Feature image from BOOKCOVER
BABIES! A Parents’ Guide to Surviving (and Enjoying) Baby’s First Year, by Dr. Christopher Green.
I’m not going to lie; I did not like this book.
There are some positives about this parenting guide for a heterosexual couple’s first year with a white middle-class baby, but these positives do not outweigh the negatives in terms of information for parents.
From the opening paragraph, it’s clear Babes! has been written by a man, aimed at women. The general tone of the book is that women think they do everything and think men are hopeless. There is an underlying presumption throughout the whole book that men are not even able to feed themselves without women, or function basically as a human being without being nagged at.
Ok, so I have so many problems with this book, I’m just going to focus on a few. Here we go…
A whole section of this book is dedicated to the idea of new mothers being a Party Pooper! Which sounds like a good idea - Don’t be boring around your friends - Good motto.
However, the idea layed out in this book is that it’s ok to be a complete party pooper with a newborn and that all of your friends just have to put up with it because “one day their turn will come.” Um, what the fuck?
So, what it’s saying is that you can be a boring bore and your friends just have to put up with you no matter what and when they have kids they can do the same because ultimately we all want to eventually be boring, and all have kids!
Fuck! What about people who don’t ever want kids? Or people who can’t ever have kids? Or women who would like to remain an engaging individual who’s friends still like them after they have kids?
The section on the Dethroned Dad is kind of a good concept too, but again described and explained appallingly. Here is an example of the kind of horrible writing you will find in this book - I feel like this book was written in the 18th century (It was not, 1988)
…It’s a good idea to make sure that Dad is fully conversant with nappy changing, because his involvement will mostly be needed. Don’t be misled by the view that fathers have some physical or psychological impairment that prevents the from engageing in this activity. (Oh My Fucking GOD!! Is this for real?)
The basic premise of BABIES! assumes that ‘normal’ is a woman at home all day with a baby struggling to cook dinner at 5 o’clock while a depressed overlooked moron of a father returns from work to a bitchy nag. If this sounds like what you want from life, then this is the book for you.
Also other wonderfully horrific words from the wise Dr. Christper Green. This time on Handicapped children, so brace yourself you may need to read it twice to believe it.
Those of US who have children who are not handicapped should be truely greatful. We are extremely proveledge and should never forget it.
Need I say how insulted I am with this writing? I hope a person with a handicapped child never picks up this book because it’s just for ‘normal people’ with ‘normal kids’. Apparently having a handicapped child is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to anyone. I am actually getting angry writing this review.
But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. Wait till you hear Dr Christoper Green’s idea of people who are alcoholics or people who binge drink… Well “they should simply, never even have children.” Quote! They don’t need to change, or seek medical advice, or reconsider their health. And if they do fall pregnant well I think this doctor suggests they do everything but keep it.
Here are the good bits (reasons not to throw the book away)
This book offers a step by step breakdown of what a baby goes through in the first moments of life, their feet, eyes, muscles, digestion, and ears. It’s incredible and informative. It’s the first time I’ve read about what it would be like for the baby. Usually, there is only a focus on the mother. It makes sense to try and see the whole birth experience from the babies point of view. Tick!
Another great aspect of this book comes near the very end. Here it details of common problems that a new born or baby may encounter. These include skin conditions, birthmarks, digestion problems, reflux, and colic. The doctor who wrote this book knew a lot of info, what to expect when the babies have these problems and how long they will stick around. This part of the book is a really interesting read. This book should have stuck with the science and kept it’s nose out of the social and emotional stereotypes.
Would I recommend BABIES! A Parents’ Guide to Surviving (and Enjoying) Baby’s First Year to any person ever? No. Would I refer to this book during my babies first years (if I already had a copy) Yes.