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My husband loved The Haynes Baby Manual when i bought it for him as a pregnancy present. A colleague of his at work who was also a first time father to be had bought it in and they had enjoyed flicking through it (especially the part about newborn baby's different poo's!) From looking at the contents online i thought it looked like a useful book so i bought it.
My husband found it to be very comprehensive in all areas of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting for the first few years. But most of all he found it to be written logically (like the traditional haynes car manuals) which he says men find easy to understand.
I ended up with hyperemsis during the pregnancy and an emergency c-section and although it didn't make it any easier, he said he felt somewhat prepared for what was about to happen and it wasn't so frightening. Also with great delight he showed me the contents of our newborn sons's nappies and compared them to the book.
I would highly recommend this book for the confidence that it gave my husband and the information that it gives.
After writing about lots of DVDs and video games, I decided it was time to do a write up on something completely different...
THE HAYNES BABY MANUAL
The Haynes... What? Baby what?!?
For those of you who are not very acquainted with Haynes manuals (much like myself), these are a series of books that are mostly aimed at car maintenance and repairs and DIY.
The Haynes manuals are named after John Haynes (OBE) who wrote and published a manual on building an Austin 7 Special in 1956. Haynes Publishing was founded in 1960 and since then there have been manuals written on many different subjects.
The baby manual is something very different though. It is aimed at new and expectant fathers with lots of great information about pregnancy, birth and babies from 0 months to 2 years old.
The front of the manual puts the above information into a style that makes the baby sound like a car - which is actually quite amusing in itself:
BABY - Conception to two years. All models, shapes and colours.
The baby manual has been written by Dr Ian Banks and is mostly written with men in mind. It's actually quite refreshing to have a baby book written for men. When Kate was pregnant with Eva, she borrowed and bought so many baby and pregnancy books it made my head spin.
She was almost constantly trying to make me read up on the pregnancy and birth before the baby was born - so that I knew what was happening when it all kicked off. If she wasn't asking me to read one of the books from end to end, she would approach me and say "Read this part... It's a chapter for daddies!". I tried to humour Kate as often as possible by reading some parts of the book but in all honesty, I found that I would quickly get bogged down with information overload.
After Eva was born, Kate's brother bought me this book. Peter's into motors and what-not so he had spotted this book and obviously thought it would be useful for me. I can say that he wasn't wrong. It's a very straight-forward book to follow...
The contents of the book are in headings that are mostly worded to sound like car-related information. Thankfully, there are usually plain-English definitions after them:
* Chapter 1: Ignition (when and how to conceive)
This section of the book deals with the conception of the baby. This is useful information for anyone trying to get pregnant before they actually get into the nitty-gritty with the sections on the pregnancy, birth and beyond...
1. Timing is everything:
This section explains the pros and cons of being a younger, middle-aged or an older father.
2. Getting started:
This section covers the ovulation process and explains pregnancy testing etc.
3. How to get there:
This section explains the fertilisation process - which is very interesting. It's always nice to know what's going on behind-the-scenes.
This also explains how the baby develops in the womb. For example, did you know?
* At ten weeks, the baby is about the size of your little toe and has all the recognisable external characteristics of a human male or female. At this stage, the face is formed but the eyelids are fused together. The brain is in a very primitive state.
* After three months the baby is as long as your little finger.
* In the sixth month, the baby is longer than your middle finger and weighs up to 800g.
As you can see, there's a lot of very interesting information that will really open your eyes to the procedure of pregnancy.
There's a theory that a woman becomes a mother when she knows she's pregnant but a man only becomes a father when he first sets eyes on the baby when it is born. I'm not sure I agree with that theory. Speaking for myself, I was really thrilled when I found out Kate was pregnant - although I confess I was extremely terrified about the prospect of becoming a daddy lots of times during Kate's pregnancy!
Whether or not the above theory actually is the case, there's a lot to be said for the old adage 'fore-warned is fore-armed'. There's certainly more than enough information to fore-arm any expectant father in this book.
Other areas covered in the first section include:
4. Confirmation of pregnancy
This section covers the pregnancy testing methods in a little more detail.
5. Impotence (erectile dysfunction)
As you can probably tell, this section delves into the problem of erectile dysfunction including possible causes, medicines and drugs that can be used to counter it, diseases which may be the cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment. There are also some avenues that can be contacted for further information on this problem.
6. Co-drivers (artificial insemination, IVF etc)
This section covers big issues such as infertility and the options open to couples affected by this problem. This includes options such as assisted conception, donor insemination of sperm and donor eggs.
Clearly this can be a devastating problem for some couples. This section also covers counselling and support options as well as other further information
7. One or two car family?
This section covers the numerous methods of contraception which may be very useful information for couples who have just had a baby (or may be too late for others that are also in the same situation).
Methods covered in this section include:
The male condom, the female condom, oral contraception (the pill), intrauterine contraception device (IUD), intrauterine contraceptive system (IUS), hormone implant (for women), hormone injection (for women), the male pill, female sterilisation, emergency contraception, natural methods, vasectomy (male sterilisation).
The above list is also backed up by a two page spread of all methods - some with possibility of user failure and the others with no possibility of user failure. Of course, as you can tell from the methods listed, the ratio between methods which can and cannot fail can be largely dependant on the longevity of the method (whether the method is temporary or permanent).
* Chapter 2: On-board diagnosis (stages, monitoring and complications of pregnancy)
This section covers much more information about the pregnancy itself and covers topics that are the things very few of us like to even consider as possible. Namely, pregnancy problems.
This section covers an introduction to pregnancy - listing some of the effects the pregnancy will possibly have on the woman - such as morning sickness (which in my opinion should be renamed morning, afternoon, evening and night sickness) etc. Other areas covered here are the stages of pregnancy and possible complications.
Eclampsia is a condition that can affect some women during labour. The disorder originates within the placenta and can cause problems with the circulatory system of both mother and baby. Thankfully, it is quite rare and is treatable if caught early on.
3. Ectopic pregnancy
This covers the situation that can occur when the fertilized egg becomes implanted in an area out with the womb lining. Other areas covered here are symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prevention, complications, treatment etc.
4. German measles (rubella)
This section briefly covers information about this viral infection.
This is a topic that (understandably) few want to think about. The areas covered here are an introduction, signs of miscarriage, causes, prevention, treatment and further information. It's worth mentioning that the reason I like the fact that this book is aimed primarily at men is that sometimes, we tend to forget the effects of miscarriage or the loss of a child can be equally as devastating for a man as for the woman.
7. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
8. Foetal heart monitoring
The above topics are covered later in the book.
10. Spina bifida
This section covers an introduction, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Spina bifida.
Another topic that we as a society find it very difficult to talk openly about. This section covers an introduction and causes for this awful scenario that can affect anyone.
* Chapter 3: Pre-delivery inspection (preparing for B Day)
This section of the book delves into the run-up to the birth of a baby.
1. Meet the team
This section covers the medical people you will most likely encounter in the count-down to the birth.
2. Changing GP/Midwife.
This section covers GP and midwife appointments which cost about £20 for each missed appointment.
4. Antenatal care and pain relief
This section covers antenatal and pain relief such as hospital-based care, shared care, tests, pain relief, entonox (gas and air), Pethidine, epidurals and other methods.
5. The big push (labour and childbirth)
This covers the options open for the labour and childbirth, planning ahead, labour, the real thing and something that I made sure I was clued up on before Eva arrived - the three stages of labour.
6. New baby
This covers the moments after the birth of the baby. The sections covered here are: First impressions, incubators and jaundice, after care, fear of the unknown and hidden emotion (new fathers turning into blubbering wrecks and crying like a little girl when their new baby arrives).
* Chapter 4: Running-in (child development)
The topics covered in this section are well worth having knowledge about:
1. Getting back on the road
This covers some of the changes that can occur when there's a new arrival in the family etc.
2. Parental Leave
This covers paternity and maternity leave procedures etc
3. At home
This covers areas such as the 'baby blues' which the book points out can affect men just as badly as it can affect women among other issues (such as the great question: Will things ever be the same again?). Other topics covered are better sex (There's sex after the baby arrives?!? Get out of town!!! Lies I tell you... LIES!!!), emotional burnout in both new fathers and mothers etc.
4. Cot death
Cot death is covered later in the book.
This covers keeping bottles clean and hygienic - along with a visual guide to cleaning the feeding equipment.
6. Fuel and fuel additives
This compares breast-feeding and bottle-feeding.
7. Nappies/diapers and skin care
Disposable or re-usable nappies? This lists the pros and cons of both. There are also pictures here that show how to put both disposable and re-useable nappies on a baby. Useful information for a new daddy if ever there was some! Are you ready for nappy origami?
This section also has pictures of (presumably simulated) soiled nappies to show the different colours and consistencies of baby poo in different babies (breast-fed vs. bottle-fed).
This lists the types of teeth and timescale in which they should appear as your baby gets older. Also covered here are teething symptoms, causes and prevention. At the time of typing this, Eva is starting to teethe. I don't think it can be prevented - only eased.
9. Talking and bonding
This explores the baby's language recognition and how you can help them develop good language and communication skills from a very early age.
This section explores the demand for and changes in shopping with a baby in tow. Areas covered include advances in shopping, parking, access, changing-rooms and toilets and much more.
11. Baby problems
This section is very informative as it covers potential problems that can arise with a baby.
It explains many interesting things that a majority of new parents would most likely not know. Areas covered include peculiar shaped head, soft spots in the skull (a very interesting little section), scurf on the scalp (cradle cap), hair, eyes, skin, spots and patches, ear wax and smelly discharge, swelling abdomen, vomiting, crying and sleeping, bed-time and lack of sleep (the latter being something I'm very familiar with these days!) so as you can see, there are lots of common problems covered within this part of the book.
12. Child development
This part of the book has a list of what babies are sometimes capable of at certain points in their development - namely six months, one year, 18 months and 2 years 6 months.
The lists cover such areas as movement and posture, eyes and responses, play and speech. It is worth mentioning that everything on these lists are only guidelines and are not indicative of problems with your own baby if they're not doing everything on the lists at the age mentioned.
13. Avoidable bodywork damage (accidents)
This section raises the potential accidents that can befall babies and young children and makes you aware of how you can prevent such accidents from occurring. Accidents covered here include suffocation and choking, falls, burns, scalds and poisoning.
* Chapter 5: Impact protection systems (safety on the move and at home)
This chapter covers all manners of accessories for protection and moving your baby. Accessories covered include:
1. Moses baskets and cribs
2. Baby bouncers
3. High chairs
5. Bath time
6. Getting from A to B with baby intact (buggies, pushchairs, car seats, baby carriers and travel cots etc)
7. Child protection at home
This covers certain aspects of making your home safer for a baby or young child. Included in this section are cooker guards, electricity, safety gates and barriers, guards for heaters and fires, window locks, safety glass and film, medicines and dangerous chemicals, house fires, and sitting and playing.
* Chapter 6: Routine maintenance (childhood ailments)
This section covers how to deal with some general childhood ailments but also covers areas such as cot death etc.
This section gives advice on how to deal with child-related emergencies. The first steps recommended here are:
* Remain calm and confident
* Do all you can to help but don't put yourself in danger.
* Do not give the injured person anything to eat or drink.
Other information given here are: Emergencies, getting help and further information.
2. How to deal with an emergency
This covers the recovery position for babies and young children, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Obviously these are things you hope you will never have to give to your child but it's better to know this information and not need it than to need it and not know it.
3. Is your baby really ill?
This covers some of the possible symptoms that may be indicative of your baby being genuinely unwell. Again, the book stresses that these are guidelines and if in doubt about your baby's well-being to call NHS Direct.
4. Taking a young child to hospital
This mentions how to try to reassure a child if they have to be taken into hospital.
This section covers antibiotic facts and when to contact your GP.
This section carries information about asthma symptoms, causes, prevention, complications as well as treatment and self care.
Other than the above information, other information given here refers to the following:
7. Bites and stings
8. Blocked tear ducts
9. Broken bones and dislocations
11. Burns and scalds
12. Chicken pox
14. Cleft lip and palate
15. Cold sores (herpes simplex)
16. Colds and flu
17. Congenital heart disease
18. Cot death (sudden infant death syndrome - SIDS)
19. Cradle cap
21. Cuts and grazes
23. Febrile convulsions
25. German measles (rubella)
26. Head injuries
27. Heat rash
28. Hives (urticaria)
29. Insect bites and stings
33. Nappy rash
34. Nose bleeds
35. Oral thrush
40. Shock (loss of blood)
41. 'Slapped cheek' disease
42. Sprains, strains and bruising
43. Blood in the white of the eye (subconjunctival haemorrhage)
44. Sticky eye
45. Umbilical hernia
Apart from being a frighteningly long list of childhood ailments (and I'll bet there are loads of others not mentioned above), the sections noted above generally cover symptoms, causes, prevention, treatment and self care where applicable.
* Chapter 7: Commonly-performed procedures
This chapter covers commonly-performed procedures (both pre and post birth). As always, it is very informative and will likely give you lots of new knowledge that you didn't have previously.
Information here includes the following:
2. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
4. Foetal heart monitoring
5. Assisted delivery
7. Immunisation (very useful information as it can be very difficult as a new parent to know if you're doing the right thing or not in getting your baby immunised)
Although at a glance it would seem that the information given here is all very medically worded, the book tries to side-step a lot of medical jargon and actually does a very good job in making the information as easy to understand as possible for us regular, non-medically-minded Joes!
* Chapter 8: Fault finding charts
The fault finding charts in this chapter are all extremely easy to follow and include advice on the following ailments:
* Abdominal pain
* Breathing difficulties
* Crying baby
* Head injury
* Infant rashes
* Itchy rashes
* Rashes with fever
* Sore mouth
* Vomiting in babies
* Vomiting in children
The information given in the charts is incredibly useful and is invaluable to all new parents.
This section includes the following:
* APGAR score chart
This chart is used immediately after the birth of a baby (after 1 minute and again after 5 minutes).
It is used to score vital information regarding appearance (colour), pulse rate, grimace (reflex irritability), activity and respiration.
* Service history
This is a part of the book where you can fill in the baby's details as well as other information that you may want to note - such as:
* First smile
* First laugh
* First unbroken night's sleep
* First tooth
* Starts solid food
* Sits up
* Learns to crawl
* Stands with support
* Stands unaided
* First steps
* First word(s)
* Knows own name
* Climbs stairs
* Potty trained
There are other areas such as medical records, immunisations, and contact details.
* Dimensions and weights
The dimensions and weight charts that allow you to chart the height and weight of your baby as he or she grows.
This a list of different contacts that you can get in touch with to discuss in further detail issues touched upon in the book.
* Further reading
A list is included of other books than are recommended to further your knowledge of your baby and/or young child.
EAN/ISBN-13: 978 1 84425 059 2
ISBN-10: 1 84425 059 8
From every sale of this book, 50p is donated to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It is very informative and in my humble opinion is absolutely essential reading for both expectant and new fathers. That said, as the book covers baby development up to about 2 years, there is still a lot to learn from the book and obviously well after that point too.
After all when I can honestly say that I am already aware that when it comes to being a parent, the apprenticeship is for life. It's quite nice when you can get some pointers from a book like this - even if you can tell the person who has written it has also had to feel their way too. The blind leading the blind it may be but it goes to show we are all in the same boat at the end of the day. There's comfort to be had knowing that Kate and I are not alone in the ups and downs of being new parents.
Many thanks for reading this...
Taking delivery of a new baby is even more exciting than taking delivery of a new car (at least for most people). It can also be more worrying - after all, if you decide you've made a mistake you can't send the baby back to the factory or trade it in for another one. Conception, pregnancy and birth can nowaddays be associated with some very high-tech equipment, but underneath the monitors and scanner screens the basic process is the same as it ever was (just as the internal combustion engine itself has not changed, despite being surrounded by electronic sensors and control units). This manual gives you what you would expect from Haynes: down-to-earth, step-by-step instructions, written by professionals from practical experience. The manual should help you to: decide when and how to start; keep your cool in the delivery room; maintain baby's bodywork in optimum condition; prevent corrosion of vital parts; understand the on-board diagnostic system; and decide when to call in professional assistance.