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Books on Birth and Parenting

I have to say that when I was newly pregnant (tired, at times emotional, nauseous, etc.)  perusing the long aisles in the bookstore for helpful books seeming like a daunting task. Friends and family came to the rescue and recommended books to read and among the many that I read I’ve narrowed it down to a few that I recommend as “must reads” for new and expecting moms.

Keep in mind that part of my journey to motherhood included a home birth, but these books are wonderful even if you are questioning the typical medical model and want to read more about natural birth, or if you planning on a hospital birth or a birthing inn and want to minimize the number of interventions you and your baby receive.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirthby Ina May Gaskin. I’ve been lucky enough to hear her speak and Ina May is a wonderfully candid and even humorous person to listen to. This book is full of wonderful and affirming birth stories written by mothers. She also has a new book out titled “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” which I’m looking forward to reading.

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England. This book was on my own mother’s shelf and she recommended it to me. I can tell you that while I was in labor this was the single most helpful book. It encourages you to protect your birth space, contemplate your expectations about labor, and truly enter in to the process of birth. I can’t do it justice!

Diary of a Midwife – The Power of Positive Childbearing by Juliana van Olphen-Fehr.

The Business of Being Born (film documentary by Ricki Lake) Also available streaming on Netflix! While I was pretty sure from the start the home birth was for me, Edward took a little more convincing. This movie sealed the deal. It’s a wonderful documentary on the differences between hospital and home birth.

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Dr. Harvey Karp. Have a fussy baby? A colicky baby? Want to know the basics of soothing a newborn? I highly recommend this easy read – and I recommend you read it before baby’s arrival to smooth the process of becoming a parent. After baby arrives you may be too tired to read anything for a while! I think Edward especially benefited from this book, since this was the first part of parenting he could really take part in.

You may notice there aren’t a lot of parenting books in this category. In part, this is because we haven’t had any real issues and Lucien is only ten weeks old. This is also in part to the fact that when I asked my other parenting mom’s what books I ought to be reading, they promptly replied “burn them all! There is already too much guilt involved with motherhood to be reading books that will make you feel guilty for what you’ve done or haven’t done.” I guess ignorance can be bliss, but I’ll probably find myself at the library or on Amazon at some point.

YOUR TURN: What books have you found helpful in your quest for parenting advice?

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3 Responses

  1. The Business of Being Born really is excellent. I often recommend it to moms-to-be in my network.

    The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD is even better than the book, in my opinion. Such a help to new parents…

    I have yet to read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, but I’d like to.

    Other books I recommend for the first year include:
    * Raising Baby Green
    * Mama Knows Breast
    * The Rookie Mom’s Handbook
    * The No-Cry Sleep Solution

    🙂

  2. I read the big book of birth, and that really helped me get my head around the birth experience, and not fear it so much.

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