New Dad’s take on must read “baby books”

Three books reviewed below:

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4th Edition
  • Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, 2nd Edition
  • Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads

    So amongst the months of recent and varied technical site issues, I was also combating the utterly ambiguous feelings of fear and excitement of being a soon to be/new dad. Jenn (my wife) found out she was pregnant late last year, and we were expecting a birth in mid-August. We were trying to keep it on the down low in many arenas, so this is the first time I have made mention of it here on my site.
    At this point, I am a new Dad, my boy Finnegan was born safely (woot!) and the wife is doing well. I am proud to have a new perspective on a number of things. I also have the unusual task of talking about “Baby Books” when normally I am well entrenched in some form of fiction.

    As a reader, I did what could only be assumed as right, I read a bunch of books on the topic in an effort to prep myself. One was near unreadable, Others far more enjoyable and informative. What I want to share here is a lesson to other prospective Dads who are looking for hard data to rely on when emotions are high.

    What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4th Edition -
    I started with WTEWYE hoping to get insight into the world of prgnancy. This is THE baby book, the one that everyone is supposed to read. The 4th edition was purported as a “cover to cover” revision, tailored to the newer generations. It is supposed to be more hip, more easily read and having a “friendlier voice”.
    To be honest, this book was akin to stereo instructions. It dragged on and on, and it’s friendlier voice seemed to me to be a bit snarky and mocking. I am not sure if the intended readers would be reading this as the first book in a decade of non-reading, but it was truely painful to get through and I commonly felt “talked down to”. The over zealous cross referencing that occured, the heavy handed presentation of simple concepts, the utter lack of definitions for some medical terms that should have been laid out for me.. It was counter intuitive.
    With that said, the information included in the book was definitely helpful, but the presentation was out of whack. Expecting Fathers should still read this, but approach it better than I did.
    • Skip the first section entirely. It is pre-conception stuff. Do not even bother with it. If the woman in your life is preggers, you don’t need it.
    • Skip directly to the “Emergency birth, what to do if you go into labor in the middle of nowhere” section. Just get it out of the way. you know you have wondered about it.. Do yourself a favor and just read it now. Watch for keywords you want to look up afterwards.
    • Next, Read the table of contents . If there are specific section you are interested in, hit those next. It is better that you get the details you wanted before you get bored and put down the book.
    • SKIM! Skim every chapter before you read it! The data in the book is useful, but with the presentation issues many readers are bound to overlook or avoid certain topics. Use a highlighter. While skimming, if you locate a section detailing “Warning signs”, “symptoms”, or other danger words “Stop-highlight-backtrack-reread”. you will want to easily find these later.
    • If you are done, be done.. It doesn’t matter if you are 3 chapters or ten chapters in. Just stop. Don’t torture yourself. If you have lost interest, the book has lost value.
    Pick it up, but pick and choose how you read it.
    I am on the fence on this one and could argue that it is past it’s prime, and no longer required reading for expecting parents.

    Next on the list was Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, 2nd Edition -
    This book was GOOD! It was written in a very well thought out manner. In many areas it is easy to consume like a “For Dummies” book, but with out the condescending feel that comes with that title series (or the “What to expect” series).
    It opens with actual birth, and post birth care. As a Dad, this where the man’s role really gets defined. What will you do, how do you do it. The book is written in a very conversational manner. I found myself laughing at some of the descriptions, and devoured the info it provided. This is still a “how to” so you may consider picking it up early and reading it the month prior to birth. You wont have much of a chance after the fact.
    As the voice of post pregnancy sanity, knowing what is in store for you is vital, and to be honest, your human incubator counterpart will appreciate it as well. Knowing when to deescalate her concerns will keep you both in check, while ensuring that things stay sane and your family is healthy.
    Where WTEWYAE dropped the ball, this scored a touch down. It was informative, readable, convincing, and filled with tidbits of time savers and cluepons for all of us dudes. You should still pick and choose what chapters you are interested in and prioritize, but the change of making it to the end of this guide is very high.
    • Pages: 375
    • Publisher: American Academy Of Pediatrics; Second Edition (2010)
    • ISBN-10: 1581104448
    • ISBN-13: 978-1581104448

    And finally, Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads -

    This was bought for me by my wife as an early fathers day gift. At first glance, it looks like a gag, but the further you get into it the more you realize this is a priceless tome of knowledge.

    Brought to market in a trade paperback format with thick durable gloss cover, this book is designed to look like a Boy Scout handbook. Guess what folks? It is not a joke. this book is A-Maz-Ing.. Amazing.. Beginning with week 1 and breaking it into sections of months, each portion is tailored to common concerns you may run into:

    • How to get a baby to sleep when sleep just isn’t happening
    • How to cope with going back to work when your wife and kid are at home without you.
    • Simple exercise you can do to make that horrific baby carrying backpain go away.
    • Constructing an emergency diaper out of a towel a sock and some duct tape
    • If you can recognize a tongue in cheek, you will find that every page of this book is catered towards making life easier for the dad of the house. The mom should also read this book as it is hilarious and informative. The basics of burping, changing, stroller buying.. all from a male “don’t tell me how to do it, I can figure it out with out instructions” point of view.

    Every man I know going forward who is having a kid will receive a copy of this book from me. If all else fails in this book, the thick wipe-able cover will make it a good teething companion at some point.

    Please note: on of the authors of this book also created the “Pop-up book of Phobias”, which is a classic..

    Pages: 240
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2004)
    ISBN-10: 0743251547
    ISBN-13: 978-0743251549


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