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Cherish the First Six Weeks: A Plan that Creates Calm, Confident Parents and a Happy, Secure Baby Paperback – February 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307987272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307987273
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

HELEN MOON is a certified baby specialist with over 25 years of professional experience. One of the most exclusive childcare experts in the US and UK, Helen has appeared on the reality series Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Why the First Six Weeks Are So Important

Have you ever wondered why celebrities don’t seem stressed or sleep deprived, and they look so good after giving birth to their babies? In addition to the benefits of private chefs and in-home personal trainers, celebrity moms usually hire a baby specialist like me!

Now, it’s your turn to learn all my inside tips for caring for your newborn. I may not be able to come to your home and guide you in person, but I can share with you all my years of baby and parenting wisdom, practical advice, and tried-and-true shortcuts. Since babies don’t come with instruction manuals, the next best thing is a book that will make your baby’s first six weeks as smooth and comfortable for both baby and parents as possible.

As a baby specialist and professional nanny for the past twenty-five years, I have worked closely with hundreds of families in England and the United States, and I can comfortably say that I have probably seen--and heard--it all. There’s nothing like getting involved in the first six weeks of a baby’s life to understand the huge impact that this short time period has on both the entire family and a child’s entire life. Parents tend to be nervous, siblings are needy, and new babies need immediate and constant attention.

I can remember vividly the first day I walked into actor Andrew McCarthy’s house. Neither Andrew nor his wife had had a great deal of experience with babies before, so they looked to me for guidance at every turn. We quickly established a feeding routine to benefit their new little boy, and we worked together to reset the baby’s nocturnal sleep cycle, gradually teaching the baby to sleep more at night and less during the day.

Like any couple, Andrew and his wife, Carol, were full of questions: “Is he eating enough? Is it normal for him to be pooping so frequently?” And my favorite, “Is it normal to have a contented baby who is eating well and sleeping well?”

I remember vividly Andrew actually commenting on the fact that he hadn’t watched so much TV in his life, as we all sat together and watched the first series of The Bachelor. He was so relaxed; watching television was a pleasure, and not something he thought he would have time to do.

I think it was at this point that Andrew turned to me and said, “You need to write a book! I don’t know how we would have done this without you!”

That was about ten years ago, and I am finally writing that book--for you.

In this book, I will share with you a nurturing yet practical approach to caring for babies that will show you exactly how to put your infant (or baby) on a sleeping and feeding schedule in the first week and how to help your child (or children!) sleep through the night as early as six weeks old, as well as realistic suggestions that will ensure that everyone else in the family will also get enough rest.

My plan, which I refer to as CHERISH, will show you exactly how to get your baby on a sleep and feeding schedule that will become a template for the rest of her infancy and beyond, giving her the foundation of how to sleep when she is tired, eat when she is hungry, and calm herself when she gets fussy--all of which will help her self-regulate, enabling her to thrive for the rest of her life! With these life-long skills established, you are able to rest assured that your baby is secure and happy; you, in turn, can comfortably and confidently enjoy this most precious time of your baby’s life, not to mention sleep through the night yourself!



WHY SIX WEEKS?

Why are the first six weeks of a baby’s life so crucial? Because in that time period it’s not only possible but also absolutely crucial for parents to put into place a feeding routine and a sleeping schedule that, in essence, can help regulate your baby’s internal body clock, his ability to calm himself, and other foundational aspects of physical, emotional, and social development. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not. It’s absolutely possible, and I’m going to show you how.

Yes, the days, weeks, and months after your baby is born are a beautiful, thrilling time period, but it’s also a time when many parents panic and stop thinking for themselves. One of the first things I do when I meet a new family is reassure the parents that they already know a lot about what it takes to be good parents: we are all born with an innate understanding of what our babies need. Unfortunately, parents often second-guess themselves, listen to others instead of themselves, and then make themselves crazy with worry and anxiety. These doctors, friends, family members, and even respected experts are all well-meaning, and often their counsel is well-founded. But together their input often becomes a jumbled mess of conflicting advice and a new parent in near panic mode cannot make sense of any of it. I recently had a famous singer-turned-fashion designer ask me when it was okay to introduce her baby to cereal. Her baby was more than five months old and was showing very clear signs of needing more than just milk. But when she asked her pediatrician if she could start to offer her a little cereal, the pediatrician stated that if you give a baby cereal before she is six months, she will be prone to obesity!

The mom immediately decided that she couldn’t possibly feed her baby cereal now--even though her instincts were probably more accurate. In this case, with her baby only a couple of weeks away from being six months, and clearly growing well (she was already 16 pounds), it would have been just fine to feed her cereal a couple of weeks early.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, and even as late as the 1980s, our parents fed babies cereal at three months, and sometimes even earlier than that. At that time, it was a common misconception that putting cereal in your baby’s bottle helped her sleep longer. One grandmother told me that she put cereal in her son’s bottle when he was just two weeks old!

Giving cereal to newborns is dangerous, as their little digestive systems are not yet developed enough to handle more than breast milk or formula. On the other hand, I don’t believe that feeding babies cereal before six months is what has created the obesity epidemic; that has arisen from lack of exercise and overeating processed food.

One of the primary characteristics of the CHERISH approach is to learn to pay attention to the needs of your baby, so that you can follow your instincts, think for yourself, and turn to accurate, reliable information about your baby’s health when necessary.

The good news is that how you approach your baby’s first weeks or months does not cause a lot of stress or require extensive thinking, but it does ask you to plan a little and stay calm a lot. What does that come down to? Be organized and don’t panic! The more you are able to stay calm, the more likely you will be able to pay attention to your baby’s cues, stay in tune with your newborn (or baby), and understand his needs. Is your baby hungry? Tired? Complaining because he’s wet? Fussy because of gas?

Babies are not all that complicated, but when parents are sleep deprived or feel insecure about what to do, they can easily get confused, overwhelmed, or both. My approach to taking care of your baby is designed to make you feel calm, confident, and self-assured, so that you know exactly what to do; so that you and your baby can sleep through the night; and so that you won’t spend twenty out of twenty-four hours each day worrying that there’s something wrong with your child--or your parenting skills. I want you to be able not only to enjoy this glorious time of your new child’s life but also to do so while laying down the foundation for a predictable, healthy sleeping schedule, good eating habits, and an overall well-adjusted child.



A LITTLE ABOUT MY TRAINING

My expertise in childcare is based not only on my real-life work with all sorts of families but also on my extensive training and professional development in the areas of infant childcare, sleep, nursing, and nutrition in both the UK and the States. I have a strong educational background in childcare, having completed in 1985 the prestigious English nanny training course NNEB (Nursery Nurse Examination Board) certification. The two-year college course covered all aspects of childcare, from childbirth to seven-year-olds, including development, education, psychology, sociology, nutrition, and much, much more.

The unique aspect of this course was its invaluable amount of hands‑on experience. It’s one thing to be told what to do, and quite another to actually do it. We spent time on a maternity ward working with new moms, sometimes also in the delivery room. We went into a home placement to understand what it meant to be a nanny. We spent every other week in either a nursery school or an elementary school.

This hands‑on form of training prepared us for what to truly expect when working with new babies and young children. During this whole process, we were continually assessed on our performance, were tested frequently on the knowledge we gained, and had numerous tasks to complete. By the time we were certified, we had acquired all the skills needed to provide excellent care of both babies and children--which is why a trained British nanny is so highly regarded.

Since I’ve been in the United States, I have kept up with my training and attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed its Certified Lactation Educator Program, just to ensure I had the knowledge to assist moms with breast-feeding.

So how does this background distinguish me from all the other experts out there? Although I know a lot about child development and infant health issues, I am not a doctor. I’m a baby specialist. I have (and give) hands‑on ...

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Customer Reviews

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Plain and easy to read and follow.
JG
The book said by the 6th week of the plan my baby would sleep all night, well, guess what... HE DID!!
CFFP
He wakes up calm, smiling and best of all well rested from an uninterrupted night of sleep.
Desiree Beutelspacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tom D. on November 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
I only read the first 1/2 of the book, then had to put it down. The author doesn't cite any sources (other than her own experience), and most points are illustrated only by an anecdote about how her methods worked amazingly for some couple or other (or how some other couple couldn't get with the program and so were doomed to an unhappy baby and marriage).

The author frequently sets up straw man arguments, misrepresenting alternative viewpoints and then dismissing the distorted version she has presented. E.g. "I once read about a doctor who said you couldn't spoil your baby in the first six months... I had to chuckle... The only sure way of spoiling a young baby is by not taking charge and by creating bad habits." Well I've never heard that argument made. What I *have* read is that you can't spoil a baby in the first 2 months, and that sleep training before about 4 months is counterproductive. I think the distinction between a newborn and a 6-month-old is a very important one to make in a book for new parents about the first 6 weeks of life.

Elsewhere, the author makes a thinly veiled reference to Harvey Karp's excellent and invaluable book The Happiest Baby on the Block: "I recently had a dad tell me that he had heard the the first three months of a baby's life is considered the fourth trimester, and that your baby should be kept in a quiet semi-darkness the entire first three months, ideally with a sound machine running.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kellums on October 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have no doubt that Helen Moon is great at helping parents develop a schedule to integrate their newborns into their lives... in person. I find her writing to be a little bit rambling and she seems to somewhat frequently contradict herself as well as current SIDS protocols for infant sleep. Regardless of these inconsistencies and the difficulty of trying to figure out "what she means" from what she says, there are some very helpful tips in this book. My husband and I intend to use her recommendations for infant feeding and sleeping schedules with our son (due in 2 weeks). The book was delivered quickly and it has served its purpose in helping us feel competent and optimistic that we can develop strategies for managing the needs of our newborn.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MJP on January 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book sounds SO good, but if your reality is a baby who refuses to close his eyes unless you cover them with something, who wakes up screaming seconds after the rare occasion he falls asleep on his own, and who is unfortunate enough to spend the first month of his life wailing and writhing in pain while you figure out what foods are triggering his extreme gassiness, you will only end up frustrated and feeling like a failure if you try to live by this book. If your infant escalates his cries to screams of fury if you don't feed him when he wakes up at night and will happily scream for HOURS until you exhaustedly give in, this book is setting you up for failure. Some babies just need more time and more mommy/daddy closeness than this book recommends.

If you look at the history of humanity, it's extremely unlikely that babies were ever intended to sleep on their own or through the night by 6 weeks of age; my husband and I ultimately concluded our child deserves a slower pace to sleeping long hours and separate from us. In this day and age we cannot manage to co-sleep and nurse on demand until our child decides to give up those things on his own, but this book ended up being much too far to the other end of the spectrum for us.

The positive that we got out of this, though, is the advice to change a baby's diaper before feeds in the first several weeks to ensure they are awake enough to have a good meal and the general guidance about length of wakefulness that is appropriate for small babies.

If you have a baby who is happy to sleep and not inclined to fuss much, I'm sure the advice in this book would help you quickly get on a schedule that helps you as parents have a nice sense of normalcy in your lives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MARIA NOE SILVA on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a real help during the first weeks as a mom. It really made a difference reading the book before my son was born. I suggest it. I call it my bible :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lady Writer on July 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Helen Moon's book is a must-have for parents. Her techniques got our baby sleeping through the night quickly. Because we followed the schedules, we never had to sleep train our daughter. I recommend this book for all of my friends who are expecting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CFFP on February 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A friend of mine recommended this book when my baby boy was 1 week-old. I bought it and started putting it in practice immediately... it made wonders! The book said by the 6th week of the plan my baby would sleep all night, well, guess what... HE DID!! By the time my baby was 2 and a half months old he was sleeping 8 straight hours in the night. I now recommend this book to every new parent I meet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nantuk on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved this book and found it so very helpful. It works! The plan suggested in the book works great. The plan worked well for our baby!
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