By Gea Meijering
iCare Press, 2008/2009
Softcover, 77 pages, $14.95
Reviewed by Summer Thorp-Lancaster, http://peacefulbeginnings.wordpress.com
The First 8 Days of Being a Mom is an English language translation of a manual given to new moms in the Netherlands, the Kraamwijzer.
For many moms, the initial magic of new baby is quickly overshadowed by the realization that this tiny person is entirely dependent upon them for everything. This is can be especially true for women who give birth in the hospital, where the sense of being totally alone and responsible hits hard upon returning home.
This book is intended to help moms know what to expect in those first chaotic days after baby’s arrival. It includes space for journaling/record keeping each day. At only 77 pages, it is an easy carry along for those birthing in the hospital.
I liked the inclusion of midwives (they are the main care provider for pregnant women in the Netherlands) doulas and home births, which are still scarce in “mainstream” publications here. The author has carefully mentioned both vaginal and cesarean births, which makes this book appropriate for anyone. It concisely and clearly covers such basics as bathing and feeding, including both breast and bottle, with pictures to help further understanding. There is also a strong emphasis on asking for help when needed, which is essential in the first few weeks and months.
Some of the downfalls of the book include the choppiness that comes from translated texts, no bed sharing information and somewhat inaccurate sleeping information, as well as a strong reliance on “call the professional” instead of self-knowledge. I found this last bit extremely difficult to swallow as I feel it is important for new mothers to trust their knowledge as primary with a “professional” as the secondary opinion. In my opinion, no one knows baby better than mama (except maybe daddy!).
Overall, this book would make a nice quick-reference guide for first time moms or refresher for veteran moms. The inclusion of the journaling pages moves it into keepsake material, which balances out the somewhat hefty $20 price tag. [editor’s note: special price currently on website is $14.95]
Disclosure: a complimentary copy of this book was received for review purposes.