I am the youngest of three children, and have only one younger cousin on each side of my extended family. Growing up, I didn't babysit or spend time around young kids. That is, until my older cousins started having kids of their own. I tell you this because it explains why I knew nothing about babies or small kids before I became a parent. When I say nothing, I mean nothing. Developmental stages were a mystery and I had no idea what a typical size for a 9-month old was. When do babies get teeth, anyway? And is it normal for a newborn to have yellow poop?
Thank goodness for the internet! And for text messaging - my poor mom probably got so many stupid questions from me. I shouldn't feel bad about that; it probably gave her a good chuckle. As a young kid, I remember finding a book about pregnancy that my mom probably read when she was pregnant with her kids. I don't remember much of the content, but I do know how far medical knowledge has come in the last thirty years. So while that book might have been cutting edge when it was published, it certainly isn't going to have the most relevant information for a mother today.
When I got pregnant with Shep, I connected with the woman who would become my doula during his labor and delivery. Angel told me to avoid a certain extremely popular parenting book. Of course, I was curious. "Why not that one?"
"Because it's all scare tactics. It's just going to make you think a little sniffle is full-blown pneumonia. And for first-time parents, that's a recipe for disaster."
That common-sense guidance helped me dodge quite a few bullets along the way. It's also a good rule of thumb to follow when someone gives you parenting advice. If it sounds scary, consider doing your own research to see how well-founded that fear really is. Much of the time you'll find that the statistics sound scary on the surface but don't represent a reasonable threat to your or your child. By researching these topics, you're arming yourself with the best weapon against fear - knowledge.
Now, this list isn't meant to imply that there is NO good advice in these books. I don't mean to say you should throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just keep in mind that if you feel like a book doesn't fit your parenting style - or it seems exaggerated in its claims - maybe it's best to check and confirm with other trusted sources.
Parenting Books I Can't Recommend
What To Expect When You're Expecting
This book is not only a little outdated, it's also likely to induce an anxiety attack. At least, for me - that's a real risk! Trust your gut and double-check any claims. And please, STAY AWAY FROM DOCTOR GOOGLE. He's a snake oil salesman.
To be fair, it's not this book alone that I take issue with. Really, it's just one of a genre of books that seem to share the idea that it's okay to put yourself first before your kids at all times. All of these books share a weird anti-kid sentiment that just makes me feel sad for the parents who feel this way.
To Train Up A Child
Where to begin? Well, this book has caused a few child deaths. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will anyway. Listen, any book that promotes spanking your child for up to 45 minutes because they don't want to sit on your lap is just garbage. There are not enough words to explain why this book is never welcome in my home. And with my own personal history, I cannot in good conscious recommend a book that prescribes corporeal punishment.