect Before You’re Expecting

banner-395

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

whattoexpect.com750

What to Expect the First Year

adbanner-69

To enter, leave a comment with the title you’d like to win (make sure you include your email when you ‘sign’ your comment, so I can contact you).  Open to residents of US and Canada.

The deadline is Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1159pm Pacific time. Two winners will be chosen at random.  I will update this post with the names of the winners by Sunday, June 16, 2013.

Winners are Rabi and Glogirl! Congratulations and thank you all for playing!!

For more, visit the What to Expect website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

I received the books for review, but was not compensated. All opinions are my own.