Sunday, 11 March 2018

Feed the Baby Hummus Book Review + Giveaway!

Raising children is the most challenging and rewarding thing you can do. I am raising four children and I have read my fair share of parenting books. In fact, I am a bit of a parenting book addict; always on the look out for the newest guide with the latest tips and advice. Like all parents, I want to do my best to bring up happy and successful children. I just want to do it right. 

When I was pregnant with my first child, I went to antenatal classes and learnt the basics of caring for a new baby. Along with that advice, as well as tips from my own mother, I began to raise my first child following the accepted cultural norms of British society. However, being in a multicultural marriage, I soon learned that the traditions I had grown up with were not the norm everywhere. I remember visiting my Kurdish in laws in Turkey and being shocked at how the children had no set bedtime; they slept whenever and wherever they liked. This was a far cry from the early bedtime schedule for children I was used to in the UK. Which bedtime routine was better for child development? An early bedtime or flexible one? Are other cultures around the world doing a better job at raising their children than we are?

Feed the baby hummus, pediatrician-backed secrets from cultures around the world!

Feed the Baby Hummus by Dr Lisa Lewis, provides a practical and comprehensive guide to baby's first year. Dr Lewis has been a paediatrician for over twenty years and has travelled all over the world experiencing different cultural practises to child-rearing first hand.

Not your standard parenting book, Feed the Baby Hummus is unique in that it provides tips and advice from over 40 countries around the world! This book cleverly shows you the wisdom each culture has in its child-rearing practices and any parent from anywhere around the world can incorporate these techniques into their life to raise a happy and healthy baby. 

I was delighted to be sent a copy of this book to review. As the mother of a five month old baby, I was particularly interested to read it as it is relevant to my life right now. I will share my thoughts on it.

Comprehensive guide

The book is a guide to baby's first year. The first section begins by looking at behaviour and development; how to bond with, nurture and soothe your baby as well as taking you through the stages of baby development. There is also information about sibling rivalry, separation anxiety and sleep. The second section covers decision-making, from naming your baby to circumcision to childcare options. 

Section three discusses diet and nutrition, a subject I feel quite passionate about due to my training as a speech and language therapist (as well as speech and language issues, we also work with children with swallowing difficulties). This is the longest section of the book and covers topics such as breastfeeding, allergies, burping, gas and hiccups, formula feeding and weaning.

Section four is all about building immunity and body care. There are chapters on different parts of the body and how to care for them as well as tips to help boost your child's immunity.

There are appendices at the back of the book providing a useful shopping list for baby as well as lists of finger food and healthy ingredients for purees. Finally, a further appendix shares recipes from around the world that your baby will enjoy.

Top tips from around the world

As I have mentioned, this book is unique in that it shares parenting wisdom from different cultures around the world. Although I am part of a multicultural family (Polish and British on my side and Kurdish and Turkish on my husband's side) there are so many cultures I have never encountered before and, therefore, know nothing about. I found it extremely interesting to read about different cultural practises and traditions. 

Each section of the book provides anecdotes of cultural practises that parents may wish to try out. Latin parents swear a red thread placed on the forehead is a cure for hiccups. In Northern Europe outdoor napping is the norm. You will find information about these practises and many others inside this book.

Evidence-based advice

Raising babies is a serious issue and parents want to make sure they are making the right choices. Therefore, it is important to follow techniques which have been tried, tested and proven to be the best for baby. How can you be sure of this? Look for information which is evidence-based. This means studies have been conducted into the outcomes of such practises and they have been found to be beneficial for baby.

This book is full of advice which has been backed up by research. Because of this, you can be sure to trust the information given. The abundance of research mentioned in this book adds to the credibility of the author and the book overall.

My thoughts

This book was both informative, enjoyable and easy to read. This comprehensive guide covers all aspects of childcare for the first year of a baby's life. It is a must-read for first time parents, but the additional cultural references mean that even experienced parents, welcoming a new addition to the family, will get something out of it as well.

I agreed with a lot of the advice given but there were a few points I found myself disagreeing with. Perhaps my parenting style is somewhat different from the mainstream (I would class myself as the slightly hippy, attachment parenting type). Perhaps the American way is slightly different to the British guidelines I am used to. For example, the book states babies should be weaned onto pureed food at 6 months of age and more solid finger foods should not be introduced until a few months after that. In the UK, it is now common to follow the baby led weaning method by introducing finger foods immediately at six months.

I agree wholeheartedly with the advice to carry baby in a sling, pick up baby often and sleep with baby in the same room. I applaud the condemnation of the CIO (cry it out) method which can be so damaging to a child's psychological well being. As Dr Lewis says, 'babies cry for a reason' and they 'just can't be spoiled'. 

However, I disagree with the promotion of pacifier use, particularly within the first 6 weeks after birth as this is when breastfeeding is becoming established. If a dummy is being used before this time you risk disrupting the natural establishment of breastfeeding thus leading to difficulties with latch and underproduction of milk supply. This is touched upon in the book with Dr Lewis advising to offer milk before offering a dummy. Perhaps it is my professional background, but I dislike dummies immensely as they are so often overused and cause speech and language difficulties. Babies cry for a reason, give them what they need or want and they should stop.

As a Speech and Language Therapist specialising in bilingualism, I was delighted to see the recommendation to bring baby up bilingual. Dr Lewis encourages introducing a second language in the first three months after birth even stating that negativity from family and friends should not deter you from bringing up your child bilingual if you wish. Here are some tips on teaching young children a foreign language. 

The cultural references are a stroke of genius and fascinating to learn about. It opens up your eyes to a whole new way of doing things and gives you the confidence to try it out if you wish to. There are certainly a number of ideas that I will be trying out with my five month old. For example, I love the Maori tradition of storytelling though music. While we have our traditional nursery rhymes, I have never made up my own musical stories but this is something I might try! Babies and young children adore music and it is great for their speech and language development. Another thing I am going to try is a traditional Caribbean cold compress teething remedy. My baby is just starting to teethe so it is something I can try right away. One more thing I have learnt about is the wool breast pads used in Norway and parts of Northern Europe. I am going to try and get my hands on some of those!

I would highly recommend this book to any parent, particularly first-time parents, as well as those interested in multicultural child-rearing practises. If you are not used to looking at the traditions of other cultures, it just may open your eyes to a whole new world and way of doing things. If the techniques of another culture seem better to you, why not embrace them? They may work better for you and your baby.

Those of us who are part of a multicultural family already have the advantage, and sometimes disadvantage, of witnessing the traditions of more than one culture. We understand there is not simply one single way to do things but various methods that lead to the same end goal; a happy and healthy child. As parents that is all that we hope for.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, you can do so from Amazon by clicking the link below.


Would you like to win a copy of Feed the Baby Hummus? I am giving away a copy to one of my readers! For your chance to win, click on the box below. Competition ends on 19/03/2018. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This article contains an affiliate link.

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