What to Expect the First Year

ISBN: 0761129588
ISBN 13: 9780761129585
By: Heidi Murkoff Arlene Eisenberg Sandee Hathaway

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About this book

Some things about babies, happily, will never change. They still arrive warm, cuddly, soft, and smelling impossibly sweet. But how moms and dads care for their brand-new bundles of baby joy has changed—and now, so has the new-baby bible. Announcing the completely revised third edition of What to Expect the First Year. With over 10.5 million copies in print, First Year is the world’s best-selling, best-loved guide to the instructions that babies don’t come with, but should. And now, it’s better than ever. Every parent’s must-have/go-to is completely updated. Keeping the trademark month-by-month format that allows parents to take the potentially overwhelming first year one step at a time, First Year is easier-to-read, faster-to-flip-through, and new-family-friendlier than ever—packed with even more practical tips, realistic advice, and relatable, accessible information than before. Illustrations are new, too. Among the changes: Baby care fundamentals—crib and sleep safety, feeding, vitamin supplements—are revised to reflect the most recent guidelines. Breastfeeding gets more coverage, too, from getting started to keeping it going. Hot-button topics and trends are tackled: attachment parenting, sleep training, early potty learning (elimination communication), baby-led weaning, and green parenting (from cloth diapers to non-toxic furniture). An all-new chapter on buying for baby helps parents navigate through today’s dizzying gamut of baby products, nursery items, and gear. Also new: tips on preparing homemade baby food, the latest recommendations on starting solids, research on the impact of screen time (TVs, tablets, apps, computers), and “For Parents” boxes that focus on mom’s and dad’s needs. Throughout, topics are organized more intuitively than ever, for the best user experience possible.

Reader's Thoughts

Amanda Cook

I never finished this book. Much like What To Expect When You're Expecting, there were times when I felt inadequate as a mother because I wasn't doing EXACTLY as the book recommended. I know that every child is different and has individual wants and needs, and there were many good ideas to keep in mind. However, I think there were a few times in the book that I felt the authors were a little preachy about specific lifestyle/child-rearing choices. Also, the book kept giving me more reasons to worry about whether or not my son was developing at a "normal" rate. I never finished the book, and I'm not even sure where exactly I stopped--maybe around the time when I realized I wasn't going to get my son to sleep in his own crib, no matter what I did to help him. We just decided that co-sleeping was the right decision for us at this time. Eventually (hopefully), my husband and I will get our bed to ourselves! Until then, I've decided to throw the book out the window, metaphorically, and wing this whole parenting thing like every other mom and dad I know.


You know, I was enjoying this book for a while. For the first few months of my son's life, I read each chapter religiously. I crowed over the milestones my son made early, and reassured him about the ones he was a little slow on. I liked how the milestones were presented, as different probabilities but nothing was a given. Since every baby is a snowflake, I appreciate that approach rather than any absolutes. I enjoyed the writing and the sense of a calm approach to parenting.But I got out of the habit of reading it, and I just didn't mind. I enjoy watching my son grow and learn and not thinking about where it might align with other babies. I don't need the advice because I don't feel lost as a parent - it's a respite for now, as soon enough my baby will grow and change and bring new challenges, and a welcome respite. This book is still on my shelf if I need it. But I know I'll be giving it away to a new mom in a couple months and that I won't miss it.

Chad Warner

I read this because I liked What to Expect When You're Expecting. I liked this one even better. It's packed with facts and practical advice. As a first-time dad, I found it especially useful.The chapters on illness and first aid are overwhelming; I quickly gave up on trying to take notes. I skimmed the chapters to become aware of what could happen, but I'd rather rely on advice from the pediatrician or medical staff in the event of serious sickness or injury.I found the section on baby sign language interesting because someone recently told me how she used sign language with her daughter, and it made communicating much less frustrating.NotesFeedingBottles• Introduce bottle around 5 weeks, after breastfeeding is established. Introduce 1st bottle 1-2 hrs after breastfeeding and gradually build up by swapping bottle for breastfeeding.• 1st bottle shouldn’t be offered by mother.• Feed until baby stops eating.• Start with 1-2 oz formula at each feeding and gradually increase. • Start with 1 bottle feeding per day for 1 week before switching to 2/day.• Boil bottles and nipples before 1st use. After that, dishwasher or hand-washing is sufficient.• Discard milk or formula remaining in bottle after feeding.• Start weaning from bottle at 8-11 mos; may take 1-2 mos. Finish by 1 yr.Storing breast milk• Refrigerate as soon as possible.• Room temperature up to 6 hrs.• Refrigerate up to 48 hrs.• Chill for 30 mins, then freeze 1-2 weeks in single-door refrigerator (3-6 months for models that freeze foods solid).• Thaw in fridge and use within 24 hrs, or thaw under lukewarm tap water and use within 30 mins.Solid foods• Introduce solids at 4-6 mos, depending on doctor’s orders.• Introduce foods 1 at a time, 3-5 days apart.• Iron-enriched cereal is the easiest source of iron for non-formula-fed babies.• You can freeze homemade baby food in ice cube trays.Early foods• 4-6 mos: rice cereal.• 6 mo: barley cereal, oat cereal, applesauce, bananas, pears, peaches, peas, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, squash.• 7-8 mos: chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, avocado, egg yolk.• 9 mo: yogurt (whole milk), cheese (Swiss, Cheddar), pasta, beans, tofuCups• Start teaching to use cup at 5 mo.• To motivate switch from bottle to cup, use bottle only for water, and cup for other drinks.• Sippy cups have many negatives, so avoid if possible. Start with spoutless cup and use sippy later if necessary, but limit sipping to meals and snack times.Miscellaneous feeding notes• Powder formula is least expensive.• By 4 mo, babies don’t need to eat during night.• No nuts or honey until doctor okays, around 1 yr.• It’s OK to let baby eat food dropped on house’s floor.• Try to hold off on sweets for at least 1st year.• Limit sugar and salt.• Don’t forbid foods; allow occasional treats when child understands the concept of rare treats.• When doctor okays cow’s milk (around 1 yr), give only whole milk until age 2.• Don’t push food on baby. If she likes only one food for a week or more, let her eat it. However, try to sneak other foods into or onto it.• Don’t laugh at or scold high chair antics, or baby will be encouraged. Don’t comment on manners except for praising good behavior.• Brush and wipe baby teeth with washcloth after meals and at bedtime.• Don’t use fluoridated paste.Sleeping• Don’t try to implement a sleep schedule until baby is several months old. • Breastfed babies don’t usually sleep through night until 3-6 months.• You won’t spoil a baby by consistently responding to crying within a couple minutes. Studies show these babies cry less as toddlers. But, if you’ve met baby’s needs, it’s OK to let her cry for 10-15 mins. • By 6 mos, OK to let baby cry it out at night.• Feed baby a while before intended nap or sleep time so she doesn’t fall asleep during feeding. Put to bed when drowsy.• Teach baby to fall asleep without breast or bottle at 6-9 mos, but you can try earlier. Put to bed when drowsy.Schedule• By 3 months, some babies have a regular rhythm, but many don’t.• Don’t try to use a schedule before 2-3 mos; let baby eat and sleep on demand.Playing• Limit baby swing to 30 mins, twice daily. Move her to crib before she falls asleep.• Children don’t understand that items can belong to someone else until 2.5 yrs, and don’t understand sharing until 3.Talking to baby• Avoid pronouns; say “mommy”, “daddy”, and baby’s name.• Use simple words some of the time.• Talk about here and now.• Imitate baby’s sounds.• Raise your pitch; babies prefer high pitches.• Start pronouns around age 1.• If teaching a 2nd language, start at 2.5-3 yrs.Baby sign language• Baby sign language doesn’t impede spoken language skills.• Begin as soon as baby shows active interest in communicating, by 8 mo or earlier. Most babies sign back by 10-14 mos.• Develop your own signs by using simple guestures for words or phrases.• Speak and sign simultaneously.• Encourage others who spend time with baby to sign.• Use signs that baby invents.Discipline• With each “no”, try offering a “yes” in the form of an alternative, to avoid frustrating baby.• Correction and reward work better than punishment.• Your anger triggers baby’s anger; avoid angry outbursts.• Research shows spanking promotes violence, aggression, and antisocial behavior. It also teaches to settle disputes with force.• Alternatives to spanking: consequences such as time-outs, and positive reinforcement.• A spanking or hand smack may be warranted when a child who’s too young to understand words does something dangerous.Walking• Children may first walk at 9 mo, or after 15 mo.• Walking barefoot helps baby learn best. When she walks outside, choose shoes that are closest to bare feet (simple and flexible).Medical care• Keep baby calm for 30 mins before taking temperature so crying doesn’t elevate temp.• Call doctor if baby under 2 mo has rectal temp over 100.2° (105° for over 2 mo).• Don’t give aspirin to children. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is OK under 6 mo; acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Advil) OK over 6 mo.Miscellaneous notes• Pair short last names with long first names (and vice versa). 2-syllable first complement 2-syllable lasts.• Keep nursery above 72° in summer, 68-72° winter days, and 68° winter nights.• Wean from pacifier between 3 and 6 mos.• You don’t need to wash baby’s clothes separately or with different detergent.• Most experts agree that there’s no evidence that intense early learning (such as Baby Einstein) provides a long-term advantage.• It’s OK for baby to suck fingers until age 5.• A woman’s body takes at least 1 yr to fully recover from pregnancy and childbirth. Ideally, wait that long to conceive again.

John Bonner

This was a great book that was fantastic to have handy through our sons first year. As first time parents, my wife and I were pretty clueless about most things, and it was nice to have a convenient, non-internet reference to look through and get answers from.I give this book 5 stars because it is by far the best book of its kind that I have read, and probably the book that I turned to the most during that first year.


I don't know how the other books in this series seemed to only increase my anxiety/make my blood boil and yet this particular title calmed my concerns and fears. This book was like my bible when my son was small. Maybe I was lucky in having a normal, uncomplicated child? Who knows? But, if like me, you don't know when a baby is supposed to start grasping/sitting/babbling/etc., this book is pretty good at breaking down what is normal. Every month is broken down into what your baby should do, what it might do, and what to call the doctor about if the baby is not doing. And the reference section really helped me. I never knew when to call the doctor - this book breaks it down very well.


This book is good, and it's definitely the most popular baby guide. But, there are other books that are better, like the one from the American Academy of Pediatricians, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child. I felt this book included too many topics that were just hype. It also covers topics in an inflammatory way, and then more calmly states the actual facts at the very end of a topic. For instance, it lists a number of foods not to give your child the first or even second year. I was starting to get worried. Then, as a disclaimer at the end, it says not to worry unless you have a family history of allergies to those specific foods. Another example is the list of things your child should do at each milestone. I felt like we kept up pretty well until the last milestone at one year when my child should have been doing everything except fly a rocket ship. Again, I felt panic that we were doing something wrong until I read a little further and figured out that nobody else's kids were doing it either. The next chapter said things like "30% of children won't do this until they're 18 months old." Spend your money on some other book, if you have a chance. But if you're at Wal-Mart, and this is the only book they have, it'll still give you the necessary information.

Elisa Bieg

I got this book after having my oldest was born, a little over 8 years ago. I started reading it, often going ahead of her age, curious of when my daughter would be doing certain things (the book is divided in chapters, by month, and each month you have a list of activities that your baby is likely to be doing at that specific age). I also read the end section of the book, which talks about illnesses and injuries. At times I wondered why I was reading all that stuff, as my daughter was very healthy and I was a very careful mo, and always at home with her, so it was not likely that she would get hurt. But eventually, I found out how true it is what the philospher L. Ron Hubbard wrote: "Be ready for emergencies, for if you are not, you will have emergencies". One day my daughter, who was about 9 months old at the time, was crying desperately, very odd thing for her. Thanks to the information gotten from this book, I was able to prompty "diagnose": she had an inguinal hernia. I called the children hospital and described the signs and symptoms (the book also teaches you what to take note of and what to describe when you call the emergency room, for speedy handling) and the doctor said it sounded like I was right and to bring her in. We did, and the matter got handled over the weekend, then I took my daughter home. When I brought her to her Pediatrician for a check of the area, a week later, he congratulated me for the way I handled it, and told me he was really proud of me being able to diagnose it correctly and getting it handled accordingly, saving my daughter a great deal of pain and complications. And all thanks to this book. Had it been one of the usual baby books, biased by one current of thought only and hard to read and understand, I wouldn't have read it! Instead it's very informative, easy to read and understand, and on many important issues (breastfeeding/bottle feeding, sleeping schedule and habits, etc) it offers several viewpoints and info on the various currents of thought.


It was no doubt helpful to this clueless first time mom, but I won't be investing in the Toddler Years edition. Most of what I need parenting advice-wise seems to be online. Plus, this series is bizarrely organized and not very user friendly.


My insurance company sent me this book for free. I have NEVER thrown a book in the trash but I am so tempted to do so with this one. I don't want to donate it out of fear someone will believe the crap they try to pull. Seriously, why the fuck would ANYONE promote a LOW FAT DIET FOR BABIES?! Over and over again! "Is a vegan diet okay for babies?" "Yeah, sure, it's healthy and low-fat!" FUCK YOU. BABIES NEED FAT TO SURVIVE. FOLLOWING THIS BOOK WILL KILL YOUR CHILDREN. If they can't even get that fucking bit right, what all else are they completely WRONG on? My guess is JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. Fucking morons who wrote it, fucking morons who edited it, fucking morons who published it.


I found this book to be very helpful. The information is practical and objective, and it's always been very easy for me to find what I was looking for, whether it was developmental milestones for a particular age or what constitutes a "high fever" in a 1-month-old. I particularly like the way developmental milestones are listed: what most babies can do at this age, what some babies can do at this age, and what a few babies can do at this age. That framework helps keep in mind the wide range defined as "normal" while still helping me identify any areas of concern.As a side note: I'm a foster parent and happily married to a same-sex spouse. Although this book certainly has information about breastfeeding, it does not assume that all parents breastfeed, nor does it assume that all babies are raised by a husband-and-wife pair. Like many parenting books, it explicitly recognizes that some children are adopted, fostered, or raised by relatives who aren't their biological parents. Unlike many parenting books, the authors do not then return to the mom-dad-baby assumption once they have dispensed with the politically correct acknowledgment. It also doesn't give short shrift to dads, mentioning them only in sidebars about "fathers can do this, too!".I like to read (or re-read) the chapter on a particular month a week or two before the baby in our care reaches that age, to remind myself what might be coming in the coming weeks. I also regularly refer to the sections on health questions and concerns, and use the index to find information on specific topics.All in all, a great reference book, and worth having on your shelves if you have a baby in the house.


الكتاب حجمة كبيير جداا وحقيقة لم استطع قراءته دفعة واحد هو أشبه بالمرجع لكل حالة.. نصائح ممتازة ومناسبة لكل أم .. من أهم الامور التي استفدت منها جداول الاعراض للامراض كثييرا لا نعلم ماسبب صياح الطفل لكن هناك بكل مرحلة عمرية تقريبا يوجد جدول للأعراض ومتابعة حالة الطفل من لون البراز ودرجة الحرارة لمعرفة حالة الطفل وسبب بكاءة.... أفادني كثييراا الحمدلله .. وأخيرا أتمت سارة عامها الاول وأتميت قرائتي للكتاب:)

Ashley Treadway

I read the beginning section, the end section, and about months one and two...so this review doesn't include months three through twelve in the book. I liked the layout and found the information very useful. I borrowed this from the library, but will end up buying it so that when baby arrives, I know what to expect month to month. I didn't read the "When you're expecting" version because I've heard a lot of negative things about it, but I like this one a lot!


***I will preface my review by saying that, apparently, my parenting style is referred to as "Attachment Parenting" which I understand is an institutional term for "Damn Hippie". I simply do what feels natural and right for me and my baby. I have learned to trust my baby, listen to her pediatrician (with a discerning ear), and phooey on anyone that tells me I HAVE to do X-Y-Z to make sure she scores high on the S-A-T. (seriously, if she doesn't eat solids at 120 days old, she will still learn to eat with a spoon!).If you are a control freak who thinks that nap times should be scheduled, or if Clorox is your BFF, than disregard everything I have said and will say in this book review***This book is like the sequel to a movie. The first was good (What to Expect When You're Expecting), but the second installment exists because the producers know it will sell at the box office, no matter how good (or not) it is.***Excepting, of course, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", which far exceeds its predecessor in every regard***This book has some well thought out advice and handy information for the first time parent. However, I gave up on reading this cover to cover, as I did with the first book for nine months, and eventually only used "What to Expect" as a reference guide.My attempt to read this chapter by chapter each month was met with several difficulties. Firstly, Heidi Murkoff must be crazy, or Super Mom to think that any Mother of a newborn or infant has the time to read this monstrosity; it simply cannot be held in one hand while the other hand cradles a nursing baby, the weight of the book will possibly break the hand in such an attempt. This coincides with my other difficulty with the book: there is just too much information for the average parent. This book covers so many topics, that much of the information was irrelevant to me, and only served to cause mild paranoia. Reading this book made me more paranoid than I had the right to be. I was worried about all of the rare and uncommon diseases, calculating my daughter's chance of SIDS, and being altogether too calculating about what to do the first year.The useful part of this book is the first page of each chapter, the only part that actually tells you what to expect each month of the first year. What the common developmental milestones are, accompanied by a mild reassurance that every child develops at their own rate, and what to anticipate at the pediatric check up each month.This book is better used as a reference. Instead of implanting worries into the mind of a new parent, the glossary at the end of this book can be a quick go to for questions like "Is my baby sleeping too much?", "What is nipple confusion?", "Is what my Mother in Law said REALLY true?!" and other ridiculous things every parent wonders and ends up calling the pediatrician's office about.I have found that signing up for the whattoexpect.com email subscription to be a good way to get much of the information found in this book in a chronologically relevant manner to my inbox.


This book has some basic information that's useful, and tables for common OTC drugs based on weight and type of suspension at the back that are great for when internet access is out and you need to look them up. And this book helped teach my husband how to change a diaper.However, some of the information is just not great. I would recommend skipping the whole section on breastfeeding and reading some better books on it instead. The growth, eating, sleep, and sibling sections have been spectacularly unhelpful for our family. And a lot of the stuff is just redundant, not to mention some of it is confusing. Overall, a basic book with an okay knowledge base, but I would recommend getting more in-depth books on topics you need to know about, as well as looking for more up-to-date information on websites such as BabyCenter, Kelly Mom, or WebMD.


What to Expect the First Year is a reference guide to the first year of your child's life. The first section of the book goes through milestones/development/etc. month by month. The second section covers various topics by chapter (first aid, low birthweight babies, adopted babies, what it's like postpartum, etc.). Then there is a short third section that gives recipes for food appropriate for toddlers, common home remedies and common illnesses. I was loaned this book by my friend Nancy. I thought I could skim through this book, much like there were large sections I could skim in What to Expect When You're Expecting, but I found that I actually read through most of the book. I would say that the content is helpful, but that in reading this book, I felt that I actually got kind of anxious because the book goes into so many things that can go wrong/be difficult/etc. I have heard that people generally feel that way about the What to Expect When You're Expecting book, but I did not experience that same anxiety with that book. I am glad to be done with the book and think that it gives a good sense of what you can expect, but I also think that perhaps this one is best left as a reference book to look at as a starting point when experiencing something with your children, not necessarily a "must read" before having the child, like I did.

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