Book Review: The Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year

If you saw my review of The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, you know how excited I was to read this. But this review will probably be much shorter and less glowing than that one. In a nutshell, this book is a bit superfluous. And coming from me, that’s saying something. I love reading and researching and will jump on just about any chance to do so, but in this case? Well, let’s jump right in.

There’s nothing really wrong with this book, it’s just kind of boring. Most of the information in it is a retread of info found in The Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, and I would recommend reading that over this. Once you get past the first few months of having a newborn, there’s a lot less to worry about. Or at least, there’s different things to worry about. But you’re no longer in that stage where sleeping, eating, and falling are life or death situations. Once your little one’s a bit older, you rely more on common sense than needing to look up what to do.

The Pregnancy Guide’s chapters on the first few months offer great coverage of breastfeeding, immunizations, sleep training, and all those things. This guide really just elaborates, and I found the elaboration to not really be necessary.

One thing I did really enjoy about this book were the parts on what it’s like to be a new parent emotionally. It’s very cathartic to read that your feelings, especially negative ones and “baby blues” ones, are common and normal. And it offers good ways to cope. But again, rather than recommending this book, I’d lean more towards suggesting finding a book that exclusively focuses on parenting and feelings.

The more utilitarian information is all stuff that you’re gonna hear from your pediatrician. Developmental milestones, when to get immunizations, introducing solid foods, these are all going to be covered if you’re seeing a pediatrician regularly. Don’t replace that with a book, babies need all those checkups each month. Your pediatrician will tell you when your little one can start table food, and you can judge if you want to go ahead or wait on it.

If you don’t have a communicative pediatrician and can’t switch, or if you don’t have other mom friends or your own parents around to talk to, then maybe this book would be helpful to you, but honestly, once the baby is out and growing, you’re going to get floods of information from everywhere. From programs like WIC where you have to attend occasional classes, to alarmist facebook posts from well-meaning in-laws, you’re going to hear about most everything. Plus, that first year goes by so fast, you’ll hardly have time to research each step (or read a book, for that matter).

So yeah. My consensus is basically “meh.” There’s nothing bad or wrong about this book, it’s just kind of dull and an extra thing that you don’t really need to be fussing with in your child’s first year.

Sorry this wasn’t more exciting to read, haha. Meh reviews are hard. I’ve got a few more parenting/pregnancy books to read since I’m unexpectedly pregnant with #2 on the way. Stay tuned!

Shanna Groves: Confessions of a Lipreading Mom

I’m an avid reader of Shanna Groves’ blog Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom, so when I heard she was releasing her second book and going on a “blog book tour,” I jumped at the chance to interview her! I have an inadvertent theme of interviewing invisibly ill novelists, so I thought it would be good to roll with it! We interviewed Rosa Fontanna, who published the book The Directive about Crohn’s, and Morgan Rutledge, an aspiring novelist who has adult ADHD and Ulcerative Colitis.

Shanna brings a new type of invisible illness to the table here – yes, not all novelists have gut issues. Shanna has adult onset hearing loss, and this is her second book on the subject. The first was fiction, and this one is her own true story! I was excited to ask her a few questions, and not only raise some awareness, but educate myself on the topic as well. Be sure to check out her blog (linked above) to find out more!

Shanna Groves_Lip Reader

What is your latest book about?

Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom is my second book. It is a memoir of being a hard of hearing mom to three small children. My progressive hearing loss was diagnosed two months after my oldest child was born. I was 27. The book explores the rollercoaster emotions I experienced as a young mom experiencing a progressive health issue. My worries included: Would I hear my babies cry? Would I hear the phone ring or the smoke alarm? How could I keep my kids safe if I couldn’t hear all of these sounds? Through trial and error, I learned to accept my hearing loss and even help others going through the same thing. I hope this book will inspire others to live their lives with passion, despite their health challenges. My publisher is CrossRiver Media, a small Christian publishing company, and more information about the book can be found at,,, or My first book, a novel about the Deaf culture titled Lip Reader, is available on Amazon.

What sort of unique challenges did being deaf pose to writing a book? Do you have any advice for writers in general?

Among the challenges with writing a book is taking care of a family while balancing work responsibilities. Would I make a writing deadline, when one of my children is sick and needs my attention? I learned to go with the flow and not worry about all the unpredictable things that come with being a work-from-home mom. My advice with writers is to find a project you are most passionate about and carve out 20 minutes of writing time a day, five days a week. Take two days off per week to recharge your creative energies. Get connected with a writing critique group, either online or locally. I participated in a critique group through the Heart of America Christian Writers Network at

What does a “bad day” look like for you?

I once wrote a blog titled “I’m Having a Bad ‘Hear’ Day.” What this post consisted of was waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I didn’t hear the alarm, so I overslept. This caused the morning school routine with my kids to be rushed, so I forgot to put in my hearing aids prior to dropping everyone off at school. Conversations in the car with my children were stressful because I couldn’t hear them well…and I didn’t want to take my eyes off the road to lip read them. My youngest son, age 5, began screaming to get my attention, and this annoyed his oldest brother, who began screaming at his sibling. And on and on and on until everyone was safe at school. Then I went home to grab some ibuprofen.

Other than writing, what do you like to do?

When not writing, I am attempting to lip read three very chatty children! That is a job in itself, you know. 🙂 I also am involved in the local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America and my local church. I love going on date nights with my husband of almost 17 years. We like captioned movies, live music, and antiquing. (Okay, *I* like antiquing!)

So what’s next?

I hope you will encourage your blog readers to check out two projects with which I am involved:

– Stop Hearing Loss Bullying at This is a campaign to bring awareness and solutions to the troubling phenomenon of bullying among people who are hard of hearing or deaf. The Stop Hearing Loss Bullying video went live May 24, a Facebook page has been set up at, and I’m asking everyone to tweet the following message on Twitter: “I support #StopHearingLossBullying. Learn more at”

– Show Me Your Ears at More than 200 people around the world have submitted photos of their ears to promote deaf and hearing loss awareness. A person doesn’t have to have hearing loss to participate. All ear photos are welcome!

Confessions Cover 3D

Be sure to check out “Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom,” and all of Shanna’s other exciting projects!