The worst pregnancy books (as determined by formerly pregnant people)

December 5, 2012

Hey, Kate Middleton! Congratulations on your pregnancy! I bet that’s sort of a relief, now that all the pressure of getting pregnant is off.

I know you read this blog so I wanted to help guide you as you peruse baby books. There are so many out there, and what’s useful to you probably depends on what type of mother you want to be. So instead of recommending books, I figured I’d present to you a list of the least helpful baby books, according to myself and some other moms I know.

The Happiest Baby On The Block
The premise of this book is a fine one: Your baby isn’t sleeping because it’s operating from its weird quasi-formed lizard brain, but there are five ways you can help coax it back to sleep when it awakes to terrorize you. However, a whole book doesn’t need to be written about this. I would have gladly paid the same amount of money for a brief pamphlet detailing the “Five S’s” (swaddling, shushing, side/stomach position, swinging, sucking) but felt like I was going insane as this message got repeated over and over again in book form.

Your Pregnancy, Week-by-Week
My friend Stevie said, “This book informed me during week 32 that green tea was something to stay away from. My problems are a) I am not sure that's true, and b) WEEK 32 is not the time to tell someone avoiding caffeine to avoid green tea.”

What To Expect When You’re Expecting
Annie had it up to here with the diet this book presented: “You know, bring a package of wheat germ along on your vacation because restaurants may only have white bread and white bread does not have the best odds for your baby! Oh, and you need to watch your weight so you stay sexy for your husband. And, once a week, give yourself a really decadent treat, like a small fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt! Bleah.” Kate (not you, Duchess, another Kate) agreed: “The whole back third of [the book] was full of horrible things that might happen to your baby. I mean, it's good to be prepared, but this was like reading ‘Doomsday Baby.’”

The Baby Book
Annie didn’t like this one, either. “I threw the Dr. Sears book across the room one day. He was going on about the evils of rice cereal and said something about how babies don't have teeth, but mine cut teeth at two months (early, but not freakishly so) which was a Major Pain when nursing. My beef was: a) the assumption that all babies are the same, and b) you are turning your kid over to the heroin dealer unless you follow the rules exactly.” Stevie added, “Dr. Sears is a little preachy and routinely pushes his family's privilege (like his sons' wives being able to sleep whenever because they stayed home).” Annie pointed out, “I also liked how he slipped up and mentioned how his wife worked after going on about how mothers shouldn't work.”

On Becoming Baby Wise
Kristen found this book “Judgy, religiousy, awful. I remember being INCENSED by the religious aspects of the system they lay out in the book. The system is, basically, you need to have a schedule on which you feed your kid and let him or her sleep. There's a three-hour cycle: sleep, eat, play, sleep, eat, play. There was a lot of judging of parents who didn't do this as immoral or deficient, and I remember at one point the authors compared letting your kid cry because he or she is hungry to Jesus suffering on the cross. It might have been the post-pregnancy hormones, but the whole thing made me sick. It struck me as very harsh and used conservative Christian ideas to justify its harshness. I couldn't believe the friend who recommended it to me had really read it and thought it a good idea to pass it on.”

Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child
The author of this book works at the practice we take our son to, and my friend Elizabeth requested that I kick him in the shin for her if I ever ran into him. “I found the entire book to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. It tells you what babies do, not what you should do with your baby or how to encourage your baby to do what is being described. And practically every page says, ‘Never wake a sleeping baby.’ Well, thanks, that's just so helpful. In all fairness, I was trying to read this book in a sleep deprived state, which is just a bad combo. I have since given up on all parenting books and try just to follow baby's lead or ask my pediatrician when necessary. Otherwise, you could drive yourself nuts!”

There you go, Kate. What can I advise you? Don’t drive yourself crazy. Eat what you want but try to exercise when you can because it’ll be good for your digestive system. Order three sets of sheets and three sets of waterproof sheets and layer them all on the royal crib (this will make sense in the middle of the night). Otherwise, you got this. Good luck!
 

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