Monday, May 20, 2013

The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year by Erin Macpherson

The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your First Year as a Mom by Erin Macpherson, is a good introductory book offering simple and practical advice for new moms.  This book is not a stand alone thorough reference like the Dr. Sears baby reference books, yet it makes an entertaining edition for those moms who can't get enough new mom advice.  What makes this book unique is the inclusion of spiritual advice as well.  While this book is not overly spiritual, the author reaches out and acknowledges those moms who are Christians and who do read the bible.  Basically this hybrid book is a baby parenting book with a few spiritual suggestions and a few applicable bible verses mixed in.

The author Erin Macpherson speaks to the reader based on her own parenting experiences and style. Her writing style is personalized and reassuring to the new mom.  It is clear that she is a parent herself. Yet, at times this book almost seemed to be an marketing outreach of a big box baby goods store, with its many references to the latest baby gadgets. It is apparent she is speaking from the view of a mom who financially affluent.  Yet one issue I found is this book is a little too  materialistic, as the author makes numerous references to products that she feels are neccesities, as well as her reliance on smart phones, video monitors, ipods and other expensive equipment.  For example not all moms can afford a $50 nursing pillow or an expensive video monitor- which are listed in her book as neccesities. The baby carriers mentioned such as the Ergo or Baby Bjorn run close to $100.  Less expensive alternatives aren't even mentioned.  A Wubbanub pacifier is listed as a necessity.  Firstly, for a breastfeeding mom any pacifier introduced in the first 4-6 weeks may cause nipple confusion and may even sabotage nursing efforts.  To suggest that a pacifier is a necessity is just not good advice for all moms. And needless to say a gimmicky pacifier with a stuffed toy attached hardly seems like a necessity. Less expensive and more practical alternatives should have been offered such as a carefully placed pillow serves fine for nursing.  Or, a less expensive $23 carrier works just as well, or it costs less than $10 to make your own Moby wrap with cloth from a craft store- which is a lot less money than a $60 Moby wrap which simply consists of a long piece of jersey knit cloth.   The fact that less expensive or handmade alternatives are not included in this book -almost would make it seem as if the author may be advertising for these expensive items.  At least there are ideas on how to procure some of these items second hand.  But, asking "grandma" to buy obviously speaks to a younger generation of new moms. This seems to contrast greatly with the biblical teaching on materialism, and I feel this will exclude and alienate many new moms who are not as financially well off and cannot afford these items.  If anything, this would help a new mom navigate the newest trendy baby products on the market when preparing a baby shower registry.

To the author's credit some useful advice is offered for breastfeeding and the postpartum period. This is especially helpful for first timers. Once you get past the product suggestions (endorsements) in the book,  and references to social media and popular television, some advice was actually useful in dispelling commonly held myths.  For example, the advice about breastfeeding and persevering is very accurate.  Furthermore, coming from a trendy young mom such as the author will make the advice all the more palatable, especially in regards to a sensitive topic like breastfeeding which can quickly turn controversial. There are also tips on healthy eating and a brief summary of the pros and cons of popular parenting books and methods which are pretty useful for those investigating different parenting books. The information about baby health issues and pediatricians is useful as well. Overall, I feel this new mom's book will be an effective outreach for the typical new, young mom that is into trying the latest baby gear and products.  As far as other less financially affluent and working class moms, I feel such readers will feel alienated. Yet this is not a surprise as the pink polka dot cover depicts a cartoon of a young, fashionable, thin trendy mom holding a bottle. As a blogger for booksneeze I received this book published by Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing this review. 

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