Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to Expect When Mommy is Having a Baby: A Book Review

One of the things that parents prepare and sometimes dread is the talk about the birds and the bees.  How much information should we give and are these information age appropriate?

My daughter was 5 when she said that she wanted a baby brother; 7 when me and my husband started trying for baby number 2 and 8 when I finally got pregnant.  My husband and I are already anticipating her questions when we stumble upon the book written by Heidi Murkoff.  What to Expect When Mommy is Having a Baby is every parent's best friend.  Heidi Murkoff is the co-author of the book What to Expect When You’re expecting.  The book answers questions from how babies are made to how babies get out of the womb.  To make it more fun, the author created a character named Angus who gives out bits of information along the way. The book is recommended for children ages 3-5 but we still find the book useful even if our daughter was 8 when we found this.

The first part of the of the book is the author's note to the parents -- congratulating them on the new baby and acknowledging the fact that explaining the pregnancy to a toddler could be quite a challenge.  The book not only answers some of the questions and at the same time the topics in the book could serve as a springboard for further discussions.  For some who might be reading this book to anyone younger, the author recommended that the parents should read the book first and decide which information is appropriate for their child/children. 

Each pages addresses a question that children may have.  The answers were straightforward and any child could understand.  There are also activities for the kids in relation to the question.  My daughter's favorite activity was to roll herself in a blanket because according to the book, that's how the baby feels like inside the uterus.  She's probably done that almost everytime we finish reading it.

The topics that were covered are:

  • Where is the baby?
  • How did the baby get in there?
  • How can a baby fit inside mommy?
  • What makes the baby grow? How can I help?
  • How does the baby eat?
  • Can the baby hear and see me?
  • What does the baby do all day?
  • Why doesn’t mommy feel well sometimes?
  • Why does mommy go to the doctor so much?
  • When will the baby come out? How does it get out?

We found the book at a perfect time.  We sat down as a family to read it and took time to answer additional questions.   The most difficult question that my daughter asked so far was, “Mama, where is the birth canal?  Can I see it?”  So you can imagine what our faces looked like she asked that.

What I love about the book is that it helped my daughter somewhat understand what any mommy is going through when she’s pregnant.  If I don’t feel well, she’ll just say “I know. You’re not sick. You’re just pregnant.”  Then she'll give me a kiss and run off to bug her father.  The book was instrumental in bringing us closer and getting her emotionally ready for her baby brother.  The time we spent together just talking and telling stories about the time when I was pregnant with her never fails to put a smile on her face.  And when her brother was born, she has nothing but love to offer to the new member of the family.

(This blog entry was posted in Smartparenting's online publication.)

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