30 May

Book Review: Baby Management for Men, by Henk Hanssen

Author Henk Hanssen claims that fatherhood is his favourite subject, and a real sense of fun comes across in this warm and accessible little baby manual.

In this book, the father is the consummate manager. The family is your enterprise, the mother your producer, the baby your product. [p10]

Heavy on the business-speak and technical jargon, it might not appeal across the board, but beneath the veneer of gentle silliness, the book is packed with practical information. It addresses how the new father’s life will change, how to approach his employer with requests for paternity leave and flexible working hours, and directs the him to think about the kind of father he wants to be. It then goes on to describe in detail the baby’s appearance, likely behaviour, and maintenance required in the first year or so.

You might pick up a book with the title “Baby Management” expecting a rigid, parents-in-charge approach; in fact I would place this well towards the attachment parenting end of the spectrum. Hanssen encourages dads to be hands-on, and quotes evidence to show the benefits of an involved, engaged father, for the whole family.

My few criticisms of the book would include a raised eyebrow that the feeding section starts with expressing before actually addressing the subject of breastfeeding. Granted that’s because the focus is on how a dad can be involved with this, but I would rather see the emphasis on supporting the mother to establish breastfeeding first; there are lots of ways dads can help with this. Hanssen erroneously states that breastmilk can be kept in the fridge for up to 72 hours; most reliable sources state 5-7 days. Other than that, the section dealing with feeding is almost entirely accurate. Sadly when it comes to introducing solids, the advice given is rather old-fashioned purees-only approach.

The section on growth and development is particularly fascinating, and the book is well-referenced. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fathers-to-be.

To order Baby Management for Men with a 25% discount, just follow the link and use the discount code KH25 at the checkout.