Review: Babies & Toddlers For Men

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Mr MilkChic is now an “experienced” Dad (not old, oh no… not old at all!). He has managed to father one child right the way through to adulthood, and we have high hopes for the other two… so I felt he was well-placed to review this book.

Babies & Toddlers For Men is a parenting guide aimed at Dads. It’s a very practical guide and having managed to prise it off Mr, I reckon it’s pretty good for Mums too.

Most books seem to either be very factual (at 5 weeks, your child will weigh xlbs, enjoy high contrast pictures, have mastered 5 types of cry and hold their head up) or be focused on “managing” one aspect of a child’s behaviour (sleep, potty training, learning French…). This one is unusual because it manages to sit somewhere in between – giving the information you need, and telling you what to expect without prescribing solutions for what, in most cases is just normal baby behaviour.

Mark Woods manages to cover some fairly unfunny and sometimes sensitive subjects in a brilliantly witty way. It’s a really honest guide to what being a Dad is really like and we both really enjoyed it, which is something I can’t really say about a lot of the parenting tomes. You know that it’s a good book when you find yourself reading sections out loud to each other:

You can feel intense irritation and impatience before breakfast, frustration and despondency by lunch and an acute sense that you need to earn 37 times more than you do now just after tea.

Oh yeah!

The book is organised in 3 monthly chunks, with sections on key issues for each stage and comments from real Dads, which bring them to life. There is great honesty in covering subjects like lochia and the shock of sex (or lack of it) after childbirth, and he expresses with eloquence that mixture of pride, exhaustion and unbelievable frustration that a young child can bring.

There’s a sense of a chat with mates, which makes it very readable. It’s completely up to the minute, covering the online networks that keep mums going (and why we need them), parenting politics and the way toddlers can work iPhones better than their parents. It references recent research, relates to the real world, and is non-judgmental, which is refreshing.

And the breastfeeding?? There are certainly some bits we felt that could have been better researched (I flinched when I saw that he recommends a certain self-styled “breastfeeding expert”, who has no formal qualification beyond a few years as a midwife in the mid-80s… presumably before on-demand feeding was recommended!). But for the most part, breastfeeding is covered well, with lots of practical information about benefits, the Dad’s role, and the pressures their partner might feel. I particularly liked this comment about dealing with difficulties:

Your support, love and understanding are crucial. The social and moral pressure that some mums feel to succeed as they put themselves through hell can be overwhelming. Knowing that you support her whatever the outcome will go a long way to giving her the belief to either carry on trying or to make the switch to formula.

All in all, a fabulous book that really rings true, and one well worth reading.

I did not get paid for this post but I did receive a sample copy of Babies & Toddlers for Men to read and keep. I follow the Britmums Blogging with Integrity Guidelines – I always write honest and truthful reviews and disclose any perks I receive!

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