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Book Review

Gentle Baby Care: No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry -- Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby

by Elizabeth Pantley
Softcover, 574 pages

Reviewed by Sheri Hodinko
Fairfax VA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 6, November-December 2004, pp. 224

Where should my baby sleep? How should I handle overzealous grandparents? Why is my baby crying? What if my baby has hives?

These questions and many more are answered in Elizabeth Pantley’s new book, Gentle Baby Care: No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry -- Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby. Alphabetically organized, it serves as an easily accessible reference book for both new and experienced parents. As a parent educator, mother of four, and respected author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and Kid Cooperation, Pantley draws upon her extensive experiences with babies and young children for her new book.

Gentle Baby Care is written primarily for parents whose babies are under a year old, but much of the information can be adapted for toddlers and older children as well. Pantley’s gentle and loving approach to parenting is consistent with La Leche League philosophy.

Written primarily for breastfeeding mothers, Pantley provides support for them through her numerous mentions of LLL and lactation consultants throughout the text. Pantley stresses the importance of finding support while breastfeeding and getting help when needed. Although bottle feeding is addressed, sections on attachment parenting, cosleeping, breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding your newborn and toddler, traveling, and weaning will definitely prove to be of particular interest to breastfeeding mothers.

Gentle Baby Care contains useful information on the multitude of baby products available, including how to choose the right one and how to decide if you even need it in the first place! Pantley evaluates high chairs, cribs, strollers, diaper bags, and diapers (cloth versus disposable), giving the pros and cons of each, features, and when applicable, safety checklists. For example, in the section on diapers, there is a "Disposable or Cloth Diaper Quiz" to help expectant parents decide which diaper choice might fit best into their lifestyle. It also has several unique sections seldom discussed in other baby care books, such as "Car Seat Crying" and "Circumcision Decision."

Although not a medical doctor, Pantley offers some medical information in this book on basic childhood illnesses and issues, such as allergies, hives, reflux, fevers, thrush, and croup. The information is a good introduction to these topics and provides a guide for when to be concerned and when to contact the doctor.

The fact that Gentle Baby Care is a parenting, medical, and buying guide all wrapped up into one makes it unique and a great asset for even the seasoned parent. This book is not meant to be read from start to finish; it’s an easy-to-read reference that will be picked up to address a specific area of concern. A comprehensive book of this nature is a valuable addition to the experienced mother’s bookshelf and also makes a thoughtful baby shower gift for the expectant mother.

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