Alyce Wilson's Reviews > What to Expect the Toddler Years

What to Expect the Toddler Years by Heidi Murkoff
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Apr 25, 12

Read in April, 2012

I received the 1994 edition of this book second-hand, and I'm happy I didn't pay for it. While "What to Expect While You're Expecting" is recognized as a valuable book for expectant mothers, I find this sequel to be more alarmist than helpful for parents of toddlers.

While I expect to both agree and disagree with any parenting book, when I'm reading this one, I more often disagree. It's possible that newer editions have changed the advice given, but in this edition, the authors recommend the Ferber method of teaching children to sleep by themselves. That method has also been called the "cry it out" method, because it depends on allowing the child to cry for longer and longer periods each night in order to teach them to go to sleep. For many reasons, this method has been highly criticized, and without getting into a lengthy discussion, it just feels wrong to me.

In the same way, the book makes assumptions about weaning babies at a year (which is fine when the baby is ready for it but unfair to babies who are slower adapting to solid food). Those who believe in baby-led weaning will find themselves feeling like outsiders while reading this book.

The book is divided by month (12th month, 13th month, et cetera), and each chapter includes FAQs related to concerns from that month. This ends up giving the book an advice column feel and tends to emphasize the negatives. Rather than including a couple paragraphs on "diapering difficulties," for example, why not call the section "diapering" and deal with both issues related to diapering as well as positive advice for choices that parents might consider (such as cloth diapers versus disposables, for example)?

The result of this endless string of answers for "problems" not only feels haphazard but also conveys the opinion that parenting is troublesome and that this book is a first-aid kit or life raft. Rather than seeing this book as a lifesaver, I found myself frequently frustrated by the advice given, as if I'd been handed a child's water-wing instead.
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message 1: by April (new) - added it

April have you read the What To Expect When you are Expecting book? It is the exact same format, as is the What To Expect the First Year. When I recommend these books I tell them to use it more as a reference rather than reading it cover to cover. It seems to me that is the way it is meant to be used, otherwise you set yourself up to be freaked out about every little thing that might go wrong. I have enough to worry about trying to keep my toddler from getting into things and darting away from me without having a heart attack about some ailment or another that may or may not happen.
Its not a book about potty training or sleep training. There are far to many views on each of these to include them all. I personally have several books on each subject choosing to use the cafeteria style of parenting (a little of this and a little of that). Taking advice from one book is not the best idea


Alyce Wilson April wrote: "have you read the What To Expect When you are Expecting book? It is the exact same format, as is the What To Expect the First Year.

I did use that book and found it very helpful, which is why I thought this book would be useful, too. You're probably right to use it more as a reference book than reading it cover to cover like I did. I liked other books, such as the Dr. Sears "Baby Book," better.


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