Book Review: Parenting Magazine's Baby Must-Haves

Baby Must-Haves: The Essential Guide to Everything from Cribs to Bibs (Paperback)
by Editors of Parenting Magazine.

Created in conjunction with the editors of Parenting, hundreds of mom testers, and more than 1,200 survey respondents, this indispensable, fully illustrated resource tells new parents what to buy, what to borrow, and what not to bother with.

# Paperback: 224 pages
# Publisher: Time Inc Home Entertainment (August 7, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1933821116
# ISBN-13: 978-1933821115



Success Through Play™ comments:

The Editors of Parenting Magazine, a family magazine that reaches over 11 million subscribers per month, have published this guide to help parents sift through all the products on the market and select their picks for must have baby items. The Editors have compiled their picks based on the results of a National Survey that they conducted with moms, plus feedback that they have gathered from their readers over the years. Ideal for first-time parents who are compiling their gift registry and wondering what items they really need and what items are "splurges". The book is divided into 13 sections with an index at the back for easy reference. The book focuses largely on major brand names and doesn't include the smaller companies, which we tend to favor. The Editors did keep in mind that parents are on a budget and included many picks from IKEA which we were delighted to see.

The book is very compact and small in size so it can easily be stashed in your bag for quick reference when shopping. What is very helpful is that the Editors include important information about what to look for buying baby gear so that parents can refer to these guidelines when shopping. This will help parents to quickly eliminate lower quality and unsafe items and narrow down their choices so that shopping becomes easier and time is saved. Print out this guide from the JMPA which is the ideal companion to this book.

Highlights of this book include "mom tips" which are listed throughout the book. Moms who have been in the trenches offer their advice and helpful hints to make that first year easier. We really liked information about what to pack in your diaper bag as well as suggestions for your baby's layette. Eco-friendly companies including Hanna Andersson which offers high quality clothing made from organic cotton and Oeko-Tex Certified Materials made their list. We were pleased to see that the Editors decided to include a feature about baby carriers and we hope to see this section continue to expand in future editions to include a wider variety of carriers including the ever popular Mei Tai design and smaller, home based companies. With all the baby products that you will be receiving and purchasing, the inevitable question about where to store these items arises. This book has a section on storage solutions which many books of this nature often omit. We like the book and music section which lists the Editors top picks in this area. Yes, there is a small DVD section however the Editors deserve praise for noting the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on TV, which recommends that children aged 2 and younger should not watch ANY television, including "educational videos and DVDs" and that children aged 2 and older be limited to no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. We liked the Editors list of criteria for what to look for when selecting a potty seat (pg 108-9) and the list of signs which indicate that your toddler may be ready to be potty trained.

The book is laid out very well and is a pleasure to read. The great contents section in the front and index in the back make finding items very easy. The compact size of the book is a bonus and it is lightweight enough to be stored in your bag for east reference. This book will make a gift for a new mom and will help her to narrow down her shopping list, saving her time and energy.

Questionable comments/content:

*We were surprised that this book didn't address the issue of toxic toys which is on the mind of many parents today and offer parents eco-friendly choices instead. The emphasis on plastic toys was very heavy in this book and we would like to see the Editors select high quality wooden toys in their future edition. PlanToys and Haba make age appropriate wooden toys that adhere to the highest standards with a large selection of toys sized just right for your baby's hand including many heirloom quality rattles and other toys.

*In the Keeping it clean section (56-57) the Editors list several detergents that are toxic and instead, we would have liked to see a list of non-toxic cleaners for the simple reason that babies have underdeveloped immune systems and it's definitely a great idea to choose the least toxic cleaning materials for baby and the rest of the family. There are so many non-toxic cleaning agents on the market or better yet, make them yourself using vinegar and baking soda. Google the net for "recipes".

*On page 95, the Editors list the recommendation of wiping baby's gum after eating with sterile gauze by pediatric dentists as "overkill to us" which did shock us! Any experienced pediatric dentist will tell you how important it is to wipe baby's gum with gauze or a washcloth after feeding, even before the little teeth have surfaced!

*Another questionable comment would be encouraging nursing moms to buy a nursing bra with an underwire when looking for a nursing bra (page 69), implying that only an underwire nursing bra will offer support. The bottom line is that there are brands out there that can offer support simliar to that of an underwire bra, but without the underwire, which many experts agree can potentially pose a problem, particularly when the bra has not been fitted by a professional. We would rather encourage moms to get professionally fitted regularly so that whatever style bra they choose fits them appropriately. Many experts recommend avoiding an underwire bra, especially in initial months of breastfeeding. That being said, a well fitted underwire bra may cause less trouble than an ill fitting soft cup bra, so the best option is to get professionally fitted. Bravado Designs offers suggestions for moms on their site when bra shopping complete with photos and examples.

*When talking about disposable diapers the editors comment: "The differenced between brands are minimal" (page 99). We would have to definitely disagree. The Editors failed to mention less toxic disposable brands which are gaining in popularity, such as Seventh Generation Disposable Diapers. These diapers are far more suitable for a sensitive baby's skin compared with Pampers, because Seventh Generation omits chlorine. The Editors failed to mention gDiapers, which are hybrid between Cloth and Disposable and are ideal for the modern family. The insert is flushable while the outer cloth diaper is washable.


Cece said...

As a matter of fact, I was paging through this book at my bookstore and have to agree with your comments. Maybe Success Through Play Magazine should come out with a guide :-) This book will help new moms narrow down their choices and the mom tips are worth the price of the book along.

Jen said...

Great review! This book sounds perfect for me. I am a first-time mom and totally clueless! It's really helpful to hear recommendations from experienced moms.

Bailey said...

Thank you for this detailed review. I really like the Bravado Designs link that you listed. It is SO helpful and informative.

Bella said...

There really are SO many products on the market that books like this one is a MUST have. I found that it did help me to select items to place on my gift registry and I liked the mom Tips as well :-)