The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years

Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham. Perigee, $20 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-17106-2
Journalists Haelle and Willingham have made an ambitious but uneven attempt to build a comprehensive evidence-based resource for new parents. The book shines with clear explanations of the reasoning behind common hospital practices such as labor induction, vitamin K shots, and taking Apgar scores, including up-to-date summaries of the sometimes overwhelming-data surrounding giving birth and infant care choices. Subjects of controversy, such as allergies and sleep training, receive in-depth, scientifically minded treatment. The results will please information junkies who like to think their choices through rationally and comfort those who want justification for currently unpopular choices—such as for bottle-feeding over breastfeeding. Nevertheless, this guidebook overstates its lack of bias and its scope–the vast majority of topics covered fall between the prenatal period and the first few months of life—and suffers from poor, confusing organization and a lack of bottom-line summaries. The lack of footnotes and paucity of primary references, combined with a “what we did” section at the end of many of the discussions, contradicts the explicit message that parents should educate themselves. Instead, it conveys an implicit attitude that the authors should be trusted as research-savvy experts and smart parents rather than as data consolidators. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 04/05/2016
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