Monday, May 25, 2009

Book Review: The Expectant Parents' Companion

Today I'm reviewing another book loaned to me by my doula: The Expectant Parents' Companion by Kathleen Huggins.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book just from the title, but the subtitle is the giveaway: "Simplifying what to do, buy or borrow for an easy life with baby." The book starts with some good checklists of things to do at different stages, such as interviewing and selecting a pediatrician in the third trimester (something which I've not finished yet and I'm not anxious about at all).

The subsequent sections delve into each to do and buy item in more depth, such as: buy a stroller. The stroller section goes into great detail about the types of strollers available, and the pros and cons of each. This was the first place I read a good explanation of what an umbrella stroller is!

There is a substantial section on breastfeeding and another on formula feeding - the formula section is a lot longer, but of course, it's a more complex topic. Overall, the book is very pro-breastfeeding and briefly reviews a number of the reasons why breastfeeding is better, whenever possible. The author is lactation consultant, so if it weren't pretty pro-breastfeeding, I'd be surprised...

This book contains loads of practical advice, aimed at new parents who want to learn about what types of baby gear is really necessary, and what are (expensive) optional items. It appeals to my frugality a great deal. It's written clearly and accessibly for complete newbies like me!

If I were editing or writing a new version of this book, I'd include a section on getting stuff for free or cheap. There are a lot of ways to do this, including using your local Freecycle, swap meets, and of course, inviting people coming to your baby shower to bring you their hand-me-down goods. My recommendation is to be specific about things you want new, or about which you are very particular: for me, I'm feeling fussy about the crib and stroller I've picked out but the rest of it - whatever!

Let me know if you've read this and what you thought of it. I'd love to hear from you if you've found or written a good must-have (or waste of money) list of baby gear as well.

I'm off for a week's vacation, so I may be offline for awhile. Hope you have a great week - see you next time. Thanks for stopping by.


Shannon said...

I dont' think that book was out when I had anna. Don't sweat the pediatrician, thing. They're just for kid illnesses that a GP can't deal with. When you and I were little we went to a ped for everything, but now they just get sick kids referred to them.

CaroLyn said...

Hey Shannon, thanks for the thought. Any advice that starts with don't sweat the... makes me pretty happy these days. Good point about the GP - I have to check with mine as I've never seen a kid in his waiting room. I'm leaning towards finding a ped anyway, since I'm hoping to find one who speaks Spanish (as our GP doesn't) and isn't a pill pusher (as I feel our GP is)... I guess I just don't have a lot of confidence in him - a large part of the reason why we see him is that he takes our insurance and he's right across the street from us. He's not a bad guy, just always in a rush...