An Australian mother of four (including a set of twins) and trained nurse/early childhood educator provides common-sense advice and practical suggestions for families with newborns and toddlers.
Drawing on her personal and professional background, MacRae follows the usual format of organizing sections by age, with newborns receiving the most attention. But special divisions for food, sleep, activities, etc. are offered for every age, all following her “Try to keep it simple and workable” philosophy. Advice for parents-to-be sets the practical, user-friendly tone: “[T]ake time to obtain a small notebook to write down a list of any questions you may have….Take this note book with you so you or your partner can…ask all the questions you have collected.” Observation and communication are emphasized throughout; new parents are encouraged to trust their instincts: “Learning to understand these signals is not as spooky, difficult or new age as it sounds, because for the most part it means listening to your heart!” On the sometimes controversial topic of breast-feeding versus bottle, MacRae is clear—“Breast feeding provides the perfect food for your baby”—but, she says, “a contented and happy mum will produce a contented and happier baby” and “as long as she is 100% happy with her decision, then she should go with it and try not to worry about the pressure and opinions of those who might question the path she has chosen.” A cartoon owl with a speech bubble accentuates helpful tips, while clear, black-and-white photos periodically support the text, charts and tables (all metric). Thorough and knowledgeable, MacRae’s guide may not surpass the bibles of the baby care world, but she doesn’t overwhelm, either. Like a wise and experienced nanny, she’s direct—“On no account do I believe any crying baby should be neglected to become distressed”—and supportive: “Please remember, these are learning days for both mother and baby.”
Establishing easy routines is the backbone of MacRae’s approach; her easy-to-read, practical advice and reassuring tone are the heart and soul of this up-to-date how-to manual.