The only baby book you need

I was delighted to recently receive the wonderful news that someone close to me is pregnant with her first baby (you know who you are, E), which inspired me to finally write a review of Dr Ellie Cannon’s book for new mums that I received and read (in 48 hours) a few months ago.

Keep Calm: The New Mum’s Manual (Trust yourself and enjoy your baby)” is the baby book that ALL new parents should read, mums and dads alike.

Keep calm the new mum's manual l Dr Ellie Cannon l The only baby book you need l l French and Parenting and Lifestyle Ramblings

When I was pregnant with L, our eldest, I remember asking my mum how to know what to do; if the baby cries should I go to him/her or let them cry it out, how do you know? I asked my mum, because as a mother of five I was convinced she’d have the answer.

But her response was unexpected, “go with your instinct”, you know your baby better than anyone else, better than any expert, better than any doctor. Strange advice for this yet-to-be-mum.

However those words have stayed with me over the years (nearly 8), and I was delighted to have them repeated by trusted GP and mum-of-two, Dr Ellie Cannon in her book.

Over the nearly 8 years that I’ve been a mum I’ve read several books on babies, including the controversial “Contented little baby book” by Gina Ford, “Secrets of the baby whisperer” by Tracy Hogg and “The happiest baby on the block” by Harvey Karp. Whilst each book has been interesting in their own way, they’ve all taken away my confidence in my own parenting abilities (although Harvey Karp’s book is worth reading for his ideas on the fourth trimester and the 5 ‘S’s).

On the other hand, Dr Ellie’s book reassured me that I knew what I was doing, that was the expert of my baby, and that competitive mums, well-meaning relatives and over-zealous friends could mostly be ignored as knew best.

Reading it when my second child was 18 months old was sad. Sad because I was nodding along and wishing that I’d read the book 8 years previously when I didn’t have a clue.

Whilst I think the book is probably unnecessary for second-time parents, I believe it is a must read for first time mums (and dads), hence the title.

Dr Ellie takes you through what it means to have a baby, chapter by chapter, covering sleep, feeding, feelings, , development and illness. Basically all the questions any new mum (or dad) asks themselves at some time or another.

There were only 2 points that I felt were missing/that I disagreed on:


Dr Ellie talks about the need to sterilise bottles. This is something I’ve blogged about before so I won’t go back into it again, if you have any doubts/questions over sterilisation read To sterilise or not, that is the question (including the comments), then you can form your own opinion (I never sterilised anything for either baby).

BLW (Baby Led Weaning)

There is a lot of information about weaning in Dr Ellie’s book, which is fab! But BLW (for those new to the game – Baby Led Weaning where the baby feeds him/herself with actual food and no purées) is not mentioned, which I think is a shame, especially as BLW is reported to help reduce the risk of obesity amongst many other benefits. I’ve written about our experience of BLW if you’re interested: Killing my baby with BLW. If you’d like to know more I would recommend this baby led weaning website (a version of which helped me make the BLW decision in France over 7 years ago).

Other than that The New Mum’s Manual is a baby book that I can’t fault; it doesn’t tell you to put your child onto a schedule or routine, it doesn’t suggest you start trying to figure out what your baby’s different cries are for, it doesn’t dictate, it just tells you again and again to trust your instinct, whilst backing this message up with information and evidence that may help you and reassure you that you won’t kill your baby (a fear I think all new parents have).

Dr Ellie Cannon is a London-based GP and medical expert in various media outlets: Mail on Sunday, Woman Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Sky News, BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, This Morning and many more. Through this blog I have been lucky enough to meet Dr Ellie on a couple of occasions, and she couldn’t be nicer or more down to earth. If you’ve got any questions for her I’m sure she’d be delighted to answer them via Twitter: @Dr_Ellie

Dr Ellie Cannon with baby l The only baby book you need l l French and English Parenting and Lifestyle Ramblings

Dr Ellie with C in April this year (C was a bit dazed by the blogging event we were at!)

Would I recommend The New Mum’s Manual to first time parents? 

Hell, yes! If you have a friend who tells you they are pregnant with their first child, THIS is what you should buy them, sod baby rattles!

Disclosure: Dr Ellie Cannon kindly gave me a copy of her book when I mentioned it sounded interesting. I have been meaning to write this review forever as I absolutely loved the book, but life got in the way, E’s pregnancy has given me a kick in the backside to finally get on with it. All words and opinions, as ever, are my own.


6 Responses

  1. I LOVE the sound of this book! Like you I’ve read all ‘those’ books and while there were some elements that I took away with me (I’m a really ‘routine’ fan by the way) I agree that as a first time parent I was befuddled with too much information and didn’t let my instincts tell me what was the right thing to do. Hindsight is always 20:20 of course but I wish I’d had this book when the eldest was born… great review x
    Michelle Reeves (bodfortea) recently posted…My little bookwormMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Glad you liked the review, I so regretted not having this book when I was trying to figure it all out pre baby number 1. I attempted Gina Ford with C as I liked the routine we had with then 6 year old L, but it died a death about 6 weeks in and that was when she slept through from her dream feed to 7am. I think everyone will have different ways to handle a newborn but the confidence boost this book gives you is a must.

  2. Shannon says:

    I have an 8 month daughter and have yet to read a single parenting book, because they all seem a bit judgey – but this one sounds much more supportive. Something good to read if you need reassurance. I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I thought it was brilliant as it was just so down-to-earth and such a confidence boost!

  1. 15/01/2015

    […] Ellie on a couple of occasions and she is such a genuine, down-to-earth, all round lovely person. I reviewed the new mum’s manual here so I won’t go into it again, except to say that this is THE baby book that all expectant […]

  2. 31/03/2015

    […] Read the rest of the post at its original source by clicking here. […]

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