This book was a gift. I had heard mostly bad stories about how strict and difficult the routines were, so it didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t read it until our daughter was four months old. I was working around my daughter and could never plan a day, not knowing when I would be able to shower, have something to eat, talk on the phone in peace or have a sleep. But if you follow this book and stick through the tough times, it does work – well it did for us. After five days she was sleeping from 7pm to 7am with a 10.30pm feed, and I felt happy and organised and started living my life more during the day and also being able to spend time with my husband at night. You don’t need to stick to everything to the tee, but as long as you follow feeding, sleep and bed routine times, that’s the main thing. Taking a more relaxed approach to her very structured plans worked for us.
Liz Clayton, Time Out Kids reader
Save our Sleep, Tizzie Hall
This book literally gave me and our baby, who was six months at the time, the gift of sleep. It was given to me by a friend when I was really struggling with getting our daughter to sleep through the night. First of all, the book helped me lose the guilt and understand that crying is just a baby’s way of communicating, and also that helping a baby to self-settle is one of the kindest things you can do for them. Within just one week of following the steps to the letter, we had our baby in bed by 7pm and sleeping through the night until 6am (although it was a tough week!). While providing a routine of sorts, the book helps you to understand baby sleeping patterns and isn’t too draconian – I would recommend this book to anyone.
Miranda Hilton, ‘chief mum’ at Babysouk.com
First time parent, Lucy Atkins
I had absolutely no idea how to look after a baby, so I thought I’d better find a book that could at least explain the first steps after birth. I looked on line and searched ‘how to look after a newborn – books’ and this is the first one that appeared. It’s really down to earth and simple to understand, and you don’t feel as if looking after your first child is going to be like a Mars space mission. While it tells you what sort of system you can follow, it doesn’t put pressure on you to follow every rule. It also gives bullet points down the side of the page that link to what you have just read, so it becomes an easy to read reference point. I didn’t have a clue what to buy for a newborn, and it gave me some great ideas, and pointers of what to buy, and what was a ‘nice to have’ – so i didnt feel under pressure to have the whole of Mothercare delivered to the flat.
Asha Sherwood, Time Out Kids reader
Complete First Year Planner, Annabel Karmel
My mum bought me this while I was pregnant with my first child, with a view to making sure I was looking after myself during the full nine months (as I was obviously a bit clueless). While it had some great recipes for both mum and for weaning a baby, I found the rest of Annabel’s advice to be invaluable. I had bought other baby books, including Miriam Stoppard, What to Expect and Gina Ford (one word: argh!), but I always found myself going back to this one thanks to its practical, non-judgemental advice on everything from sleep patterns and child development to treating nappy rash and dealing with illnesses. And because the recipes were so simple to follow, the book lasted until way passed the first year.
Claire Glasby, Editor at Time Out Kids
The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book, Dr Maggie Blott
This was my pregnancy bible. What more can you need as a mum-to-be than a day by day guide on how your baby is developing, along with pictures of how your baby looks on any given day of your pregnancy. It truly helps you to understand what your body is going through each trimester and how you can best support the growth and development of your baby. This book gave me such comfort and reassurance and helped me to relax and enjoy my pregnancy. The highlight of my week was every Friday when I had passed another week of my pregnancy and I could read about what the week ahead had in store for me and my bump.
Abby Wilks, Director of House of Comms and mummy blogger at www.theadventuresofmarleysmum.com