Ah…refreshing. I just received a copy of Jen Singer’s Stop Second-Guessing Yourself: Baby’s First Year, and it was a breath of fresh air which I inhaled in less than a day.

It’s an excellent book: sympathetic, understanding, and not as judgmental as some of the official first-year bibles seem. (There’s lots of black and white in those books, and with my short-term breastfeeding and belief in sleep training, I always felt like I was the ‘black’. Not so with this one.)

Singer offers all perspectives (breast and bottle, several schools of sleep tips) so it’s not just her opinion…although she and I seem to agree a lot. She writes in a casual, informal tone and includes many sidebars funny enough to cause concern for an incontinent new mom. Example? “Baby Milestone Charts According to the Moms in Your Playgroup”, referring to the competitive braggarts whose children are always ahead of ours: “3 months – Pushes up on to his hands while lying on belly, and adds a clap between push-ups, like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky 4.”

I also love her perspective on getting out of the house with and without baby (and NOT asking Daddy’s permission before leaving the kids with him…I guess I wasn’t the only one guilty of this.) Plus, I totally agree with her that society today is (too) childcentric; not a popular viewpoint in some circles.

This book is a wealth of baby information (diapering, feeding, babyproofing, illnesses) but with a “you’re normal, you’re doing fine, trust your judgment” undertone the whole way through.

Stop Second-Guessing Yourself: Baby’s First Year is an essential gift for a new or expectant mom. But if you’re already past that phase, I have good news! (Other than the fact that you’re past that phase.) Singer has also penned (or more likely typed) Stop Second-Guessing Yourself: The Toddler Years and Stop Second-Guessing Yourself: The Preschool Years, which I wish had been written even earlier. I could have used them to complement my more factual, baby-centred reference manuals. Even though my “baby” is well in to her third year (and my big girl in her fifth), Singer’s book helped to affirm many of the decisions I made during the all-important first 365 days and, as instructed, I have stopped second-guessing myself. As much.

You can find more of Singer’s writing at http://www.mommasaid.net/. It’s kind of a major blog. Yes, even bigger than This Mom Loves, if you can believe it. And here’s a coincidence: she met Kelly Ripa this summer too!

Disclaimer: I was provided with the above-named book for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own. I’m sure you know this by now.

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