Nourish and Nuture

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

A good knowledge of nutrition is essential for everyone, but at no time in life is it more needed than when a new baby comes along. For a pregnant mother, it is important to make every bit of food count for the growing baby inside, and for breastfeeding mothers, ensuring that enough of the right nutrients are taken in is vital for keeping both the child and mother healthy and strong. It is around 5-6 months though when a baby begins taking in solids that the real testing begins. Sophie Blackmore’s new book Nourish is part of a series of books for new parents which are in cute small square sizes with a bright cover and easy to absorb information. The series also includes Nurture, a guide to taking care of a new baby, Name a guide to baby names, and Nest, a guide to preparing for a new baby.

Nurture and Nourish together would make a lovely gift package for a new parent. Nourish includes a simple guide to developmental stages and suggested foods, a guide to when, and how to introduce solids, along with a one page list of which foods to introduce when. The rest of the book is an A (apple) to Z (zucchini) listing of common foods, including information on when is the best time of year to buy, how to store, nutritional information, how to serve to babies and other members of the family, and a recipe or two for each one. The book is geared towards babies and provides lots of simple, useable information on how to make these foods work for the youngest member of your family, but many of the recipes and ideas are suitable for the whole family. The simple and clear format makes this book easy to use, and the recipes are all suitable for a harried and tired parent. Foods like banana pancakes, pesto, celery casserole (got my 4 year old to eat this one happily though he swears he hates celery), or stuffed mushrooms will probably become family favourites long after your infant has graduated to eating whatever everyone else in the family eats.

Nurture follows a similar format and covers all of the basics for managing a new baby. There are chapters on getting a new baby home from the hospital, obtaining help, dealing with crying, first aid, feeding, changing nappies, bathing, swaddling, baby massage, dealing with sleeping issues, establishing routines, dealing with parental health, getting organised, returning to work, and managing the extended family. The book is geared towards life in Australia, and there are specific lists of hotline and contact numbers for Australians, government assistance, and other country based information. The light tone, and simple, quick to read format will be suitable for parents who have little time to read and can also be used as a reference guide to problem solving and dealing with issues as they arise. This is really only a book which will be of use to first time parents though. The information doesn’t extend beyond the first 3-4 months or so, and it is all fairly basic. However, this is just want a first timer needs. It can be augmented later by one of the more thorough reference/health books like Penelope Leach’s Baby & Child (the book I still turn to when my children have behavioural or health concerns that trouble me), or a specific guide targeted to your children’s age. In the meantime, Nurture is a lovely little book perfectly suited to an Australian parent who needs to learn the basics fast.

Both of the books are very neatly presented, with sidebars, helpful hints and suggestions, and lots of little cartoons to make reading easy, even for the bleary new parents. The bright square portable design and well structured chapters make these a very appealing gift set. For more information visit:

Nourish: Food for Your Baby
By Sophie Blackmore
Ibis Publishing
Paperback, IBSN1920923314, Sept 2004, rrp$18.00

Nurture: Caring for Your New Baby
By Debra and Kim Choate
Ibis Publishing
Paperback, ISBN 1920923306, Sept 2004, rrp$18.00


This review first appeared at It appears here with permission.