Monday, October 21, 2013


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

New AAP Book, Retro Baby, Encourages Parents to Return to the Baby Basics – Emphasizes the Importance of One-on-One Play with Children in Their Early Stages of Life and Recommends Over 100 Time-Tested Activities

Author: Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L
Publication Date: October 2013
Price: $16.95
Available through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and bookstores nationwide


"While bouncers, walkers, carriers, electronic toys, and “educational” videos are intended to make parents’ lives easier and children smarter, according to a new book published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should consider reducing their baby’s time spent with gadgets and bond the old fashioned way by going back to basics.

Leading pediatric occupational therapist and child development specialist Anne Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is the author of Retro Baby: Cut Back on All the Gear and Boost Your Baby’s Development With More Than 100 Time-Tested Activities (American Academy of Pediatrics, October 2013), a new book intended to help parents and caregivers understand the importance of one-on-one play with children during the early stages of life. With over 20 years experience, Zachry understands that each family and baby have different needs and in her book, she offers many flexible strategies and suggestions for playtime that provide lots of opportunities to spend valuable time with baby, creating that special bond that will last a lifetime. 

Incorporating the latest recommendations from the AAP with extensive research by Zachry and other experts in her field, Retro Baby covers how an infant’s brain, body, motor and sensory skills develop, explain the negative impacts of overusing certain baby gear, and provide specific instructions for play positions and activities that are appropriate for each developmental stage, giving parents both a starting point and guidelines to help them properly invest in their child’s development and future.

Packed with more than 100 wonderful activities based on modern day research, Retro Baby is a comprehensive guide that will help parents and caregivers:
·      Learn how crucial connections are formed between a child’s brain and muscles during the first year of life.
·      Discover how the over use of some products can hinder infant exploration.
·      Observe how good old-fashioned play affects your baby’s development in a positive way.
·      Try a variety of ideas that enhance baby’s ability to learn.
·      See how to make traditional, handmade toys using common household items.

Retro Baby also includes chapters on keeping your sleeping baby safe, practicing tummy time and preventing positional skull deformities.

“I’ve discovered that many parents do not understand of the dangers of extended equipment use and overexposure to technology,” said Zachry.  She adds,  “All of the information in ‘Retro Baby’ will help parents play a role in building a solid foundation for their child’s future skills in school and in life. When you use this authoritative up-to-date source, you’ll be faithfully supporting- but not rushing- your baby’s mastery of developmental milestones.”

My Thoughts:

Are you one of those parents who buys baby gear and toys that are considered brain boosters, or products that will make our lives easier.  I know for me that when we were preparing to welcome our first daughter, Savannah, that I thought I was being a savvy new parent by researching all the different baby gear available, as I put together my baby registry and bought must have items for our bundle of joy.  But, shortly after Savannah arrived, I realized that all the money I spent on this so-called "must have" gear hardly got used, or never performed the way it claimed.  Instead, simple rocking when she was fussy, as well as other non-materialistic approaches seemed to sooth our colicky baby. 

When it came time to buy toys for her, I fell into the trap like so many other new parents, in that I spent top-dollar on "educational" toys, gadgets and videos that were supposed to boost our daughter's brain development.  Little did I know that more mommy and me time, a simple set of stackable blocks and tummy time activities would make for a happier baby, while helping my child reach its development stages.  It wasn't until we found out we were expecting Arabella, that I took a serious look at what I really needed to buy (if anything) and how this time around, we would not be fooled by all the so-called educational toys out there. 

I laugh when I think about all those commercials about how parenting your children changes as you add more children to your family.  With the first child, you are walking on egg shells as you don't know how to handle each new situation.  By the second child, you are more relaxed and give them more rein when it comes to experimenting to trying new things.  Then, by the third and so-on, a simple empty milk jug or paper towel tube is all your child needs to stay entertained.  Well, not really, but you get where I am going. We learn over time that we don't need all the fancy bells and whistles of educational toys that cost a fortune, to really help our children development and grow.  Instead, more one-on-one bonding time, and fun activities like tummy time ones, really help to form a special bond with our children, as they learn and grow.

I wish this book was available back when we were preparing for Savannah's arrival, as it would not have only eased my worry about what we had to buy or really needed when it came to helping our daughter reach each developmental milestone, but we would have also saved a lot of money.  I have boxes of educational DVDs and toys that my daughters could care less about.  Instead, I can set a pot and spatula or wooden spoon down on the living room floor, and they can go crazy making music, learning about cause and effect, and just have fun, with simple old-fashioned fun activities.  I wish I had listened to my mom when she would ask why I had bought certain toys or products for the girls.  She would always say that they didn't have them when we were growing, and that they were able to do without just fine, and that I turned out fine.  I guess in this case, after reading "Retro Baby," and having what my mom had said to me years ago reaffirmed, that she was right.  This is another one of those "I told you so" moments that I have to acknowledge, and learn from. :-)

If you are a new or expecting parent, or know someone who is expecting, this is one book to add to your must read list.  With so much insightful information, getting ready for baby, and the first year with your child, will be less stressful.  You will be able to enjoy bonding with your baby, as you will read in this book how one-on-one time in the early stages of life is so important, and shouldn't be replaced with bouncers, swings or other silly and oh so expensive baby gear, that you hope will soothe your fussy baby.  Instead, cradle, sing and even dance around with your baby, as you build a strong bond that will help them grow and development.  With good old fashioned bonding and time-tested activities, this book will get you ready to raise your child in a more healthy and stress-free environment.  I will definitely be including this in all future baby shower gifts I give, and sharing the book with other moms in my Mommy and Me meet ups.

Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist and child development specialist with more than 20 years experience. Her research on this subject has been published in national peer-reviewed journals and her profession’s trade magazines as well as a number of parenting magazines. She cites and extensively supports AAP policy and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and has lectured at the University of Memphis and is a Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health and Science Center. Her blog, “Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips: ( averages 30,000 hits monthly.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

1 comment :

  1. This book sounds like a must own for new parents. It is good to know that there is a book out there like this one and thanks for the great review of it. I will keep this one in mind it would be great too for a gift.
    heather [email protected]