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Book Review: Brain Rules for Baby

If I was witty enough to compose a clever song about neurons, the cerebral cortex, and monoamine oxidase A then I would sing a little ditty about how much I loved this book. Since I’m not that witty I will just settle on telling you what a pleasure it was to devour this book.

The book is Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by Dr. John Medina. I’ve read a lot of different books about raising happy kids, but this is the first book I’ve read that not only backs everything up with scientific research but also explains all of the scientific concepts in ways that sleep-deprived parents can grasp.

Dr. Medina doesn’t just tell pregnant women to eat a healthy, balanced diet; he tells pregnant women why they should do so based on the scientific research surrounding the eventual health and happiness of the babies they’re carrying. The great thing is that he tells it in a way that is easily understood. The book seems to follow a pattern when a concept is introduced:

  1. State the concept.
  1. State the scientific research behind the concept.
  1. Explain the science behind the concept and research in terms that are easy to understand.

Even if you start out reading the section about an unborn baby’s ability to taste cringing at the term gustatorial sensations you’ll quickly understand what the author is talking about as he goes into the details and sums up exactly what you need to know about how the food you eat tastes to the baby you’re carrying (Hint: they like sweet stuff).

I Admit I May be a Little Biased

I get a little giddy when I get to study brain function. If you detest science you may not like this book as much as I did, but I warn you that if you avoid reading it because you’re afraid it will remind you of your high school science book then you will be missing out on a lot of great information. He debunks some myths (No, your unborn baby does not want to listen to music blaring in the first trimester) and offers some science-based advice (Predictable variables after having a baby can harm your marriage if not attended to, therefore lessening the odds of a happy baby) that you may not be able to find elsewhere all in one book.

Did I just use “predictable variables” in a sentence? I feel smarter already!

Read this book

It will give you a ton of great baby advice and best of all, if your mother-in-law disagrees with something you’re doing while pregnant or after you’ve had the baby, you can cite the science behind it and maybe she’ll stop ordering you around…unless, of course, she’s a developmental molecular biologist and she gets excited and wants to swap scientific research with you. If that’s the case, then you’re on your own.


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