by Blythe Lipman

Viva Editions, $14.95, 130 pages

“There is no such thing as parenting by the book – the only right way to parent is from the heart.”

Infant Care Specialist Blythe Lipman has put together an extremely well organized list of tips for first time parents in Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions. It is organized into chapters covering different aspects of infant care, from diapering to sleeping to taking care of oneself while still caring for an infant. While there aren’t many new ideas served up in this book, they are so neatly packaged that the frantic parent on duty for the 2AM cholic scream-fest could flip through to find exactly what they need. Lipman even recommends her book be left out for non-parental caregivers to use in a pinch. It is like having WebMD tips on your bookshelf.

This book can be used in several ways. It can be read from cover to cover by the expectant parents in their third trimester who are terrified about what they are getting themselves into. It can also be a quick reference guide based on the need at the time. Or it can be a training tool for caregivers other than mom and dad. It’s sprinkled with charming anecdotes from different parents, the nice thing about Lipman’s lists is that she emphasizes that there is no one right way to do things. It is a parent’s prerogative to choose to try all of the things on the list or none of them, so long as the desired outcome is achieved- a happy and healthy child and parent.

Reviewed by Rachelle Barrett