The first post of my blog….what in the world do I start with? How about with some books!
Since Dylan was born, I have developed a passion for reading parenting books. Here are a few of my favourites for new parents:
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (WAOB) is a great book that is a must read for all new moms. It provides moms with extremely helpful information that isn’t found in a lot of other typical “baby” books written by baby “experts”. Unfortunately, many other books have a lot of rigid rules about how often to feed a baby or how long, when and where a baby should sleep. When new moms read these books and realize that their own babies don’t conform to the standards set out in the book, they often feel disappointed and frustrated with their babies. What I like best about the WAOB is that it empowers new moms to trust their own mothering instincts and listen to their babies. It has some tips and ideas for common problems that new moms experience, but these are often snippets written by other moms of things that worked for them, rather than rigid rules that a mom must follow. The book provides a lot of useful information but at the same time reassures moms that they are the experts on their own babies.
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp is another one of my favourites and was a lifesaver during the early months! It provided me with numerous soothing tips for Dylan. Dylan was a very fussy baby and it was (and sometimes still is) difficult to get him to sleep. He has always been so alert, active and aware of his surroundings. I never understood how friends would tell me how they would put their babies in a bassinet awake and they would drift off to dreamland. Dylan had to be tightly swaddled, listening to white noise, bouncing on a yoga ball and nursing at the same time to fall asleep. Crazy! I was so thankful for Dr. Karp’s suggestions and explanations on why newborns often need to be swaddled, in motion, sucking and listening to white noise in order to fall asleep. I like his description on how the first three months of a baby’s life is like the “fourth trimester” and conditions in the outside world often need to be similar to the womb in order for a baby to be happy. It is a unique and smart way of looking at newborns.
The No Cry Sleep Solution (NCSS) by Elizabeth Pantley has been an invaluable resource for me. In fact, all of the books in the “No-Cry” Series are wonderful. The NCSS provides gentle sleep solutions that work for breastfeeding and co-sleeping moms, which is rare to find in baby books related to sleep. It also provides a great scientific description of how babies sleep and why it is normal for them to wake up a lot. I like that it provides tips that can be customized to what feels right to a mom, instead of providing rigid rules that must be followed. It is a great alternative to cry it out books that are unfortunately so popular.
A book that I would recommend to moms looking for something a little bit different beyond basic baby books is What Mothers Do, Especially when it looks like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen. This book provides a great description of what moms do that I hadn’t thought of until I read the book. For example, if a mom goes grocery shopping with her baby and then later her husband asks what she did, the mom will say: I went grocery shopping. However, the mom also mothered her child at the grocery store. She made sure he was happy by talking to him, singing to him or showing him things in the store. She ensured that he was not hungry during the trip and fed him if necessary. She taught him about grocery shopping perhaps by showing him food in the store or showing him how to pay for the food. Basically, the mom did two jobs in one – she shopped and mothered. However, no one, including the mom, thinks about or values the mothering aspect of the trip. I have often been exhausted after a small trip to the grocery store with Dylan, and this book helped me to understand why – it is because I am doing two jobs in one all day long. I am cooking, cleaning, driving, reading, talking, shopping etc but I am also mothering all day (and all night) long. No wonder I am tired! It reframed what I do on a daily basis and helped me see the real value in what moms do.
Have you read these books? What do you think of them? What are some of your favourites?