Keep Calm - The New Mum's Manual by GP and mother of two Dr Ellie Cannon is a new parenting book which hails as "the perfect antidote to guilt-inducing parenting guides". Having four children of my own, I was keen to see what this book offers that is different from the multitude of parenting books I've already read over the years!
Upon opening the book I was immediately drawn to the fact that Dr Ellie stresses this book is about mums and about helping them to become happy and confident mothers. It's not a book that is going to tell us what to do, when to do it or how to do it! Refreshing, to say the least.
Dr Ellie is very keen to stress to mothers that they should enjoy their babies and that they should learn to trust their own instincts and trust their parenting skills. She believes most of us are simply lacking confidence in our own abilities and that we get worn down and stressed by all the things we think we are supposed to know and be doing. She's right. I've lost count of the many times I ran to others seeking answers only to realise that my first instincts were usually what I ended up following anyway!
The book covers many topics including chapters on the basic elements of caring for a newborn such as:
- Confidence from Day One
- Sleep? What Sleep?
- Feeding - Your Baby, Your Business
- How are you Feeling? The Highs and the Lows
- Baby Development - It's Not a Competition
- When Your Baby is Unwell - What You Need to Know
- What next? Starting the Next Stage of Your Life
As a breastfeeding mother and blogger I was obviously particularly keen to read what Dr Ellie has to say on the subject of breastfeeding. I was delighted to discover that she isn't interested in pushing breastfeeding upon new mothers unless it is something they actually want to do themselves. She points out that every woman has her own particular reasons for her choice and that choice is a personal decision for each individual. She knows that many mothers feel a sense of guilt and shame if they can't breastfeed or simply don't want to and reading her chapter upon feeding I felt myself wishing her chapter was presented to each mum-to-be at antenatal classes. Her advice is warm and from the heart and what she says makes a lot of sense. Mothers should never be made to feel guilty about their choice of feeding and they should only do what is right for their particular situation. If they choose to breastfeed and encounter difficulties there is lots of help available to help them continue if that's what they want to do. Equally, she believes if a new mother chooses to stop breastfeeding for whatever reason then she should be supported and not made to feel bad about it.
I was very impressed by her approach to breastfeeding and delighted that it mirrors my own beliefs. Too many people nowadays spend too much time telling new mothers what they should and shouldn't be doing and for each woman her own instincts are the most important guide of all. Yes, helping women succeed in parenting is great and helping them with breastfeeding is also great but if bombarding new mothers with well-meaning words of encouragement makes them feel like failures then something is very wrong! Dr Ellie avoids this with her caring approach. Her book is beautifully written and throughout it feels like you have a really good friend walking alongside you encouraging and impressing upon you that you are a great mother if only you could see it for yourself.
Keep Calm - The New Mum's Manual by Dr Ellie Cannon is published by Vermilion and is available now from bookstores.