Laughter and Tears

Elizabeth Bing, Author, Elisabeth D. Bing, Author, Libby Colman, With
Elizabeth Bing, Author, Elisabeth D. Bing, Author, Libby Colman, With Holt McDougal $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4157-6
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Expectant parents, who have likely read all about pregnancy by the end of the first trimester, can start reading about life after birth. Bing, whose Six Practical Lessons for an Easier Childbirth popularized the Lamaze method in the U.S., and Colman have collaborated on three earlier books about pregnancy, including Having a Baby After Thirty. Here, they offer detailed information on progressive stages of new motherhood: the hours after birth; the first five days; lying-in to six weeks; six weeks to six months; and six months to one year. They look at many facets of new parenthood, including the impact a baby has on his parents' relationship (couples get hung up on the ""Big Five,"" the authors say: money, division of labor, work, social life and their relationship). A particularly helpful chapter helps mothers distinguish between baby blues and full-blown postpartum depression. Also encouraging are quotes from the new moms interviewed for the book (""I really had no idea what to do with this tiny person""). The book's academic tone may put off some readers, but the content is sound and offers as much to obstetricians and pediatricians as to parents. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection. (Feb.)
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