pinky mckay’s books were recommended to me by a friend, so when i saw this in the book shop i picked it up. i’m really glad i did. it covers all the essential topics that new parents want to know about including bonding, feeding, sleeping, and play.

her writing style is clear, conversational, and in no way patronizing (like so many parenting books can be). she manages to make a great many useful suggestions without ever being prescriptive, or asking you to take her word for something without giving a reason. she promotes an attachment parenting approach (breastfeeding, babywearing, etc.), but isn’t evangelical about this, and makes a point of acknowledging that everyone’s different. the mantra throughout is always: “here’s an idea, but remember that you know yourself, your family, and your baby best, so always follow your instincts and do what works for you.”

the book is broken up into clearly defined sections, and while i read it cover to cover, it’s designed in such a way as to make it easy to flick through to information on specific issues (e.g. sleep, reflux, mastitis, play) as you need to. i think this is a feature i’ll be grateful for when the baby is here and i need a quick reference.

one little niggle i had was that in the introduction she acknowledges that families come in all shapes and sizes, but then goes on to use the basic mother/father structure in almost all her language and examples…

“families come in more than one form too – not just the traditional nuclear family. i would like to acknowledge this, but apologise in advance if i haven’t used the perfect terms to describe your unique family structure, whatever this may be for you and your child – single parent, blended, two mummies, two daddies and so on.”

… i feel like this is a bit of a cop out – it’s not actually that hard to use more inclusive language, and an apology at the beginning isn’t as good as making a real effort to do so.

that aside, this is one of the most useful parenting books i have read so far. so much so that i bought a copy for our brother and sister-in-law for christmas (they’re expecting in june!), and will be recommending it to other pregnant friends too.