Pregnancy and Baby books...Help or Hindrance??

The other day I was speaking to a Mummy friend of mine that reads my blog (Hi if you reading!!) and she said

 'Oh I have thought of such a great thing for you to write about on your blog as the other day I found my pregnancy and baby book that I was reading when I was pregnant and it made me so bloody angry!! I had a look at what *Bubba* should be doing at the age she is now and well, by the sounds of the book, she is going to end up on drugs, too fat and totally undeveloped!! Its so ridiculous!!'.

She really me laugh as her Bubba and mine are pretty much the same age and they are both such happy, health, clever babies that are developing so well in their own different ways and for a stupid book to suggest any different was just plain stupid!! It did get me thinking though....

Bubba at almost 8 months.
When I was pregnant, I had a pregnancy book teaching me all about how pregnancy, what to expect, what to think about before birth and what to expect after the birth. I read the first few pages and then chucked it under my bed (where I think it still lives to this day!). The book was so pushy and unforgiving of circumstance. When I had Bubba I (in a perfect world) wanted a water birth and to start with gas and air then work up as needed. What I actually got was a week long stay in hospital whilst I was induced due to dangerously high blood pressure, a epidural and a 23 hour long labour. Before I had Bubba I wanted to breast feed him straight away and stick at it if it didn't work. What I got was a poorly Bubba who had an infection, could latch on, had to be taken to NICU twice a day for an antibiotic IV and bloods taken after every feed to check blood sugar levels. This meant to I bottle fed. I guess I could have tried harder but it was an emotional time anyway so I just don't think it would have worked for us. If I would have really taken everything my book said about birth and feeding to heart then I would have felt like a total failure but in hindsight, I know now that what happened was just the way it was and I now have a health, happy baby.

Even now, when I look in the book and see what my Bubba (at almost 8 months) should be doing it says:

  • 'May be crawling at this age'
  • 'if not crawling then should be 'bum shuffling' or slithering around on his tummy.
  • 'May clap his hands when his happy or wave good bye'
  • 'points to objects that he wants and coo's towards them'
  • 'have a minimum of 20 Oz of milk per day'
  • 'should be averaging 11 hours sleep of a night and 3 hours in the day split between 2 naps'

When in reality he is:

  • No where near crawling!! His little budda belly is too big for his arms to hold up at the moment (bless him!!)
  • Once again, the belly gets in the way for slithering and he does a little bum shuffling but really he just moves his legs around a wobbles like a weeble!
  • He chews his hands. That whats his hands are for at the moment...chewing. Oh and grabbing hair, noses, phones and generally anything that he shouldn't grab. No clapping or waving (even though I do force him to wave whenever we say goodbye in the hope that it will click). 
  • The only pointing Oliver does it when he is poking you in the eye or nose and as for cooing...I WISH! we get high pitch screams or raspberries 99% of the time.
  • This milk one is a huge cause of worry for me! Some days Bubba has 25-30 oz plus his 3 meals and then others we have to fight to get him to take 10! Its so difficult but I have just resigned myself to the fact that hes not going to go hungry and he is just having an ''off milk day''. 
  • Sleeping for Bubba is pretty good but its the same as the milk. Some days he has more (we are currently in the middle of an epic 2 hour nap!), some days less. All of our other Bubba's that we know have such different sleeping patterns that I don't see how anyone can come up with an average of what a baby needs.

When I compare what the books says to reality, its shocking and if I wasn't surrounded by people who tell me to just throw the book out of the window I would be totally paranoid about it all!

What I am trying to say is that I think we really need to think if these books are a help or a hindrance. All babies and Mummy's are different and we all do things at different times. Yes, read them if they make you feel more knowledgeable and prepared but remember what my friend told me...

'You can read all of the pregnancy and babies books in the world and then throw them out of the window because your baby hasn't read them'.

What are your thoughts?

This post is linked with:


Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk


  1. Oh yes, I still to this day vividly remember my husband coming and yanking the book out of my hand as I sobbed that our baby wasn't doing what it said and telling me to "read the baby not the book" #maternitymonday

    1. Ha! I love that comment from Hubby! :) totally true xx

  2. I haven't read any baby books and decided to just trust my instinct instead. As long as he's happy and healthy and gaining weight I'm not too worried!! I think it's all too easy to get caught up in what babies should and shouldn't be doing xx

    1. totally right. A lot of it comes down to your instinct! Every baby is so different as well xx

  3. I read a couple of pregnancy and baby books, and I found them to be somewhat helpful, as they do apply to the average pregnancy and baby, but you have to remember not to take these books too literally as everyone and every baby will be different! I know this is much harder to do in reality though as it's human nature to compare ourselves to others! #mummymonday


  4. Ah yes. Fab post! My mummy didn't read any pregnancy books....she just watched a lot of OBEM and joined an NCT class! That seemed to do the trick! #TwinklyTuesdays http://www.dearmummyblog.com

    1. Ha! Think OBEM should be shown at ante-natle! lol!!

  5. Great post!I read a couple chapter about birth then left the book to collect dust on the bookcase. I did stress about everything when Leo was a baby though and often found myself frantically searching through netmums for reassurance!xx

    1. Yeah, Babycentre was my weakness! was constantly on there looking for reassurance! :)

  6. Funnily enough I did a post last week on the pregnancy books I found the most helpful. I turned to them constantly because I found them reassuring (pre birth) and I really was pretty clueless about babies. Each baby is different though, as you say. #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Think they are a marmite type thing...you either love them or you hate them :)

  7. I found them useful to an extent. I read a range and they gave me ideas as I was clueless about babies but I could see how contradictory they were and just filed the info away in case it was useful. Some was and some wasn't. The one part that I never found any help was the 'your baby should do this by then' sections. They should be called 'How to cause undue stress sections'. So unhelpful. Love your last statement about babies not having read the books. Made me giggle.

  8. I found books to be somewhat useful, especially What to Expect the First Year as a reference when my littles were ill. Mostly, I looked at it to answer the question, "Will my pediatrician refuse as patients if I call yet again about this?" However, I knew going in that averages are the very middle point and that there's LOTS of variation to either side. I just told myself, "Who wants a totally average kid anyway?" and looked to a variety of literature to figure out what was in the regular range of "don't worry about it". I definitely think that if I took a single book as gospel, I would be far more neurotic than I was.

    Thanks for linking up at #TwinklyTuesday.

    1. Ha! I think my GP was thinking the same thing about me sometimes!!
      Thanks for dropping by :)

  9. I guess it just goes to show that every baby is different and the books are written for the average baby - whatever that may look like. The books may prepare you for what's to come, but in reality when your little one arrives somehow you now what's best. Thanks for linking up to #sharethejoy