Monday, April 11, 2011

Books on Having a Second Child

I was able to get a hold of five different titles about having your second child. Here is what I thought of each of them. You can skip to the bottom of the post to see my conclusion on the best title. (They are listed in the order I completed them, also known as the order my inter-library loan delivered them).

And Baby Makes Four by Hilory Wagner - This book was a good place to start for information about having your second child. It covers most every aspect of the transition, but doesn't go into much depth on all topics. For example, there was a lot of about choosing if it is the right time to have a second child (which was an unnecessary two chapters if you are already pregnant), but only a single paragraph on new sleeping arrangements. Overall, what this book did best was getting me thinking about the problems we would face, the many possible reactions Natalie could have, and possible solutions to problems. It also was very supportive about the rough times lasting only a short while in comparison to parenthood and your knowledge and skills for parenting already gained from your first child. Other than the brevity in some spots, there were a couple other negatives to this book. It is a bit dated; a newer edition with web sites instead of mail order catalogs is necessary. Furthermore, when I looked up on Goodreads many of the children's books listed for preparing your first born for the newborn, most of them had no ratings or reviews, which makes me question the selections and my ability to find them

From One to Two by Judy Dunn - I would have to agree with other reviewers that the tone of this book is pessimistic. The author's research on sibling rivalry may have contributed greatly to the direction of the book. It had a lot of information about how your child might react to a new baby, but didn't spend much time on the possible positive reactions. There was advice on how to help make the transition smoother, but it stressed that research shows that there is no evidence that this prep helps much and that no matter the initial reaction, it doesn't indicate anything about later relationships between siblings. There was a lot of advice given about all the problems presented, but most of it wasn't that surprising. The most common pieces of advice were not to force things and to provide lots of love for your first born. One of my biggest annoyances with this book was its insistence that mother's bathe their children alone. Why would you attempt bath times alone if you have the option to wait for your spouse to help you at bed time? That should have been the advice given versus how to distract the older child or how to bath them together alone. A couple other things annoyed me personally, such as saying the father will be exhausted too (not if he isn't getting up at night because you are breast feeding) and that you should get out for breaks both alone and with your spouse (again, not for a couple months if you are breast feeding exclusively). So, in general, I didn't like how this book wasn't as supportive of breast feeding. Lastly, I disliked the formatting. The way the headings for the lists were formatted wasn't consistent. Sometimes the font would be in caps, or a different size, or italicized, or there would be bullets. It should have been the same every time. I also disliked the author's frequent use of italics for emphasis. Overall, this book was not a waste of time, and it did get me thinking about some different issues about caring for two children, but it wasn't a pleasurable read and wouldn't be my go-to book on the subject. I would not choose this book to give as a gift to someone having their second child.

Welcoming Your Second Baby by Vicki Lansky - This book is a waste of time if you are planning on reading any of the other books listed here. I easily whipped through this book in two sittings. Most of the information was repeated from the other two books on this subject I had read already. There were a few new ideas, but most of it was repeated or dated. All the book suggestions for your first child to read were from the 70's and 80's, most of which not even with color photographs. This book also discusses birthing mostly in terms of hospitals that use delivery rooms, epistitomies, and nurseries, which isn't the trend at the moment. Also not very supportive of the stay-at-home breast feeding mom when it says, "When possible, have your spouse watch your older child while you nurse the baby." Such brilliant advice covers maybe two nursing sessions a day our of ten or twelve! Definitely NOT the best choice of books on this topic.

Twice Blessed by Joan Leonard - By far the best book on this topic I've read. I really liked how it was not just about preparing your first born. In all honesty, that was all I was looking for. My mentality when starting these books was how to get Natalie ready. But, as I read this book, I really appreciated how it spend equal time on preparing all the aspects of your life, spending pretty much just as much text on preparing yourself and your marriage as it does on prepping your first born. You must be thinking, if I liked this one so much, why don't I have more to say about it? I don't have anything really to complain about for this title. But, the specifics of what I learned from this particular book of the five I read has faded. In fact, since I read five books on this topic, and the newer authors had read the older books, there was a lot of repeated information. Mostly, it is the tone and scope of this book that makes it the best choice. So, long story short, unless you are crazy like me, don't read all of these books. Read just this one. It is realistic in scope and what to expect. Its tone is also pleasant; not doom and gloom and not birds following Snow White. In my mind, it provides the most information on what the average woman wants to know about preparing her whole family for a new baby.

Your Second Child by Joan Solomn Wiess -The cover on Amazon looks far more modern than the one I read, which is the one I pictured here. One of the idiosyncrasies of this book is that it is 30 years old. So, when the author talks about how revolutionary it is that children can now visit their mothers in the hospital, or that babies are whisked away to the nursery except at feeding times, it is odd. Overall, it isn't so much the age of this book that makes it not a favorite for me, but the scientific approach. While its all good to base practice on research, this book is too much about studies and not enough about practice for me. The perfect example is the chapter on how birth order affects child. Paragraph after paragraph of studies tell us little tidbits about what studies have shown about birth order. Some of the studies were old 30 years ago, and most don't agree with each other anyway. Why would anyone want to read this chapter in the first place? If you are set on having a second child or are already pregnant, what good does it really do you to know how birth order will affect intelligence, creativity, and popularity? Its too late now. I will say that it got me thinking about my family, my husband's, and others I know, and how our family will turn out, but in general, it was way longer than necessary. It mostly was backing up or debunking the rumors you hear about second children. This book about your second child was the slowest read for me. The beginning repeated a lot of the information I read in the other four books. The middle was too scientific. The end picked up, but wasn't as much about when baby arrives as the years down the line. That was good and sets this book apart from the others, but wasn't what I was interested in at this moment. It would be worthwhile to reread the ending in a couple years.

Beyond One by Jennifer Binghum Hull - I couldn't find a copy of this book within my library system. Its out there and comes up with these other titles as a suggestion on Amazon, but I can't give my personal opinion.

Conclusion: If you are only going to read one book on this topic (which is probably all you really need unless you are a worrier, book freak like me), then you should read ... Twice Blessed by Joan Leonard.


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