Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Books of 2014 - Pregnancy & Baby

Last year was a mixed bag when it came to reading. For the majority of the year, I read books related to pregnancy, birth, and babies. I tried to read novels too but they were a slog. It was hard to get into anything and maintain interest. In this post, I'm rounding up all of the baby related books and sharing my favourites.  

Pregnancy & Birth
I continued use The Mother of All Pregnancy Books as a reference (I discuss it in detail here). The "Complaints Department" chapter and chart of medications were the most useful. If I didn't already own that, I'd have bought the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. I borrowed that one from the library and really liked the section at the end of each month that broke down various symptoms and indicated if/when to report it to your doctor. Finally, though I am generally not a fan of Dr. Oz, I did enjoy YOU: Having a Baby. I didn't make it through the section on labour and delivery but everything up to that point was interesting. I liked that it wasn't the typical weekly or monthly guide. 

As we were gearing up for our baby showers, Baby Bargains was awesome for building our registry. That, along with the Lucie's List site helped us keep our registry pretty simple and focused on what we'd need.  It was helpful to have an idea of the different brands and what to watch out for.

In my birth story post, I mentioned that I had hoped for a med-free birth. To that end, I read Ina May's Guide to Child Birth and Husband Coached Childbirth by Bradley. If you are interested in going that route, I highly recommend Ina May's book. Initially, I was put off by the fact that the first half of the book consisted of birth stories; it felt too hippie dippy for me. By the end, though, I found it very empowering and increased my confidence a lot. The informational portion rubbed me the wrong way; it was biased, fear mongering, and not consistent with current research. The Bradley book had a lot of useful information but Bradley himself seems insufferable. 

Baby Care & Development
If I had to do it all over again, I'd spend less time focused on birth and more on what to do with a newborn baby. Many late night nursing sessions were spent googling various things I didn't know I would need to know. The books I have referred to regularly since A arrived are Baby 411 (by the same people who did Baby Bargains) and Dr. Sears' The Baby Book. My own parenting philosophy lies somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum these books represent so I've found them to be a good combination. 

Thanks to the other moms in my birth month group on The Bump, I discovered The Wonder Weeks. I highly recommend this book and it's corresponding app. Everyone talks about the physical growth spurts but there are also cognitive ones, and those lead to predictable patterns of fussy behaviour. The book describes what baby is learning during each "leap" and how to help. I liked the suggestions for developmentally appropriate toys and games because my experience has been with older kids so I had no idea when it came to babies. The best thing about this book might be that it always reassures me that "this too shall pass." The app has a calendar that is customized to your baby's due date and describes each Wonder Week, along with some play suggestions. You could get by with just the app but it wouldn't hurt to check out the book from the library. It has a lot more detail and check lists.

At six months, we introduced solids. Since we are mainly doing baby led weaning, I read up on that as well. I definitely recommend reading this if you are interested in BLW because it provides information about choking vs. gagging, which is a common concern.

Infant Sleep
Oh, where do I begin with this one? Once the sleepy newborn stage wore off, we had nap issues galore. We could handle those because night sleep was going well. Around 4.5 months, that went to hell too. Two and a half months later with no end in sight, we were exhausted and reaching our breaking point. I read a lot of sleep books. I read a lot of blogs (Troublesome Tots is awesome). In the end, Ferber rescued us from the depths of sleep despair. Out of the many sleep resources I consulted and methods I tried, only a few were truly useful. These are my favourites:

The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep, Dr. Harvey Karp - Similar to The Happiest Baby on the Block (we watched the dvd, it's good!) but more focused on sleep. I'm a big fan of Dr. Karp and the 5S's were a big help with our fussy newborn.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Dr. Marc Weissbluth - While Weissbluth is best known for being an advocate for full exctinction sleep training (crying it out with no soothing), that's not all this book is about. There is a lot of solid, helpful information here about sleep and sleep issues. It covers newborns through adolescents and this is the only book that discusses how to handle colicky babies in any detail. The formatting isn't great and often gets a little too academic, but still worth it for the information.

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, Dr. Richard Ferber - Everyone's heard of Ferber but few have actually read the book, so there are a lot of misconceptions. Ferber recommends graduated extinction, or crying it out with soothing, but just like Weissbluth, that's not all that is discussed here. Lots of good information, though not as thorough as Weissbluth.

If you are giving me the side-eye right now for recommending Weissbluth and Ferber, consider yourself lucky that you were never desperate enough to need either of them. And if you haven't had kids yet but think this is awful, never say never! That's how we started out too.

And there you have it. In the next post, I'll list my favourite non-baby related books from last year. That will be a much shorter list!


  1. This is an awesome resource for first time moms! I wish I had this list when I was PG with E! Now through infant-hood twice, I think the most useful book I've read is Wonder Weeks! Like you said - it gives you the hope that there is always light at the end of the tunnel :D

  2. Great list! I think I need to bookmark this post...