Me vs. The Parenting Books

I’ve found having my second baby I’m much more relaxed.  He’s just having to slot in and around.  To be honest I haven’t the time to worry about routines and schedules and baby specific activities instead my days are filled with toddler tantrums, battles over mealtimes, over enthusiastic loving of the baby (read squashing) and soft play.

So all those parenting books I had for the Toddler are gathering dust.  To be perfectly honest they’ve been gathering dust since the Toddler was about 12 weeks old.  When my husband came home from work.  Actually was met at the tube station by me, tears streaming down my face, frantically rocking and pacing the pram with a happily cooing baby who was very much awake, saying

The books say he should be napping now.  Why won’t he sleep??

My husband took one look at his smiling boy and one look at his sobbing wife before taking control of the situation and pushing the pram with one hand while holding my hand with the other walked us home.  Where he have me my best ever piece of parenting advice

Read the baby, not the book

And so ever since I have.  Mostly.  I still have the books and I’ve pulled them out to look at to see how much I actually deviate from them now….


Jo Tantum – Baby Secrets

I bought this when the Toddler was about 6 days old.  First piece of advice given was don’t go nuts on baby clothes.  Oops big fail.  Though the recommendation of 6 only was definitely not enough for us.  We had days where we would both need to WEAR 6 outfits.  I may not have had a projectile vomitter but he was a master poop up the back kind of baby from the early days.

Other pieces of advice I ignored….

Days 1-2 putting baby to the breast for 5 minutes on each side only.  Our feeds were mammoth.  And involved lots of cuddling and sleeping in my arms.  Time I cherished.  If I’d have broken that off at the allotted time I would have felt cheated.  And I’m sure that the baby would too.  Breaking away his security.

Routine.  I longed to be a routine parent.  I loved the images painted of how I would know that my baby would sleep so I could head out around that time to enjoy a leisurely coffee.  Even more than that I love the sleeping through the night at 4 months guarantee the books seem to give off.  It was trying to follow these routines that made me a sobbing mess.  First of all – wake your baby at 7am.  What a joke.  My baby was always up and playing well before then.  And if he wasn’t?  No way was I waking him up.  Nap timings throughout the day.  One short morning nap.  One long lunch time nap.  One short morning nap.  The toddler missed the memo on this and was the king of the 30 minute power nap.  He could sleep up to 5 times in a day.  Sometimes 3.  Never at the same time.  Nappy off time?  Only prudish baby in the world.  And wee on the floor.  Next.

On top of this the feeds were to be at set times.  Something which didn’t sit well with me.  I wasn’t hungry every day at the same time and then needed my food exactly 3 hours later.  And some days I needed more some days I needed less.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the book and the routine work for some.  I like the power pumping section and that it acknowledges both breast and bottle feeding.

It just turned me into a crazy sleep watching pram pushing sobbing power walking mum.

Elizabeth Pantley – The No-Cry Nap Solution

I told you I was nap obsessed.  I didn’t want my baby to cry (though this time round, though it’s inevitable that there is more crying as I only have so many hands at some point during the day one of the boys will be crying, sometimes both) I do not and will not leave them to cry it out intentionally.  I just don’t believe in it for us personally.  And it usually ends up with vomit.  And I hate vomit. So I thought the no-cry nap solution would be ideal.

Turns out you need to be relatively patient – not my strong point, and there’s still some tears involved mainly mine. As patience is not one of my virtues and I had my magic weapons…. boobs they did for naptime! And bedtime. And anytime I thought he should sleep. Which apparently isn’t something which you should do and means that the baby is reliant on me to fall asleep and could wake up confused that I’m not there. I get that. I mean when I fall asleep on the couch and wake up in the bed I’m fairly disoriented and chances are I’ve half asleep dragged myself into bed (there’s no way the husband could carry me up the stairs) I’m confused so no doubt a baby would be. However diving into his room and shhhhh patting him back to sleep while I crouch on the cold, tiled floor just isn’t me.

Likewise if they fall asleep in the car. I’m much more likely to pull in the drive and wait it out instead of risking a transfer!

I’m all for the EASY life…. which brings me nicely too:


Tracy Hogg – The Baby Whisperer

A routine guide. AGAIN.

Though this time a much easier one to follow:

You Time

I especially liked the idea of me time while the baby slept.

Unfortunately what the book didn’t address was how to enjoy that oh so elusive you time when sat in a car. Or being pinned down by a baby.



Gina Ford – The Contented Baby

Too routine. Too strict. I picked it up at a friends house and quickly put it back down as it terrified me.

Same thing at the same time every day. No deviation recommended.

Not for me I’m too go with the flow chilled out *in my eyes if you ask the husband he will say otherwise*


The Husbands Advice

As I’ve said many, many times my husband and partner in most crimes, especially all those parenting crimes we commit, very quickly told me to stop reading the books and start reading the baby. And flat out refused to buy anymore. I know there are more out there. And I know I could and possibly should pick one up on how to deal with tantrums and keeping calm.

I just can’t bring myself too.

Because ever since my husband uttered those words to me…

Read the baby not the book

I’ve been a much happier parent. A more relaxed parent. With happier children.

And I don’t think I’m doing too bad a job of bringing them up.

I think I’ll stick to that…. what about you do you read the books?

Disclosure – this post contains affliate images as it was the only way I could think to get the images as my books were all on the kindle!



  1. September 7, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    I truly believe the books made me miserable. I admit I did adapt some of Gina Ford’s ideas but no way did I follow her strictly. The woman is insane. We parted company at the bit where she tells you to only hug your baby when it clearly wants a hug and not when you want affection from your baby. Dear God. What tosh. I liked the late Tracy Hoggs advice about the EASY routine and thought it was quite clever with number 2 but frankly he was so ill that the best 2 things I ever bought were a swing and a dummy, both totally frowned upon crutches. I was desperate. By the time I got to number 3, the books were covered in dust in the corner of a room because she just had to sleep on the go poor girl.

    Your Hubs is a wise man. Great post as usual. (saw it in the Pregnancy Parenting FB forum)


    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:14 am

      Thanks love! The books drove me demented and turned me into a raving loon! I loved the EASY idea. I just could never get it to work!

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:14 am

      P.s. hubs has his moments….

  2. September 8, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    I have never really had a routine with my babies, I think it is harder to that when breast feeding anyway, as I think when they’re hungry they’re hungry. My sister-in-law used the Gina Ford book and she always seemed stressed out trying to comfort her baby until the next feed as they were hungry but not ‘due’ to be fed yet… I’m very against her book – way too strict! #twinklytuesday

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:15 am

      Me too. Besides. Boob solves everything in our house!

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:15 am

      Haha! So true!

  3. September 8, 2015 / 3:32 pm

    Books never worked for us, either. The one thing that was different for us is that both boys started life in the NICU, so they were on a schedule – whether we liked it or not. Took forever to be able to feed them a bit early or a bit late without awful crying (say, if you hit every red light on the drive home and didn’t have a choice).
    Kristy as Giftie Etcetera recently posted…Doing Homework in the Car Changed Our LivesMy Profile

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:17 am

      Oh I haven’t thought of the opposite way from trying to relax a strict schedule a little bit probably because I spent so long trying to get in a schedule!

  4. September 8, 2015 / 8:07 pm

    With baby #1 I read all the books… I tried to follow them too. And for a while it was great. He was a happy baby, we were doing fine. Then baby #2 came along… many of the points from those books went out the window. By the time baby #3 came on the scene, we were just winging it most days. The thing is, that with kids, winging it is really fine. Routines start to happen naturally and the fights are less than others I’ve heard. So books can serve a purpose, but kids are pretty good at letting you know when to parent strict and when to let it go.


    Stopping over from #TwinklyTuesday

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:17 am

      I think that was my big lesson, kids naturally find their own rhythms.

  5. September 9, 2015 / 3:29 am

    Funny how you go with your instincts second time around – that was definitely what happened for us. First time around Gina Ford made me feel like an utter failure. I just could not get my daughter into a routine like she advised and I found I was checking the book instead of learning my babies cues. I threw it behind my washing machine so it was out of reach and I wouldn’t be tempted to go back to it. I liked the Baby Whisperer as it was much more gentle and I liked how it emphasised knowing your baby and her temperament.
    Sarah HP recently posted…Starting preschool – tissues and escaping!My Profile

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:18 am

      Glad it isn’t just me who has to throw books into hidden places!

  6. September 12, 2015 / 1:59 pm

    I totally and utterly agree with your husband and that is exactly how I’ve parented the twins. I never followed a book — I did read the Tracey Hogg book but didn’t follow it religiously — but my boys were in a *really* strict routine!! It’s worked so incredibly well for us too. I’m not sure I’d have coped without the rigidity to be honest and it’s absolutely paid dividends. They sleep well, eat well and are generally a pair of happy chappies. Ultimately a book can give you the tools you need but learning to read your own child is the way to a happy baby (and a happy parent!)! Thanks so much for linking up with us #TwinklyTuesday

    Caro |
    Caro | The Twinkles Mama recently posted…Home Etc #17 — Home and Garden Inspired Blog HopMy Profile

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:19 am

      I always wonder if it’s different with twins and you need to be stricter? I think I was just trying to push a square peg into a round hole!

    • Laura
      September 18, 2015 / 12:21 am


  7. September 13, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    Brilliant! I love your husband “read the baby, not the book”. While I had a couple of books, I mainly read them during pregnancy and then never picked them up again. They made me feel like a failure on more than one occasion.
    Tori Gabriel recently posted…You Know You’re Pregnant When….My Profile

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