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


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.


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.


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.


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.


I liked this book more than most of the other books about baby care I read. This book is however about the ideal, and not necessarily the reality of being a new mother.I do appreciate that they at least try to be fair to both sides of most situations (like breastfeeding or not).I didn't give it more stars for the following reasons:1. It is more for parents of American or maybe British babies. Not everything suggested or talked about happens in every country (for example the frequent pediatric check-ups).2. The book isn't so realistic about being a new parent. Most (not all) brand new mothers are stressed, down and just try to brush their teeth everyday in between caring for their babies.3. MANY of the suggestions for stimulating your young baby and interacting with him/her ridiculous because babies at that age can't, won't or does want to take part in what you have planned for it. 4. It can dump a lot of unnecessary guilt and worry on a new parent. 5. The cover of the book looks like the 80's lost its dinner over 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.


my daughter's first year is almost up, so i'm officially moving this book off the currently reading shelf. truth is, i didn't quite finish it.ideally, if you're someone who can retain information well enough, then read the whole thing in advance. i wish i had. it was a good safety net and i'm glad i had it, but as far as true usefulness? it falls a bit short. i tried reading it like i read the expecting book: a month or two ahead of the milestone so i knew what to expect. (hur, hur). that doesn't work for several reasons:-there is no time.-baby milestones are all over the place. i could have used some chapters months early (what to do with your insanely active baby), and others (what to feed a baby with a mouth full of teeth) i still really don't need. -the answer to virtually everything is "call your pediatrician to be sure". that's not necessarily a wrong answer, but it's a waste of time to repeat it the entire book long.-a lot of the "how to" focuses on newborns. that's great for the first few months, but knowing what to do with my 8 month old in the bath is also important and different.-also, there is no time.as a "what's that strange thing my baby is doing?" resource it works fairly well, but that's about it, and that's what the internet is for.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

Bethany Sanner

Not as neccessary as "What to expect when you're expecting" but still a comforting reference book...sometimes I disagree with it though...Mom knows best.

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