I’ve read plenty of parenting books in my young and still-learning stage of being a mother. There’s plenty out there to choose from, but I was never one to follow the masses. In fact, when most buried their noses on the “What to expect…” series I was on the hunt for the Happiest Baby on the Block book. Not to say that What to expect wasn’t useful or informative, some mothers swear by that book and who could blame them? It’s stacked with useful information after all. However, between exhaustion and sleep depravation, the books I’ve been drawn to pre and post pregnancy have been those which are encouraging with pages that are simple to digest and easy to read.
So, when the author, Janeen Maxwell, graciously offered me her book, Help BabySleep: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to a Restful First Year for a review, I jumped at the chance. Anything that can make me a better parent (not to mention sleep better) and teach me something I have yet to discover is a plus in my book, and this book did that for me.
The book offers sound advice that is useful for any type of parent, but most especially to those brand new moms of newborns and infants. From her first chapter of parental encouragement to the all important tips on how to establish sound sleeping habits, Maxwell was able to not only offer sound suggestions that are practical and useful, but also show understanding of how those first few months of parenting can truly be challenging. Her honesty and transparency through each chapter and section offers new moms, a glimpse of what’s ahead of them, and how to navigate through the long and winding road of children infancy.
However, what I adored most about this book was the delivery of simple and practical advice. Ms. Maxwell’s words were succinct and her tips were anything but complicated. She offered advice that wasn’t trite or ordinary, but something I haven’t thought about or even knew before. For instance the idea of doing the non-essentials (wait, I don’t have to cook?) and the notion that I need to take care of myself as well as my baby (doesn’t the baby always come first?) were completely foreign to me when I became a mom. And had I read Help Baby Sleep… then, and taken her advice, perhaps I would have saved myself the exhaustion of having a newborn all those years ago. It’s one of those lessons I learned the hard way.
And that’s the beauty of this book: new moms will find tips, tricks, suggestions and short cuts that would otherwise be left undiscovered or overlooked within the pages of those What to Expect sagas and even those medical websites. Information is good, yes, but Help Baby Sleep offers more than just statistics and medical facts; it provides tried and true techniques from a mom that’s actually been there (five times over might I add…); it’s like having your very own motherhood coach in your back pocket. Janeen knows what it’s like, so she’ll get to the point, give you the strategies to “win” (or at least take back a bit of your sanity) without having to translate medical jargon or weed through the overwhelming facts.
So yes, the typical pregnancy and baby books offer valuable information, but perhaps a bit of wisdom for one who knows your experience firsthand should also be considered. Because let’s face it, reading up on the latest studies about the best way to sleep can be as thrilling and informative as they come, but nothing beats a technique that’s been done by someone in your exact shoes just years prior. And if it’s between a doctor’s facts and figures and a mother of 5 who’s been through it all, I’d take my chances and listen to the mom first. After all, she knows best in most cases.