I still remember, I was about 8 and a half months pregnant and feeling pretty good about myself as I’d read every pregnancy book I could think of. Then I realized…wait a minute, what about when the baby actually ARRIVES? What do I do? Strangely, I didn’t even think about this! I’d read about a serene pregnancy, supplies to get for the baby, nursery must-haves, but actual baby care…the pregnancy books didn’t really cover. Oops.
So, I set forth finding as many books to read as possible. All were useful, but a few really stood out. Here are some favourites:
1. The Baby Book, W. Sears & M. Sears – This was the most recommended book to me and has remained a great reference as my little boy has grown. A friend who recommended the book has an 8 year old and she still wants to keep the book – it was that useful to her. To read this book is to learn and appreciate the attachment parenting approach. There are lots of facets to attachment parenting that are over my head, but a key component is the encouragement to hold your baby in a sling as much as possible in the early days to create a solid attachment between parent and child. The book also covers off baby care basics, development guides, an excellent first aid chapter, play ideas, and much more. While I did not subscribe to everything this book recommended, I definitely used many of the ideas and the authors have this reassuring way of making you feel better when you’re feeling down, out, and frustrated in the early days of raising your baby.
2. Eat, Sleep & Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby’s First Year, S.Cohen – As the title indicates, this is a super practical guide to the first year of your baby’s life from a pediatrician. The advice is practical and supportive, and it gets right down to the nitty gritty details, which I like. I personally didn’t want a 5 page lead-up on how my emotions were post-baby. I wanted to know how to bathe my baby, or understand why my baby had a this mark on on him and when it was going away. This is a quick and useful read and you’ll refer back to it over and over.
3. Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads, G. Greenberg – I was recommended this book by the lovely authors of Rookie Mom, and it was awesome! A lot of books understandably focus a lot on breastfeeding, and that can sometimes scare dads away as they naturally can’t relate. This book is written with a dad in mind with practical tips and a touch of humour. I bought it as a gift for a friend who’s expecting and found myself wishing I had it for my baby’s first year. Fun ideas like “how to baby-proof a hotel room in 5 minutes” to baby care basics are all covered.
4. Super Baby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years, J. Berman – this is probably my favourite book on the list. It is less about baby care and more about how to develop a healthy, happy, thriving child. There are chapters covering the benefits of baby massage, sign language, how to introduce a second language, as well as the effects of TV on baby’s development, toy recommendations, book recommendations, and an excellent (though slightly terrifying) chapter on how to “green” your house for baby. I refer to this book over and over. This book combined with Brain Rules for Baby (below) convinced me to limit my child’s exposure television for his first three years.
5. Brain Rules for Baby, J. Medina – This book includes a chapter about the baby’s development while pregnant, so it’s an easy read while you’re pregnant as well. I received this book as a gift and enjoyed it immensely, particularly around the authors ideas on play and how brain development in babies works. It’s written in a readable and approachable way. His final chapter/appendix is all practical tips to put his theories into practice and a great reference. The author, John Medina also has a series of videos on iTunes U, so you can alternatively watch these podcasts.
…and a small 6th mention for The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms. I only came across this book last year when I was promoting our Modern Bump Brunch, but I picked up a few copies for Christmas gifts and took a peruse through it. A down to earth, well-written guide for the first time mom. I was happy to gift it to my pregnant friends as I know it’ll be valuable for them!
If you have any favourite baby books, I’d would love to hear about them! I am now onto toddler books. The next books on my reading list are The Mother of all Toddler Books by Ann Douglas, The emotional life of a toddler, and Parenting from the Inside-Out. Will report back on toddler books in the future.