Known for her gentle parenting techniques and work towards helping parents trust their instincts, Pinky McKay’s latest book gives us more of the same with a focus on the all-important first year.
If you’ve had a baby, you may be able to relate to the way a lot of women describe the first year of their baby’s life: “a blur”. But it doesn’t have to be that way (at least, not all the time).
McKay takes us through all the things that worry parents of a new baby: the birth, sleeping, feeding, bonding, playing, crying, relationships, body image, depression and looking after yourself. And she does it all with the reminder to “Trust yourself. Trust your child. Trust your feelings.” – a beautiful message that we all need to be reminded of.
Parenting books have taken a bit of a beating at times, criticised for preaching or being impractical – and sometimes such criticism is absolutely warranted. But McKay’s books are worth taking a look at.
She focuses on giving information that is helpful and practical. Rather than ‘telling’ you what to do, she will guide your instincts towards the way that works best for you, your child and your family – and never more so than in her latest offering. Here, she does all this in an easy-to-understand, lingo-free manner, with simple to find sections (very important when you’re a busy and sleep deprived new parent!).
I especially like the section titled “Ditch the rules”. This is McKay’s style; taking away the stereotypes and rewriting life with a child. Here, she gets rid of the the way you thought life had to be with a new baby and the wish that he/she came with an instruction manual, instead encouraging you to listen, watch, feel and enjoy this precious time.
More than talking about looking after your new baby, McKay also understands the greater need of taking care of yourself and your relationship. She gives practical tips on how to achieve this, and what to do when it all feels wrong. Simple ways of looking after your own needs, taking time to do some special things, and how to know if you have postnatal depression is all covered, and is so important to read.
And, as a long time advisor to parents, breastfeeding consultant, mother and grandmother, she is well versed in the language of babies and parents.
I was first introduced to McKay’s work when my sister gave me a copy of her Toddler Tactics book, which changed my approach to parenting my daughter. I learnt to ignore the cries of ‘attention seeker!’ or ‘you’re too soft!’ or the old ‘you can’t reason with a toddler’, and instead think about my daughter’s personality and ways to make life better for her, my husband and me.
Parenting by Heart will have the same impact on parents of young babies.
Title: Parenting by Heart: sleeping, feeding and gentle care for your baby’s first year
Author: Pinky McKay
Publication Date: 31 January 2011