03 March 2011

Review and giveaway: Let's Panic About Babies!

Amazon: Let's Panic About Babies!Parent Hacks is all about poking friendly holes in the "expert parenting" racket. In their new book, Let's Panic About Babies!, Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy point a flamethrower -- an exceedingly smart and funny flamethrower -- in the same direction.

Let's Panic is for anyone who appreciates the humor inherent in the messy parts of pregnancy and parenting. If you're a reader of Finslippy and Fussy, you know each author has her own distinctive voice and sense of fun. In Let's Panic, they've managed to combine their voices to hilarious effect. This is Laurel and Hardy-level teamwork, which is difficult enough in any writing project. But a humor book? Wow. These ladies are tal-en-ted.

But who cares about the writing! IS IT REALLY THAT FUNNY? This book is crazy funny for moms and dads who like their humor to bite back. In less skillful hands, a tongue-in-cheek screed such as this could fall flat, but this book keeps you laughing even as you're covering your mouth in disbelief that they actually just said that.

It's What To Expect meets The Onion...in a back alley. It's a bracing spoof (and reminder not to take this all so seriously) in a world of milquetoast parenting books that make us feel bad about ourselves while boring us to death.

At Amazon: Let's Panic About Babies!: How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain and Finally Turn You into a Worthwhile Human Being, by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy, $7.72

On the Web: Let's Panic About Babies! website

On Twitter: @letspanic_

On YouTube:



Win it! Three lucky Parenthackers will walk away with their very own copies of Let's Panic About Babies, and one extra-lucky Parenthacker (who's more deserving than the others) will win a "Panic Break" gift basket containing the following nifties:

To enter, leave a comment answering the following question:

Which parenting book has made the biggest impression on you, either good or bad?

The comments are now closed and the winners have been chosen!

Note: Giveaway open to residents of the US and Canada only. One entry per person.

Your comments

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I didn't read many parenting books. But I did really enjoy "Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay" by Stephanie Wilder-Taylor. I laughed until I cried!!

Bringing up Girls by Dr James Dobson is an Amazing book by an author that I totally trust! His witty stories and and insight have and will help me to raise my 2 (going on three!) girls.

I really only read the "What to Expect" books but now I think I have to read "Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay" (thanks Martha, that sounds cute) and of course this one if I don't win lol

I despise "Baby Wise." It's written so matter-of-factly that it seems to suggest that if you do what they say and your baby isn't immediately a perfect angel, then you must be an idiot. I have never read such a condescending book before. Anytime I see a friend get that book at a baby shower, I always warn them about it.

My favorite book is "Free-Range Kids," because I wish we could all just relax and enjoy ourselves a little more.

I can't wait to see "Let's Panic." Sounds right up my alley. Hope I win!

What to expect when you're expecting was a joke. The Happiest baby and toddler on the block were the most helpful.

I read the What To Expect When You're Expecting books, and I found them to be insightful. I'll be honest- I don't know what the heck I'm doing because I never liked kids until I had them myself!

I've got a bit of a list... Love and Logic, Simplicity Parenting, Free-Range Kids, Loving Our Kids on Purpose, The Baby Whisperer. I'm sure there are more, but those are probably my top picks/influences.

The parenting book that left the biggest impression on me was The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. I notably had the unhappiest baby on the block and was always glad I never lived in a duplex, or apartment, or a single-family house with neighbor's nearer than 800ft. The book implied that I /could/ have a very content child and a very comfortable early parenting experience. So, when that did not happen I spiraled into a mild depression and questioned everything I did as a new mother. Only after months of reassurance from other 'seasoned' moms did I learn that EVERY baby is unique and as a mom you need to go with your gut as to what is the best way to parent your child. Only after I came to that solid understanding did I become in tune with my child. Once that happened, I had a VERY happy baby for most of our days, sleeping through most of our nights. We still ride the rollercoaster every now and then, but I'm learning it from living it rather than reading it!

Safe Baby Handling Tips is my standard baby shower gift for new parents. Hilarious and makes you realize you know more about taking care of a kid than you give yourself credit for.

Nurtureshock, by far. Very thought-provoking.

I always consult my American Academy of Pediatrics Caring for Your Baby and Young Child (or something like that) for health questions. It seems to be the most authoritative and least panic-inducing. I really enjoy Vicki Iovine's "The Girlfriend's Guide" series. Can't stand "what to expect" and Dr. Sears. I'm about to start "Scream Free Parenting" and would love to win this new book!

Yay, @Heather K, I too despised BabyWise. Ugh. What an awful book- condescending and critical!

I loved Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It became the only book I turned to. When my twins were about 9 months old. I got very frustrated by the fact that if I read 3 different books' sections on 'gas' I'd get three completely different opinions on whether the phenomenon really existed and what to do about it. I stopped reading all other books and started trying to trust my own intuition. I did love Finslippy though!

I only read the What to Expect series. There was some really scary stuff in those. I stopped reading after that.

"Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy" was THE BEST book for expecting moms. A mix of practical advice and humor that didn't take itself too seriously. Vicki Iovine is hilarious. I'd love to see this new book. Living with 3 little boys has taken a toll on me in many ways, I could use a good laugh! :p

For me it was definitely Pregnancy Sucks! For Men.

I love the "Girlfriends Guide" series... light and funny.

Nurtureshock by Po Bronson was the best parenting book I ever read - mainly because it talked about research and not just the author's opinions.

Looking forward to a good laugh with this one, though!

Although it is not a book...Offbeat Mama is my favorite. Ariel and her counterparts are not afraid of any parenting issue and address them all with love and a health does of commonsense.

I loved The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy, Toddlers, and Surviving Motherhood. They were by far my best friends early on, they taught me not to sweat the small stuff and that the babies are not as fragile as we think they are. They are actually pretty resilient little buggers! Love this series!!

Positive reads included Raising Cain and Free-Range Kids. Not so positive reads included Baby Wise, the What to Expect books (found them helpful for particular questions, but overwhelming and impractical for everday). One of the scariest books has been Creative Correction, made me actually cry to think of using some of those techniques with my kids. I have no idea why I ever took it out of the library.

Oh snap! That is a MUST READ!

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp is my baby bible. I live by the five S's. I just smile to myself when it works. All parents should be required to read it before they leave the hospital. I have a happy 4 month old!!!

Free Range Kids

Oh me! Me! This isn't available in Canada yet!

I found The Wonder Weeks to be really encouraging and blame-absolving.

Key message: Sometimes your baby really is being a bit of a pain! But it's because they're learning! And it will stop!

I loved (and now gift to any moms-to-be) "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy." It definitely falls on the lighter side and, to me, that's what a pregnancy book should be. All the follow-up books (toddlers, etc.) were great too.

I go to Dr. Spock or the Mother's Almanac!

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was very good but not the easiest to read, especially on very little sleep!

I really can't pick just one, can I? Since my girl's just turned one, I suppose I'd have to say that "How to have your Second Child First - 100 things that are good to know the first time around" has really reinforced a lot of our parenting ideologies.

I imagine down the line, I'll rest my laurels on "Positive Discipline", which is more or less the Santa Cruz parenting bible.

Dr Sears. Although he has good ideas, I was terrified by the "do this or your baby will be scarred for life" mentality. I chucked the book when my daughter came along.

I'm in the middle of Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman and it's amazing. It changes so many things for me and it's based on actual studies. I love that the authors themselves were surprised along the way.

I think my favorite parenting book was " You're a Better Parent than you think" By Dr. Ray Guarendi. The idea is trust your gut and do what works for you. It is more serious than"Panic about babies", but Dr.Ray is a funny guy and it comes through in his writing. My mother in law gave me MANY books on parenting through the years because I am doing SOOO many things wrong. I choose to stick with Dr.Ray's advice and do what my gut says is right!

Sounds amazing, I need to read this book one way or another, so let's try the free way first.

My daughter is 13 months old and I had NO IDEA what I was getting into, I love her more then life itself, but parenting has been way way harder then I ever could have imagined.

Anyhow that being said, the book that has had the BIGGEST impact on my parenting is written by Penelope Leach and is called: Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five. I LOVE this book because rather then being written from a medical/physical milestones perspective, it is written from a psychological/mental development perspective. It has really helped me to stop and put myself in my babies shoes and thus better understand where she is coming from. End result, I feel, is that it has made me a better Momma.

I liked the girlfriend's guides books... But Baby 411 was probably the most referenced.

One book that really helped me was Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi Mindell. Helped me get some sanity (and quiet) back into my life. But this book looks amazing-and I loved the video! This WILL be a shower gift for my panic-stricken sister-in-law, Thanks!

Kids Are Worth It by Barbara Colorosso was the book that made the biggest impression on me. Finally, a book that fit well with me and helped me hone my own parenting philosophy.

A friend gave me "Sleeping Through the Night and Other Lies" which I loved. I always try to find copies to give to my expectant friends now.

One book that really helped me was Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi Mindell. Helped me get some sanity (and quiet) back into my life. But this book looks amazing-and I loved the promo video! This WILL be a shower gift for my panic-stricken sister-in-law, Thanks!

I'd love to read this book! Books that helped me the most are Baby 411, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. I read many more but I think I've actually 'used' what I've read in these the most.

My Boys Can Swim

Despite the fact that the first comment I saw when I came to the site today was one about how much someone hates "BabyWise", I must say that "BabyWise" has been the best book for my family. Because of it, we had our values in order before baby was born, and we knew exactly what we wanted to do as parents. It worked beautifully for us. Both our kids have slept 12 hours and napped well since about 12 weeks old. Now, I am thoroughly enjoying ChildWise. It has helped us know what to reasonably expect from our preschooler.

I don't even know if I can wait until next Monday to see if I won before ordering this book. It sounds SO right up my (back) alley. I have read so many baby/parenting books, all the while wishing I had never read ANY. Nearly all of them give the impression that *if only* you do X, or don't do Y, or always remember Z, it will all work. Regardless of what the advice is about, it just is not that simple. If a book worked for you, you're gonna like it, but that doesn't mean it's gonna work for someone else, or even for your next child. There were books that I loved, and believed in, but still didn't really work for me... And books that I couldn't stand but I'm sure would be pretty effective... So basically I got nothing for ya.

"She's gonna blow!"

Finally a book that doesn't make me feel like I'm the worst parent in the world.

I liked the wnder weeks.

The Blessings of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel. It's a great, practical book on how to raise free-thinking, self-reliant children. Great for all parents, no matter what age your children are.

I really enjoyed How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk and Siblings without rivalry

Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy was so funny!

Either the Girlfriend's guides or Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

"Waiting for Birdy" by Catherine Newman is one of my favorite books!

Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West because in my exhaustion I lost track of trying to get my son to sleep in his own bed and no matter what I tried I couldn't seem to reverse it. While not every book or suggestion works for everyone, it gave me some new ideas to try and made me less frustrated with the process. I would love to have Let's Panic About Babies! Thanks for the giveaway.

Glanced at the more serious ones, but "Babies and Other Hazards of Sex" by Dave Barry nailed it - beyond the things you must do to keep a babies safe, they usually manage to thrive in spite of what their parents do to them. Trust your insticts, trust your children.

Bhahaha! This video is hysterical!

What to Expect When You're Expecting is the worst baby book of all time. It gets downright medieval towards the end, right when you're about to actually have your baby. It's ridiculous and borderline sado-masochistic.

I am reading What to Expect the First Year. It's actually good as far as information is concerned, but its a lot of prose when you want bullet points.

For example, there's a section on grandparents getting doorway-jumpers. And then a huge story about how your parents want to shower your child with gifts, and how this one is alright, but you may want to limit it, and your kids may spend hours on it but it will stunt their growth.

I have a kid to take care of, can't you just do this:

Doorway Jumpers:

* They are safe
* Use them for 15 minutes or your child won't walk til they are 3

So yeah, conciseness might have made that book a lot better. I really just want a big cross-referencing database that I can flip through (or search through on my kindle) not a heavy book that I have to highlight through.

Free-Range Kids because it encourages letting kids be kids.

I enjoyed Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. Help with all those questions you may not feel comfortable asking out loud, but you definitely have. Also funny, so that makes it more bearable!

The Idle Parent, by Tom Hodgkinson. It really helped me come to terms with the fact that it's ok not to spend thousands of dollars on museum trips and fancy toys. There's so much learning and love to be had doing the things a family does every day. Just spruce it up with some fingerpaint and a glass of shiraz. Ha!

I read and found somewhat helpful the what to expect series. But I think this book would be a blast! :)

The Wonder Weeks was the parenting book that saved my sanity-- I loved it because it told me what was going on with my baby and made suggestions of ways to help her through the developmental leaps without being preachy or judgmental.

Touchpoints by T. Berry Brazelton is actually a helpful developmental book!

The most useful book for our family was Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems.

Worst for a sleep deprived mommy: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. At the time I hadn't had more than 2 consecutive, uninterrupted hours of sleep in 6 months and I thought the good doctor was way too technical. Maybe there should be a warning label? Or a CliffsNotes version for emergency use!

I've only read What To Expect because I'm a geek and I wanted to know absolutely everything that was happening in my body on a week-by-week basis.

With my first baby I am sure I read lots of books, but that was 29 years ago. With my last baby, 4 years ago, I learned that they are all so different that no book can give me much advice - you just learn to go with the flow with kids. Their personalities and quirks and your own just learn to mesh together, or not. Parenting is an adventure, and I am glad I took that adventure!!

I had a very high-risk pregnancy with my twins, so I could only bear to read more lighthearted books. I liked The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy. When they kiddos were older, I liked Preschool Confidential.

After running to the library and checking out a ton of pregnancy/baby books when I found out I was preggers with my first kid I have not opened a parenting book since. They all said something different and many seemed condescending so I quit reading and decided to rely on instinct. That strategy seems to be working but I'd love to read this book since I'm sure the lovely authors could enlighten me on a thing or two.

I have to second (or third?) Nurtureshock. Though it's not really a *baby* book and I didn't read it until my kids were well out of the newborn spot. Happiest Baby on the Block was great, and I liked Ferber's book. After devotedly following Dr Sears's sleep advice for my first kid, and being under the impression that Ferber was some kind of cruel monster, it was refreshing, with my second child, to read Ferber and see how rational and compassionate the book was and then to see my baby sleeping well on his own (which was probably more his own personality, not the book, but the book gave me the courage to try new things).

I didn't love one but have combined a few including the opposites Baby Wise and Dr. Sears. I didn't really like Baby Wise, but I thought the eat-play-sleep and full feedings messages were reasonable take homes. I've been meaning to read Free Range Kids and the comments put it back on my list. Nutureshock sounds interesting too. Thanks!

What to expect made the most impact because it made me stop reading the books. If I have a question or problem I research it independently. I have managed to have 5 children without breaking any (so far).
- Craig

I loved the book "Mommy Guilt" to remind me that my goal wasn't to raise the Best. Baby. Ever. It was to raise a functional member of society who people will enjoy spending time with. It really helped me let go of my need to try to be the best at everything. It's now my go-to baby shower present.

I heard about it the first time right here on Parenthacks.

I'd forgotten just how horrible BabyWise was until reading these comments. It was a gift from a neighbor, who I can only assume was hoping we'd use it to sleeptrain our newborn IMMEDIATELY. It got taken to the used book store pretty darnn quickly!

I read Scream Free Parenting and thought it gave some common-sense advice for parenting a toddler!

Happiest Baby on the Block with my first child and Waiting for Birdy with my second.

I like Baby 411. It's easy to read with practical advice based on sound science without being too fussy.

What to Expect series: hands down the worst set of books to read if you are even just thhinking of becoming a parent. Better title would be: What to Expect Will Go Wrong. The series made the biggest impression me partly bevause I don't see how it's possible to eat as much as the books say a pregnant woman/baby/toddler should eat. Which made me eventually wonder: what else are they wrong about? But only after inducing a year-long panic in me about my older daughter's early eating habits.

Love it -- perfect shower gift. My go-to book is "Healthy sleep habits, happy child."

i love the wonder weeks books and penelope leach's book (i have completely forgotten the name of course). and i love fussy and finslippy and can't wait to read this!

The most useful for getting pregnant was "Taking charge of your fertility". The best for labor was "Childbirth the natural way" and for practical preparations, the "Girlfriend's Guide to baby gear". Now that I've had three, humor is Definitely the way to go!

"Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5" by the American Academy of Pediatrics is my #1 reference this this day. Has saved us many a trip to the ER/Urgent care, and has comforted my never-been-around-kids-til-I-had-my-own husband countless times. The tone is matter-of-fact and has guidance on many, many issues on the parenting spectrum such as how to bring grandparents into your child's life to the mundane "what is hand foot and mouth disease, anyway?"

Siblings Without Rivalry
As an only child, this book gave amazing insight into the world of siblings. I also recommend this book to those who grew up with siblings so you can better understand why your parents did what they did and why it was bad - or good.

My first pregnancy I read the What to Expect book, but found it pretty dark and not fun. The second time around I found a weekly website, zero to forty, that I loved! It is humorous and written by one of my favorite bloggers.

dr. sears

I enjoyed "dad's pregnant too"

This is easy! "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" changed my life! I told every new mom I knew about it and, as I told one friend, if the doctor/researcher who wrote it had a cult, I'd hand him my checkbook.

What to Expect kind of killed it for the Parenting genre for me. I've steered clear of parenting books since then.

Ahh... I LOVE this!!! :-) Best books - Womaly Art of Breastfeeding and The Baby Book. So many bad ones...

I don't know if it really counts as a parenting book, but I really liked "Nurture Shock". It debunks a lot of the conventional thinking about parenting. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide much in the way of suggestions, but it really made me re-think many of my parenting assumptions... Thinking is good!

I threw out my copy of Baby Wise. I couldn't even pass it along at a used book place.

My "babies" aren't so babyish anymore, but I'd still love their book!

I read "What to Expect When You're Expecting," and found that I either didn't get what I was to expect, and things I wasn't expecting at all, I got.

And as a mom of 4, I feel I am more deserving than some, especially considering my 4 are: DS (4 1/2), DS (2), & twin DDs (6 1/2mo). :D

I borrowed quite a few pregnancy books from the library in my first trimester since I'm a first-time parent. I thought "The anxious parent's guide to pregnancy" would be good for me, but it was the worst of the lot. It didn't relieve any anxiety for me and, instead, brought to mind all the awful things that can bring on a miscarriage in the first trimester.

Suffice it to say, I stopped reading pregnancy books that week and just decided to rely on a weekly e-mail service and the monthly pregnancy newsletters I get from my health care provider. Now that I'm in my third trimester, I'm very happy with my decision and enjoying my pregnancy!

THe Positive Discipline series by Jane Nelsen et. al.--impression for good.

For me there are 2 books
"The mother of all baby books"
it was very informative, factual, and i enjoyed reading it

the book that scared me was my Gramma's old (like from the 40's) OB books, man those are some crazy birthing ways..........and i am all about natural births

The New Strong willed child by Dr. Dobson. Readng some of those stories made my jaw drop! I though I had a strong willed child. It was very helpful in those moments that I am just at a loss of what to do with this determinded child!

Definitely Free Range Kids.
Looking forward to this book! (yes, I am a male)

The Dr. Sears Baby book definitely made the biggest impression. Sometimes I wanted to scream and throw it against the wall (baby wearing is a panacea, really??) and sometimes I was so comforted.
I particularly liked the way he laid out the argument that babies under one year of age cannot be spoiled. I was getting a lot of pressure to "condition" and schedule my infant and it was nice to have well respected doctor in my corner!

hmm, I learned SO much from all of Ina May's writings. THis looks like a great prize.. that package of stress relievers would come in hand here, hah!

Free Range Kids! I think it's the only parenting book I've ever read cover to cover and it's changed so much about how I view my children and their independence.

While I was pregnant I read What to Expect When Your Expecting and I must admit that What to Expect the first year was my bible that first year... toddler years is also a good one. This sounds like a great read!

I think Spiritual Midwifery has to be the biggest impact- some kind of trip combined with "ok now I get how this midwifery thing developed" combined with are you serious? you want to rename pain? It was a long time ago (3 1/2-4 yrs ago) when I was preggers the 1st time and had a couple of neurons actually communicating with each other so don't quote me on it.

The best one so far is the conditioner only in our hair. Me and the kiddos are trying it out!

I loved the Book "Raising Godly Tomatoes" by L. Elizabeth Kreuger. It really, really helped bring things into perspective for my husband and I about discipline, spending time with our children, priorities, and just plain old enjoying our children! You know the questions you start to have like when to discipline, how to discipline, etc? It really made the answers to those questions so simple, gave us confidence as parents, and brought the focus back to God. Of course, with every book you take the good things that will work for your family, and leave the others. But the main point of the book applied to our family life brought so much peace into our entire family!

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