Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Today: Baby Body Signs by Joan Liebmann-Smith and Jacqueline Nardi Egan

While I found Baby Body Signs (Bantam) to be a tremendously interesting book, I’m not convinced it’s a good idea. While it’s interesting to know when a snoring baby is okay and when the snoring might be a sign of sleep apnea and it’s probably not a bad thing to know what sort of freckles might signal a rare genetic disorder, is this really information that new parents should be loaded up with? Let’s face it, they have enough to deal with just getting through the night without having to be concerned that a baby with swollen breasts might have a hormonal problem. After all, there’s plenty of time for hormonal problems later on: say when the kid hits her teens. Isn’t it best, sometimes, to just let babies be babies?

That said, if you do want a book about the health of babies, this is a good author duo to look to. Liebmann-Smith is a medical sociologist and is on the advisory board of Healthy Children Healthy Futures. Nardi Egan is a medical journalist and editor: these two are able to write lucidly and knowledgeably about babies and health.
Our purpose is not to pressure parents into “playing doctor.” Nor is it to make them more anxious than ever about their babies’ health. Rather we want to educate parents ... so that they can detect and correctly interpret their babies’ body signs.
Still, I’m not sure loading first time parents up with a lot of extra information is wise. They have enough to worry about without now having to check for pigeon toes, blue skin and orange, yellow or green poo. It’s a deeply interesting book though -- and capable of providing many hours of fascinating reading.

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