Reading...a little non-fiction. A tale of two baby books




The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood


I'm not a big non-fiction reader -- I tend to start a lot of non-fiction, then lose steam. But nothing gets me into a non-fiction book faster than that oh-crap-I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing feeling of new parenthood. A friend loaned me The Girlfriend's Guide to the First Year, by Vicki Lovine and, I've got to admit that I didn't love it.
I can't put my finger on anything particularly terrible or offensive, it was just kind of...blah. Not like a girlfriend sharing her experiences in the first year of motherhood, but like a person acting like what they think a girlfriend would act like when sharing her experiences. Some of it was funny, but a lot of it just felt like it was trying too hard. And while it did have some helpful and funny information in it (particularly the section on the birth and post-birth hospital experience), nothing you couldn't find elsewhere.



Sleeping Through the Nigh
t, by Jodi Mindell, on the other hand, is excellent. It was gifted to us by a psychologist friend who has actually met the author, a well-known sleep expert. Mindell gives you a lot of general information about sleep in babies, children, and adults. She begins by talking briefly about behavior modification in general (because sleep training is essentially a specific behavior modification), then she lays out simple strategies for getting babies and toddlers to sleep better, and even strategies for adults who have sleep issues. Her approach is very practical, low-key, and adaptable to the personalities of individual parents and children. There's no DO IT THIS WAY NOW. The book is very much "here are some strategies, I think this one works best, but do what works best for you. The main thing is that everyone gets some sleep." She also talks about sleep issues like night terrors, sleep walking, sleep talking, and insomnia (in adults). And if there is any scientific information about sleep or any sleep issue, she gives you the facts and figures in a very understandable and approachable way. Of course, only time will tell how effective I find her information, but from a read-through standpoint, I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to give her strategy a try.

Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep