The New Baby & Child Care Handbook.

The New Baby & Child Care Handbook

Marina Petropulos

MP Books

Seeking advice from the parents of older children and from older people becomes an instinctive impulse when you become a parent.

Nothing puts a plug quite so solidly in the rowdy mouth of arrogant youth than a new baby in the home and, while turning to mothers and mothers-in-law has some advantages, most of them have put those days behind them and cannot remember or have outdated ideas regarding the minutiae of baby care.

But for more than 20 years, millions of South African mothers – so many of whom are separated from their own older generation who might share wisdom – have turned to Marina Petropulos for guidance.

After several editions and several more reprints of each edition, Petropulos has released The New Baby & Child Care Handbook, for further generations of SA parents to benefit from.

For those who don’t know, the book is a veritable one-stop knowledge shop and even one mother’s reading of it can leave it tattered and worn and full of mashed butternut streaks…

By the time I’d received mine as the third person in the hand-me-down, it was falling to bits. It’s that kind of book.

Not only does it seem to cover every single solitary freaky, benign, apparently stupid or incredibly bright question a fuzzy-headed mother might find herself asking, but it does so in a calm, credible, non-judgemental and non-patronising tone.

Petropulos’s topics and simply stated advice include feeding (breast and bottle, and introducing solids), and a chapter each on the first few years, the child moving away into the world, and the sick child.

There are also the more tricky, personal topics like the hopes we have for our children, and – very sensitively and sensibly dealt with – the issue of discipline. Petropulos applies a rational, well-argued approach in the latter topic.

The index is clear and so thorough that you don’t need to have a complex vocabulary or make stabbing guesses as to what she might have listed which topic under. This is perfect for frazzled mothers.

Particularly useful are the handy grids to illnesses, their symptoms and when seeing a doctor is definitely indicated.

The final chapter contains information and contact details of organisations, support groups and specialists.

Petropulos, surrogate mother and granny to SA mothers for more than three decades, here consolidates her life’s labours in a book that exudes both calm reassurance and a quiet injunction to share her awe at babies’ potential, given the right kind of care. - Cape Times