The Informed Parent by Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham (2016)

What does help children eventually become successful readers is surrounding them with an environment as rich as possible in words and books. One long-term study, for example,  found that 60% of the differences in vocabulary among 8- and 9-year old children was explained by how much language they were exposed to at home before they were 3 years old (p 283).

informedparentTwo researchers (who also happen to be mothers) cover issues ranging from pregnancy and childbirth through the first four years of a child’s life in a science-based approach to parenting. The authors also share their parenting decisions and the circumstances in short passages at the end of chapters, giving the book a nice personal touch.

Many of questions sure to be on the minds of first-time parents are addressed: How effective are pre-natal vitamins? What screening tests are available to me and which are right for my situation? What will those tests tell me and what won’t they tell me? What reasons contribute to a cesarean versus a vaginal birth? What benefits and, if any, risks are associated with vaccines? What factors determine a baby’s size at birth?

These and so many more were answered firmly and completely where the research is definitive but hesitantly or skeptically where little or no evidence currently exists. Some evidence is conflicting or indeterminate. After all, doing experiments  on pregnant women and infants must be undertaken with caution or not at all. But the authors are frank on scientific shortcomings and always encourage parents to talk with a health care provider to address their specific needs. The information will provide parents the language and understanding to have a more meaningful discussion with their provider.

Easy to read and peruse as needed, this will be a great guide and reassurance to parents.

Read the Kirkus review.


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