1. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. If you are interested in natural childbirth I highly recommend this book. True, I don't know from experience that it's great but the process of reading it with Tristan and attending a Bradley childbirth class has been AWESOME! The book teaches you all about your body, and everything it does during labor and delivery(the 3 stages of labor, anatomy stuff, etc). It also teaches you relaxation exercises, and exercises to help your body prepare for labor. But one of the things I like most is the way it involves the father(or "coach" as he is referred to in the book) in the whole process. I could go into more detail about this book but I'm saving that for a whole post about our childbirth classes.
2. The Happiest Baby on The Block. I honestly haven't read much of this book yet. I have really only skimmed it. It seems mostly about quieting a fussy newborn and tips to help them sleep longer. It's a pretty practical book and not as controversial as some other books I have read about newborn sleep. To me it's a lot of baby basics that the author calls the 5 S's swaddling, shushing, side stomach laying, swinging(walking/bouncing while holding baby), and sucking. It also shows different positions for relieving gas, and how to burp your baby,etc. My mom taught me most of this stuff when I was young while helping her work with babies at church so I felt the book was not too ground breaking....BUT if you haven't spent much time holding and soothing a newborn then I think this book could be REALLY helpful!
3. Babywise. Where to start with this one? To me the book is mostly about getting your baby to sleep well by getting your baby on a good feeding schedule which they call Parent Directed Feedings(what babywise says I gather is the opposite of On Demand feeding that is talked about in Attachment Parenting...I had no idea what a hot issue this stuff was till the last few months...YIKES) . I feel like the book is the how's and why's of accomplishing good sleep with baby through the schedule and feedings. I love this book and then I don't. I feel like the scheduling and full feedings make a lot of sense. I like how from the beginning of the book they place emphasis on the importance of parents providing security for their child through nurturing their relationship with each other and not neglecting it. I also thinks it's true that little ones need the structure they talk about in this book. The book also talks about Child Centered Parenting and how it can hurt the family. Tristan and I don't desire for our son to grow up thinking he is the center of the universe so naturally we agreed with their caution against letting your child call the shots. And of course I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea that my child could eventually sleep through the night and nap during the day. There were a lot of other concepts in the book I appreciated as well and a lot of this book we may some how apply. What I did not like about the book is how it acts like their way is the only way! I also don't like how they discourage rocking your child to sleep and baby wearing. I understand not wanting to use sleep props such as these and wanting your child to self soothe but I think you can still throw in some baby wearing and rocking here and there and it won't hurt anything. And then there is the whole VERY controversial...dare I say..MOST controversial part of baby wise: letting your baby cry it out. I'm not even sure I want to comment on this part. Let's just say that I don't think it kills your child to let them cry or that it damages them for life but I do think many times your child just needs your comfort and attention. There..was that vague enough? :) All in all I am glad I read this book . I am thankful for how much it made me think and pray and ask the Lord for guidance.
4. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I am not very far in this book yet but I think I could safely say it's the Bible of breastfeeding books since it's put out by La Leche League. It is full of GREAT breastfeeding tips and seems to answer any problem a breastfeeding mom may be trying to troubleshoot during the stages of breastfeeding. I really don't have much more to say since I haven't read the whole thing but from what I have read it seems to be more of an attachment parenting book and in a lot of ways would conflict with a lot of Babywise stuff. No matter what your parenting preferences and convictions are this seems to be a GREAT book if you are planning on breastfeeding!
5. Vaccinations, A Thoughtful Parents Guide. My midwife just gave this book to me so I haven't even opened it yet. I'm not against vaccinations but I am not sure if I am for ALL of them either...we shall see. I have a lot more research to do on the subject.
6. Natural Childbirth and the Christian Family. I'm only a 1/4 of the way through this book so I haven't really got into the meat of the natural childbirth section which is what the book is mostly about. My mom read this book back in the day and found it really helpful so she sent it our way a few weeks ago. The approach of the beginning of the book is pretty cheezy. It teaches a lot of concepts by going through this Christian couples story. That said though the concepts are solid and actually the part where the couple goes through premarital counseling and talks with the counselor about sex is by far better than any of the books we read before we got married. Even if your not interested in natural childbirth the beginning of the book is a good read for couples about to get married. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of this book!
7. Spiritual Midwifery. This book is a trip! Originally published in 1976 this book was birthed during the hippy/ free love days of yore. I think I am a 1/3 of the way through this book and I just LOVE it! It's quite entertaining. The first part(which is where I am at still) is basically just story after story of women and their natural childbirth experiences. They are lovely, encouraging, and make me so excited about Labor and Delivery. They are pretty psychedelic too. :) Many of the women talk about L&D like they are on a drug high. Not sure what most of these people believe but it's pretty spiritual. They are all over the board from talking about the Holy Spirit, to changing bodies with their midwives during rushes(what every woman refers to contractions as), to everything else in between. They describe the hormones and the intensity of laboring and delivering is like a natural and spiritual high like nothing they have ever experienced. Though a lot of their talk is pretty far out there I love the women's perspectives. They all believe in the process, in what their bodies can do, that their bodies were made to do it, and that it's a natural and beautiful experience that can be enjoyed even though incredibly trying and difficult. It's so different than the modern American perspective of labor and delivery. I peeked through to the last half and it's more technical, more of a guide to midwives, which should be pretty helpful and informative. And I mean this book is written by Ina May Gaskin who is pretty much the Queen of all things midwifery in my book so how could it not be awesome? This book was also another book my mom sent to me to read.
8. What to Expect When Your Expecting. Pretty sure most people have heard of this book. The title pretty much says it all. This book tells you most everything you could experience during every week of pregnancy. It's the first book I started reading. I haven't really read a lot of it ....mostly just the week by week stuff that talks about what's going on with your baby. That's the best part....and it's really exciting when Saturday rolls around and we get to read a new week. I guess you could say this book is kind of a classic for pregnancy.
9. The Baby Book. This book is HUGE and full of ALL kinds of info on newborn care, breastfeeding, allergies, circumcision, vaccinations, feeding solids....etc...etc..etc. I don't know if this is for sure but I kind of gather that Dr. Sears who wrote this book is the attachment parenting guru?? Not sure. This book does talk about attachment parenting but it's so much more than that. It talks about newborn breathing patterns, what to expect for babies first poos and so much practical and medical stuff that parents need to know. It's a great reference book and could help a lot of parents avoid trips to the doctor.
So that's all of them. Reading in preparation for our son to come has been LOTS of fun but I noticed a few months ago that I was getting overwhelmed(which I think is normal even if you aren't reading a table full of conflicting books), wondering what really are the right things to do, questioning the instincts I feel God has given me with babies and children, and rethinking everything I had ever thought about parenting.... so I actually stopped reading for a while. During that time the Lord gave me a lot of peace and reminded me that He is my guide and that if these books had all the answers I wouldn't have to turn to Him and follow the Holy Spirit. HE gave me confidence, encouragement, and renewed my joy about becoming a mother. So I am back to enjoying my reading and thanking the Lord for how he has already used this parenting journey to turn me to Him. I know this is only the beginning.
If you have kids or know a lot about them, what books have you read? Read any of the books above? What did you think about them? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
And here is a pic of my belly I took last night. Notice how you can't see my feet? Yup, the boy and I are growing!!! :)