Newsflash: I am getting rid of my What to Expect books!
Headline: They are stupid.

When I became a parent, I, like 7 million other similarly minded people, was under the impression that this was "the Bible" for new parents. I would follow along faithfully each month to see which milestones I could expect my child to reach.

Each chapter begins with something like this -


By six months, your baby... should be able to:


...will probably be able to:


...may possibly be able to:


...may even be able to:

Say 500 Words

Note to readers: All babies reach milestones on their own developmental time line. If your baby seems not have to have reached one or more of these milestones, rest assured, he or she is not an idiot.
Do you get what I am saying? What is the point? I would rather measure my child's development against Molly Mormon Housewife's boastful blog posts about her kids than this vague and politically correct nonsense.

Something else strange about these books are the reader questions. New parents can be really dumb. Here is one example from What to Expect When You are Expecting (Page 132):

"I'm eager to eat well, but it's difficult to figure out what's in the products I buy."

Come on! Is reading the labels really so difficult for you that you had to submit this question to a parenting book? Who are these people?

I could go on about their bias towards the "Cry it Out" method or why is there a chapter on weaning your child from breastfeeding when they are 10 months old... but I will stop. True, there are some good things, such as, a reference guide for giving your child Tylenol and the conversion for taking an axillary temperature, but all of these things are on the internet. If anyone is interested in these books before I toss them in the trash, let me know.


  1. and each child is so different!!! My baby is only 4 months old and has 2 bottom teeth. He is currently cutting a couple of more. So I looked back in baby books--not one of my children got their teeth at the same age.

    No thanks to your books--

    Mother knows best :)

    PS--Don't we all wish there was a step-by-step instruction manual that comes with each child? (my mom once told me that we do, though--prayer and scriptures)

  2. I never really read my What To Expect book...that is what the internet and blog stalking are for! Would love to hear your take on weaning! How old was Luke when he stopped nursing? I am still not sure when I want to stop nursing my little guy...

  3. I agree that some of the reader questions they include are so ridiculous! I bought the books but rarely ever use them because it's much more convenient to get weekly emails about your baby's "milestones"... but if you want to make some money sell them on half.com, we've had a lot of success selling books that way!

  4. My favorite reader questions were always the ones written in that needed immediate response, sometimes emergency. Yet they were written into a parenting book.

  5. Asa Doula THAT is the ONE book I tell my Clients (couples that are not yet parents)not to buy! Seriously, it is more "fear-inducing" than it is encouraging and accurate.
    Good decision to toss it rather than share it.

  6. It's so funny you wrote about this because I feel the exact same way! You told me to buy the what to expect when expecting, and I liked that one, so I bought the what to expect the first year and I seriously read it for the first couple months and then never opened it again. It is SO LAME!!!!! I really would feel like something was wrong with Jonah if he wasn't doing the "should be able to" part. When Jonah was first born I read it for help, and it never gives you an exact answer! It says it could be this this this this or this but don't worry it's normal. I agree, just call your doctor or go online.

  7. I don't like any of those books. They are a waste of money...

  8. Those books are only helpful if you have never been around other people before.

  9. so funny, because I was just thinking that I might go buy it. Well now that no one reading your blog likes that book, I'll save the money.

  10. My favorite thing about this book is all the warnings it gives. Everything is ridden with potential dangers. The sand at the park, the indoor air at a restaurant, spoiled eggs in the fridge, the choking of the extra ties on the crib bumper pad. It's a miracle anyone survives the first year.



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