Book Review: The Other Baby Book, A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year
Ready to get your cradle rocked? The Other Baby Books, A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year, greets readers with this inviting question, before jumping into a wide range of family-centered topics that are delivered by the wonderfully likable voices of writers, Megan Massaro and Miriam Katz. The Other Baby Book creates a community of support for new families, focusing on the power of the mother-to-mother connection, with a discussion-style presentation of research-based topics, while including the personal sharings of mothers, who in their own voices, share their first-year experiences.
Covering much more than the subtitle lets on, the book actually begins before the first year. It touching on the planning and preparing for your upcoming birth, making it a great read for mothers-to-be, whether it’s your first pregnancy or not. And the charming introduction offers the lens from which to read the book, with Massaro and Katz sharing their sole purpose for writing this new mama guide, and that is to “bring to life an often-forgotten truth: a mother’s instinct is the best resource she has to crease a joyful and connected relationship with her baby.”
Their hope is to empower every mother to gently and committedly to do their own “gut check” with all that is offered to them as new mothers, whether through cultural “wisdoms,” ideas that are pounded through the media, or even “experts” to whom we look to for help and information.
Massaro and Katz speak to what so many mothers are seeing and feeling today, and that is that “Motherhood has been targeted by advertisers, and bombarded by opinions masquerading as medical necessities.” Their intention behind writing this book is to help mothers reclaim a simpler, more connected first year with their babies based on a mother’s own heart of true joy and relationship.
In The Other Baby Book, you will learn the “whys” behind so many tried-and-true mothering wisdoms, like the incredible healing and protective qualities of vernix (the waxy, cheesy coasting your baby is born with) and why waiting to bathe your newly born baby allows your little one to take full advantage of nature’s perfect plan for immunity.
You will also learn the science behind the magic of touch and physical contact that benefits not just your baby, but mothers as well. Highlighted in the chapter on Touch, is a terrific section on babywearing, which is what Boba Family is all about. Massaro and Katz offer up what stats on what generations of mothers already know; that your baby cries less when held close to you throughout the day, whether by babywearing and carrying. Boba founder and babywearing educator, Elizabeth Antunovic shares with readers how babies and mothers benefit physiologically, psychological and emotionally from babywearing. Antunovic, also a mother of four, details the benefits of upright babycarrying in the book with this,
“With a baby upright on his mother’s body, mom adjusts to all her baby’s movement, and he to hers, moving like perfect dance partners. Constant feedback from his skin and the fluid in his inner ear help the baby understand space, and his place in it. A baby’s muscles become stronger as they respond the varied movements of mom’s body and the force of gravity.
Its no surprise that babies carried upright scored higher on both motor and mental tests in the first of life. The rich environment worked the babies’ neural pathways.
Carrying a baby upright on your chest regulates his autonomic system. Studies have shown that a baby’s heart rate stabilizes, his body temperature regulates, he transitions more easily from one sleep state to another, and actually sleeps longer. His breathing becomes steady, he has less chance of apnea, and oxygenation of his body increases. While on his mother’s chest, his systems are kept at a regular tempo. When apart from his mother, a baby works twice as hard to maintain physiological harmony.
A mother can trust her intuition. By holding her baby close to her heart, she uses the most physiologically beneficial method of carrying her baby, proving the optimal environment for her baby’s psychological and emotional growth.”
Massaro and Katz have written the book that was missing from our bedside tables, by accurately covering a mother and baby’s first year together with practicality, kindness and humor. And all the big first-year questions are covered, from breastfeeding and introducing solids, to diapering and EC, but most importantly, how to build your trust in yourself and your mothering wisdom as the authority for your family. I love that this book is in the world and being shared. Taken in and taken to heart, it will go far in supporting the growing, world-wide movement to heal birth and our families, beginning as it should with the mother-child relationship.