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Review of Quirk’s The Baby Owner’s Books

Normally, I don’t review three books in one post, but I’m making an exception for this set of baby-related books.  When the publicist at Quirk found out my husband and I were having our first child, they kindly sent us some reference guides on caring for her.

The Baby Owner’s Manual by Louis Borgenicht, MD, and Joe Borgenicht, D.A.D., can be used as a reference guide by all new parents and probably some who already have children.  The main approach of the book is similar to how a manual would talk about your new stereo or other consumer product by first describing its parts and functions and then discussing care and maintenance.  There are tips on how to perfectly swaddle the baby and how to deal with emergency situations.  Included also is a section on what accessories are not included, such as bottles and diapers, and a caution that some “models” may vary.  New parents don’t have a ton of time to read this book cover-to-cover, but it is easily dipped into for advice, particularly if they encounter a particular problem at feeding or bed time.

Readers will enjoy the instructional tone, but also the witty nature of the concept of baby as product, which eliminates the need for hard-to-understand medical jargon and other instructional nonsense that leave parents confused or bored.  Most of these tips are practical and easy to employ without incurring great expense, which is fantastic since most things related to babies are expensive and time-consuming.

The companion The Baby Owner’s Maintenance Log wasn’t as useful given that new mothers and fathers are merely scrambling around trying to find time to sleep, let alone write down each feeding and bowel movement.  Inside, there are spaces to record name, birth weight, eye color, bowel movements, feeding times and ounces, and of course developmental feats like rolling over.  To be honest, readers will not likely have time to write all of these moments down, though doctors will expect you to know roughly how many ounces the baby is eating, how frequently, and how long s/he sleeps.  It would be a blessing to have all of that information written down in one place, but from a practical standpoint, it is unlikely to happen unless the parents are super-organized and write down the details in the moment.

Finally, The Baby Owner’s Games and Activities Book by Lynn Rosen and Joe Borgenight offers a wide variety of activities to do with a baby and is grouped by specific age ranges to ensure proper development.  Again, this reference guide offers a fun and non-clinical look at development.  Surprisingly, I found myself doing some of the activities outside our daughter’s age range, but she seemed to just go with the flow and gobble up the knowledge.  The age ranges are not hard and fast rules/categories.

Babies tend to learn by modeling after activities done by their parents.  If you make a funny face, they will try it to — emulating you.  If you clap, they will try to clap.  Its fun to watch babies grow and adapt to new activities, even at ages younger than those outlined in this book.  There are probably activities that new parents will not have thought of or done that are included in this book, like having their child smell different flowers, etc.  These are merely exercises in development, but also in having fun with baby!

Overall, Quirk has an excellent set of baby manual books to help new parents that won’t be overly prescriptive or boring.  They will teach new parents and babies alike, but also be fun and enjoyable.  The only one in the set that seems least useful is the log book, but that’s just due to time constraints.  It could come in handy for parents who have nanny’s or babysitters and want to know what their baby did when they were at work or having date night.

This is my 40th-42nd book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

  • The games and activities book sounds most fun. The whole “baby owner’s manual” idea sounds like it could get a little over the top and forced, but it does seem practical. Now we can’t say that kids don’t come with instruction manuals!

    • I didn’t read this owner’s manual cover to cover believe me. I’m sure the concept would wear thin after a while, but what new parent really has time to read all that cover to cover! 🙂 I love that we can now say there are instruction manuals available for kids.

  • I think books suggesting activities are great, because so many parents don’t know what to do besides plopping a kid in front of a television!

    • I agree….its just funny what you end up doing with an infant normally, like talking to them or showing them their reflection is considered an activity and I had no idea…I was just doing it on my own with prompting. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve accidentally gotten her hooked on Price is Right, though mostly its the big wheel spinning in the showcase showdown that she loves…must be the noise and the sparkles.

  • Thankfully, I”m out of the market for those books right now!

    • True, but they would make good gifts…maybe when your son gets married and has his own kids!

  • I agree the log isn’t really practical for new parents. I tried to fill things in The Girl’s baby book but even fell off the wagon on that. I think the last book sounds most interesting, and I could have used it when The Girl was an infant! Wiggles is a smart one, so I’m not surprised that she’s enjoying games outside her age range.

    • I really enjoy the games book most, but the owner’s manual is fun to read….and there are some great tips in it. I’m trying out the olive oil one for cradle cap.