Picks and Pans Review: Baby Basics

updated 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

So all right, first-time parents-to-be: It's the eighth month, nobody feels much like playing tennis and who wants to see Beverly Hills Cop again? It's the perfect time to see this enjoyable, enlightening 110-minute tape. Covering babies through their first three months, it follows four firstborn infants and their thrilled, puzzled, frustrated, frightened and astounded parents. (The parents aren't actors, but they turn in impeccable once-in-a-lifetime performances.) One father, watching his newborn daughter's fumbling attempts to master the mechanics of breastfeeding, exclaims, "How the hell does she do that?" That tone of informality and justified sense of wonder informs the entire tape. Produced and directed by PBS veteran Adrienne Miesmer, with advisory help from health professionals, the tape strikes a fine balance between offering specific advice and admitting that there are no real rules in this business. It's pointed out, for instance, that newborns rarely arrive looking ready to pose for baby food ads; if they appear to have just come through a terrible struggle, they have. On the other hand, it is suggested that instinct is the best way to tell why a child is crying. Detailed instructions in such areas as bathing, feeding, holding an infant and diapering are mixed with suggestions that improvising is often the best way to determine, among other things, a baby's schedule. Writer Lisa McElaney avoids cuteness, but then the tape's four little stars—Amard Forbes, Emily Dawson, Julissa Ugalde and Stephen Hock—are cute and fascinating and miraculous enough, with room to spare. (VIDA, 1-800-526-4773, $39.95)

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