July 16, 2009

baby book round-up

After months of preparation, I think we have finally hit a wall. Gus and I got into bed with our nightly doses of parenting advice under our arms the other night, and we found that our brains could just not hold any more. We've read and we've watched films and we've searched and studied and listened, and now we just have to get that baby in our arms and see what happens.

In case you're simply curious, or are wondering where to begin your own research in the vast expanse of information regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, I've listed the whole pile here. That's nearly two feet of information that I read so you may not have to. You're welcome.

From top:

This is our "textbook" for our Bradley class. It's a great introduction to the relaxation methods and exercises employed in the Bradley method. It's also a great source of awesome 1970's photos of mustachio-d men in short-shorts and full frontal birth-in-action.

This book, as the title implies, is a commonsense guide to understanding and nurturing your newborn. I enjoyed this book and find the suggestions and strategies to be in line with my concept of what baby care should look like.

What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel.
The standard-issue pregnancy book. It's great to have for when you have a question about some specific topic, and also useful if you're curious what fruit your fetus most closely resembles in size at various stages of gestation.

A great companion to the attachment parenting book above by the Sears. Although this book doesn't really cover any new territory, it does suggest many web resources for further research and involvement.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: the Complete Guide by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, and Ann Kepler.
If you're just going to buy one book, it should definitely be this one. The women responsible for this book are experts in the field of childbirth and cover everything you need to know about your pregnancy and birth in an easy-to-read and understand way. This is my go-to reference for everything these days.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International.
Another must-read. Whether you're planning to breastfeed or not, you should read this book. And I don't mind saying that hopefully, if you're not planning to breastfeed when you start it, you will be by the time you're done. Yes, it's that important!

I only read a bit of this one before it fell victim to my state of information overload and I decided I couldn't possibly read one more baby-related word. It's an interesting anthropological look at the US and the way we parent versus the way that parenting happens virtually everywhere else in the world. Comes highly recommended, I'll have to go back to it at some point.

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway, B.S.N.
Like it's predecessor above, this is the book for figuring out the first year of life, according to some. I'll likely use it as a reference for specific questions that come up more than I'll really read it in full.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
If you're considering natural childbirth, this book is essential. Ina May is the quintessential earth-mother hippie midwife. The first half of the book is a collection of birth stories, many by women who gave birth on the commune farm where Ina May lives and practices. The second half is a no-nonsense guide to what the female body is designed to do and how it all really works in childbirth if allowed to behave naturally. It's fascinating and liberating stuff. And it's all well balanced with documented facts and figures, not all just butterflies and rainbows. Read this.

Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth by Robert Bradley, M.D., Marjie Hathaway, Jay Hathaway, and James Hathaway.
Ironically, Dr. Bradley's own book is not the resource we're using in our Bradley class. Our instructor warned us that it's a little bit dated and maybe not the ideal introduction to modern Bradley. I've found that to be true, although it is good to see where the concepts come from. Even for a Bradley student, this is absolutely skippable, if you read the one on the top of the pile.

The Bradley Method Student Workbook by Marjie Hathaway, Jay Hathaway, and James Hathaway. (not available for purchase, this is a special gift exclusively for students enrolled in a Bradley class)
This is where we find our weekly homework and it's basic structure provides the framework for our class. Unfortunately, it's really poorly written and often directly cites Bradley's book as a resource.

I bought this for Gus, but he hasn't had a chance to read it yet. We're pretty much maxed out on baby-related information, so this one may just have to sit.

This was the first baby book we bought and Gus previously reviewed it here. I read it too and found that it was just the right light-hearted approach to get our minds wrapped around the idea that we were going to be parents. A good gift for parents-to-be.

Another one Gus reviewed before. Find that here if you want.

This is kind of an interesting baby name book that differs from the usual dictionary-style versions. The names are grouped together into various categories based on era, country of origin, or style. It can be kind of fun to see other similar names if you like a particular name but aren't completely convinced. It also offers suggestions for sibling names that "match".

Although not relevant just yet, this book is a great introduction to the Montessori method and how to create a home environment that is conducive to Montessori philosophy. I'll be breaking this one out again when the little monster is a bit older.

Also previously discussed. A nice attachment-friendly way to change Baby's habits so that everyone can get more sleep. So she says. We'll see.

I've just skimmed through this one so far. I imagine it may come in handy though, so I'm keeping it nearby.

Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk by Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn, and Doug Abrams.
Yes, we plan to teach Baby to sign. We'll get into that more later, once he's an appropriate age for such a venture.

Not pictured because they were misplaced at photo time or have moved on to a new home:

Please see above.

A perfectly reasonable book for the start of the pregnancy when you're trying to wrap your head around the idea of carrying human life in your body for forty weeks. It was a little too something (light?, unsubstantiated?) for me to really enjoy it that much, but I can understand its place in the pregnancy book world.

I wanted to like this book, but I just found myself annoyed most of the time. If you want someone to tell you the truth about the crazy stuff your body will be doing, sure, this will work. And it is funny sometimes, I'll give her that.