Book Review: 0 to 2 Baby & You: A Pediatrician’s Handbook for practical parenting
The recently published book on parenting by leading Mumbai-based paediatrician Dr Mahesh Balsekar and his daughter Malvika Choudhary, a psychologist, is sure to become the ready reckoner for modern parents, who want to do the best for their baby in an intelligent and informed manner.
The book comes across as very reader-friendly even as you flip through its pages – comfortable line spacing, pleasant-to-the-eye fonts, and bullet point format. No lengthy, arduous at all from start to end. Absolutely made easy for a busy parent.
The book is classified into six major sections – Health, Nutrition, Growth, Development, Immunisation and Parenting, thus covering nearly all basics that a new parent needs to know. For the period of 0-1 year, details on childcare are vivid and detailed. For example – The chapter on newborns even spells out what visitors and domestic staff must do to prevent infections.
The best thing is you don't need to read the book at a go, if you do not have the time. It is divided into very clear subtitles and you can just look up the guidance on the specific issue you are facing.
The chapters on Breastfeeding and Immunisation can literally be the bible of sorts. All questions like what causes breast engorgement, what changes to expect in your breasts, what to avoid while breastfeeding, how should working mothers feed their babies, how safely can breast milk be stored and served and more have been answered. And the beauty of the book through all its chapters is that an Indian parent can understand and act upon it straight away.
Weaning, an evergreen topic of discussion among others, is explained beautifully – diet plans for 0-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months and nutrition in the second year- with age wise details of feeding schedule, frequency and content, supplements, water and expected feeding skills of your child.
The chapters on Development and Parenting are our favourites! You just can't miss the smallest milestones of your children with these guided trackers and also be alerted by the red flags, if any. It is rather impossible for anyone else to guide you so precisely.
How many times have you left your pediatrician's clinic worrying about whether the vaccine you just gave your child has any side effects, why is it important or should you go for the painless one? All such concerns will be put to rest through this rather elaborate chapter on immunisation.
The Parenting section just covers everything else that you can otherwise not get consolidated professional advice on – like dental care, temper tantrums, speech and language, thumb sucking, toilet training, entertainment, safety aspects, and last but certainly not the least – whether all traditional advice is right. Each common traditional convention in India has been demystified with a good rationale.
A rather cute feature of the book is the notes section at the end of each chapter where the parent can make his/her own notes. An easy way to record your takeaways or concerns, for sure. All in all, a speedy read of just 336 pages!
Well, parenting is never meant to be easy and you may still have questions even after having read the book but what you definitely will know is - what exactly is the problem and how to attend to it, instead of just groping around in the dark!
However, the book scores low in certain areas like -
- Any insights on Homeopathy, Ayurveda as modes of treatment for common ailments of children is missing
- While there's a dedicated chapter on baby massage, it could have been made better by a visual/ diagrammatic representation of the right strokes
- How to swaddle a newborn baby- Do's and Don'ts or visuals would have helped new parents
- Genital Care of babies deserved a short chapter or a page
- Since the book covers 0-2 years, a short chapter on home remedies or immediate measures for common cold, diarrhoea, common injuries etc would have also helped.
- Since adoption in India is on the rise, a chapter on how to meet the nutritional deficiencies of adoptive babies at 6-12 months, 1-2 years etc would have been helpful as these children typically don't breastfeed.
Babychakra recommends buying this book while you are still expecting your little one so that you have time to absorb all things you need to do and must know about newborn care. And the rest you can read as you can go along your parenting journey!
Happy parenting! Happy reading!