Friday, November 12, 2010

Review - Your Baby is Speaking to You by Dr. Kevin Nugent

Your Baby is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby
By: Dr. Kevin Nugent
Photographs by: Abelardo Morell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: January 13, 2011
128 Pages

Book Description (from Amazon):
From an international expert on infant-parent communication, Your Baby Is Speaking To You is destined to become a parenting classic. Through intimate access to babies and their families, Dr. Kevin Nugent and acclaimed photographer Abelardo Morell capture the amazingly precocious communications strategies babies demonstrate from the moment they are born.
Your Baby Is Speaking to You illustrates the full range of behaviors—early smiling to startling, feeding to sleeping, listening to your voice and recognizing your face. The newest research—including information on subtle and fleeting behaviors not seen or explained in any other book—illuminates the meaning of the things babies do that concern and delight new parents:
   – the language of yawning
   – the rich range of cries, and how to understand their meanings
   – baby’s earliest “sleep smiles” and sleep states, and what they signify 
Your Baby Is Speaking To You delivers the information parents crave in gentle, accessible style while giving parents the confidence they need to respond to their own baby’s way of communicating during the very first astonishing days and the months beyond. 

My Review:
I am grateful to have received a ARC e-copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher. The cover of this book is what first attracted me to read this. Isn't that baby adorable?! Another reason this book attracted me is that I would love to be able to understand my newborn son's expressions, and the fact that this book had pictures to go along with the expressions seemed very helpful! 

The book is broken up into several chapters:
Sleeping, Crying, Eating
The Amazing Newborn
Your Baby's Senses
Settling In
The Social Newborn
The Growing Baby, the Bigger World
Parent and Baby and the Lifelong Bond
Each chapter has sections, and they are accompanied by a picture. These pictures were so beautiful, the babies were full of expression and it was so helpful to see a picture of the expression the author described in the section next to it! 

I learned so much about "infants" from this book, for example, "The word "infant" derives from the Latin infans, meaning unable to speak. But even though babies cannot speak, they have a wide range of stunningly precocious communication strategies." The author does a great job of going through everything there is to know about these "precocious communication strategies". 

"Her language can be as clear as a good loud cry ("Help me") or as subtle and fleeting as a puckering of the brow to indicate slight displeasure ("This interaction is a little too intense for me"). It can be a bright-eyed look ("This is interesting") or a faint change of facial color ("I'm slightly stressed, please give me a short break"); a tiny sleep smile ("I am at ease, please don't disturb me") or a quickening in the pace of her breathing ("This is becoming too stimulating")......You Baby is Speaking to You will tell you how to watch for and interpret all these signals."

Each sub-chapter has a very detailed account of a certain aspect about your newborn baby. For instance, under the section Settling In is a chapter about Drowsiness where Dr. Kevin Nugent describes the baby's transition from awake to asleep. "She does not seem to be looking at anyone or anything in particular. If she does open both eyes, it will be only for a few seconds. This baby is clearly in transition, as if undecided about whether to come out to take a look at her inviting new world or remain in the reassuring calm of her comfortable, protective sleep." 

The cool thing about these sections, is that the author doesn't just tell you about a state, he describes how you should react and what you should know about your newborn's state of mind. "When your baby is in this sate, she is telling you to wait for her next communication cue. She may be saying, "Give me time. I need to be wide awake before I can begin to enjoy feeding and looking at you." 

I really enjoying reading this book and relishing in the pictures of the newborns. It was a funny journey through the book and recognizing the facial expressions that my own son makes. I would highly recommend this book, it was a joyous experience, and I've even shared it with my parents. They enjoyed it as well!

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