Read of the week

The Unicorn Baby

Roxanne Atkinson

Jonathan Ball

Lauren O’Connor-May

The name of this book might make you think that it is a fantasy novel but it is the opposite.

The Unicorn Baby seeks to debunk parenting myths and to reassure parents that it is perfectly normal for their children not to behave like perfect fantasy fairies.

Roxanne Atkinson is an occupational therapist with a wealth of experience and a special interest in paediatrics.

Citing several examples from her experience, Atkinson shows how parents can develop skewed expectations about children and child-rearing, often due to the overload of conflicting information they are exposed to.

The book provides a sound, practical approach to 10 “unicorn” expectations − such as easy breast-feeding and rigid routines − and uses simple science and relevant anecdotes to illustrate more realistic goals.

The Unicorn Baby is divided into bite-sized chapters which are broken down further into smaller, structured sections for easy reference.

I liked that each chapter is also summarised into point form at the end. This makes it ideal for new parents who don’t have time to reread whole chapters but need bits of relevant information to dip into quickly in a crunch.

I enjoyed some of the author’s personal anecdotes, like her description of what she’d hoped would be a simple morning walk but ended up being a pile of poo-soaked laundry instead.

These anecdotes rooted the book into relatable practicalities.

It also gives good concrete facts about babies’ brain growth, how this affects their behaviour and what parents can do to help their babies have healthy development.

To quote the book’s promo: “Acknowledging that every baby is unique, this book helps new parents navigate the first year of their baby’s life with their sanity – and sense of humour – intact.”