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

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!

Smita Jha

I think like a lot of people who loved "What to Expect when you're Expecting' I have mixed feelings about this book.It was helpful and had a lot of useful information organized by age. But I think the first year is more about time ranges for things to happen and some specific issues just occupy more of your time. I spent half my time trying to figure out nutrition for the baby (breastfeeding and then solids) and then dealing with teething. Colic wasn't much fun either. The development stuff was obviously a pre-occupation too, but the book just helped me with the outline only.So, basically - it helps you deal with your first stage questions on everything from feeding, teething, sleeping, growing, crawling, walking, talking and other milestones, but if you have more time and based on the personality of your child, you are really going to need more in-depth books on those specific topics.


***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.


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.


As with "What to Expect When You're Expecting", this book is okay, but certainly nothing exceptional. It offers good basic information, but nothing too in-depth. What I liked about this book was a breakdown of every month (other parenting books lump too many months together).What I don't like about this (and other "What to Expect" books) is the format in which they organize info. I can't stand the Q & A format!! It is cheesy. I would rather see information organized in a logical format without all the silly questions. Another downside to the Q & A format is that some of the info in categorized in the complete wrong month!!* Worth Noting * I read this book at the same time as I read "Your Baby's First Year" by the AAP and information/guidance between the two books contradicted each other.

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.


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.

Mary Messall

Useful if not quite as necessary as "When You're Expecting." Good guide to understanding what pediatricians look for, and how babies normally develop.


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.


Very unhelpful and I found it to be a bit biased or maybe just one-sided. She definitely has opinions so if that is what you're looking for maybe you'll like it. I also hated the way it was organized by month rather than by topic. If your baby isn't on the exact same path as she expects them to be then you will have to leaf through looking for the info you want. Also the Q&A sections of each chapter are strange. I didn't really find any useful information in the book. I don't know if there are better ones out there, but for me babycenter.com and Goggle solved all my parenting questions better than this book ever did.

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.

Marsha Stokes

Scott and I absolutely LOVE these books. We have all four of them (What to Expect BEFORE You're Expecting, What to Expect When You're Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, and What to Expect the Toddler Years) and we just love how much information they give you about starting and raising your family.This author has a great sense of humor, and her books are very comprehensive. In this book, every chapter is a month of your baby's first year, and in that chapter she outlines most of the typical things you can expect to happen during that month. There has hardly been a question or topic that Scott and I haven't been able to find when we look it up in the index.It's easy to read, easy to understand, and gives you a lot of advice and information on how babies develop during their first year. We would typically read part of a chapter every Monday for FHE and then try to be ready for the next chapter by the time Chris's monthly birthdays came around. I highly recommend this series of books.


I had a similar book passed on from a coworker and my pediatrician said it was probably fine, but as I read the book in the first month of my daughter's life, I didn't trust it. I think something it said contradicted what my pediatrician told me. So I went and bought this one too. And I love it. I love it so much that I read the first month even though we are past the first month. I read the parts that are written about before baby is born. This book anticipates my questions and concerns so well, as a (trying to be/sorta) working mom and as an overthinker trying to do everything right. It does a great job of laying out the options and encouraging the reader to make her own choice when appropriate.


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.


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.

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