Parenting Books – Friend or Foe?

When you first learn you’re expecting a baby its completely natural to turn to your friends and family, the internet and of course parenting self-help books for guidance and support. The prospect of bringing a tiny little human into the world for the very first time, with no qualification requirements or instruction manuals to hand, can be more than a little daunting and most Moms to be want to collect some basic insights into what they can expect when their baby arrives.

However, with the huge amount of varied opinions that are shared on how to effectively raise your children, are these parenting books actually helpful, or do they cause more harm than good?

From books on how to get your baby to sleep through the night, self-settle, introduce solids, deal with picky eating, potty train or even how to raise a well behaved child, a quick google will bring back a whole wealth of parenting books designed to help parents navigate through the challenging world of parenting.

Whilst these may be helpful at times; it’s also important to approach parenting books with caution.

Parenting books can be really helpful as a source of advice, guidance and support, helping reassure you that what you are experiencing with your baby is completely ‘normal’ and that you are not the first person to experience some of the more challenging moments with your baby.

Reading parenting books is also a great way to absorb information and form your own opinion, trying out approaches to see if they work and finding a parenting style that if most effective for you, your partner and your baby.

At times it can feel like you’re the only person in the world who has dealt with tongue tie, poor latch, sleep issues or toddler tantrums, and the reassurance that these phases and milestones are common and can be resolved can be helpful in preventing frustration, upset or anxiety.

However, after having my first child I very quickly learned that when it comes to raising a child, not everyone is on the same page; with lots of different approaches to parenting, none of which are better or more ‘correct’ than the other.

Parenting books do have a tendency to be a little preachy, but sadly, there is no one size fits all – our babies are unique individuals with their own personalities and as such, there is no one magical approach to parenting that will guarantee success.

Reading parenting books out of desperation can also be incredibly overwhelming; leading you to put immense pressure on yourself, compare yourself to others or at its worst, rely too heavily on a set approach which can cause you to become rigid or stressed about following a specific routine.

Whilst parenting books definitely have their place, no one is an expert in YOUR child.

My advice for Moms to be would be to use all the sources available to you. Appreciate that when it comes to parenting, you are always going to see differences of opinion.

If you do choose to buy a parenting book, check out the author credentials – are they parents themselves? Are they medically trained? Do they provide science behind the facts or is this simply a book full of opinions and hear say?

Learn to take the content with a pinch of salt and find a rhythm that works for you. Ultimately, parenting is a bit of a rollercoaster, and regardless of what the books say, you are likely to experience a variety of good and bad days as you and your baby become more familiar with each other and the world around them. Roll with them – it’s often far more rewarding when you figure things out along the way!

Lucy Cotterill
Lucy is a UK-based parenting and lifestyle blogger who has also featured in the Huffington Post. A Mom of two daughters, Lucy is passionate about sharing the true reality of parenthood and helping others through their first experiences. In her free time she loves to write, go on day trips with her family and photography.

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