Honestly, starting this whole parenting thing I really had no idea what I was doing (ok, I often feel like I still don’t). And I read. A lot. What I have learned from all those books is that they help give you a frame of reference, some perspective, and some helpful information. The problem is, you can read one book and it says one thing (e.g. “If you can’t get your baby to sleep anywhere, try wearing your baby in a sling or putting her in a swing to sleep.”), and then you pick up another book that completely contradicts the first one you just read (e.g., “Don’t ever let your baby sleep in one of those dreadful swings.”). And so it goes. This is partially the reason I think for all the “mommy wars” going on today. I have realized that you have to take each book for what it is – one perspective – and take from it bits and pieces to formulate your own framework and philosophy on what’s going to work for your family. That said, here are some books I have found helpful.
1. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.. Bar none the best sleep book I’ve seen, because it actually cites research (imagine that!) about infant, child, and adult sleep! It also takes a moderate, do-what-works-for-you kind of approach. This saved us around week 6 when Lucy hit her “fussiness peak.” I’ll never forget Whit and I taking 20-min shifts walking her up and down the hallway as she screamed her head off. I’d be walking, and Whit would be reading. Then we’d switch. Don’t worry, mommy-to-be friends – every baby is different, and Lucy remains a pretty happy, sweet, spirited babe. I still refer to this book regularly.
2. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karr, M.D. This book is a bit more flowery and less research-y, but it gives some very practical tips for calming your crying baby. Again, foggy memories of week 6 are coming to mind. The 5 S’s described in this book (swaddle, suck, side, shhhh, and swing) made a big difference in helping Lucy stay comfortable in a big new world outside of the womb.
3. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. In one sense, this book is a bit unrealistic. She’s the one that tells you to never put your baby in a swing, start out as you would like to continue to go on, etc. She is a proponent of a schedule, not so much by time, but a schedule for providing your baby with some predictability. She proposes the EASY method, as I’ve discussed in one of my earlier posts. While I’m not necessarily a subscriber of “baby training,” this book did help me to read Lucy’s cues much better and understand what she was communicating to me.
4. The Milk Memos by Cate Colburn-Smith & Andrea Serrette. This book is a must for any mom who is planning to go back to work and pump for her babe while she’s away. I was so torn up about going back to work, and filled with anxiety about the logistics of pumping at work, and this book really helped allay my fears. It is full of very practical information on everything from appropriate pump dress to supply and demand issues to dealing with the inevitable sadness surrounding returning to work. Life saver!
5. The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt, Ph.D. & Frans Plooij, Ph.D. This book is fascinating. It goes through all the major developmental phases a baby experiences and can help you understand what your baby is learning and doing. It also describes “wonder weeks” as periods characterized by “crankiness, crying, and clinginess” that occur when baby is making major developmental leaps. So far with Lucy, they are right on target. When we hit a phase like that, it makes it much more bearable when we can understand that major changes are happening in that big noggin of hers! And if you sign up on their website (www.thewonderweeks.com), they will send you a “leap alarm” email before the next big leap happens! There is also lots of great information for parents on what they can do with their babies to encourage healthy development.
6. Baby-Led Weaning and The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett. If you’re going to do Baby-Led Weaning (see my “Starting Solids” post), read these books. They address everything from how to dress your baby (and your floor) using this approach, to great recipes and easy baby-friendly meals for the whole fam. I have constantly been referring to these books as we journey into the world of solid food with Lu.
Articles and blog posts:
1. An interesting read about the science of sleep, all summarized in a nice blog post! I love this blog, too. She references actual research (which is more than most “miracle cures” can do). http://scienceofmom.com/2012/04/03/6-little-secrets-of-a-sleeping-baby/
2. This article made me feel a little better about the days when I’m counting down the minutes until Whit gets home, or when I’m just tired. And it helped remind me of how lucky we are to have a beautiful, healthy baby girl. And each other.
3. For all you soon-to-be moms out there, I wish I had read this before giving birth. It would have helped me prepare for what we needed the most in terms of help and support. Don’t get me wrong – “Team Lucy” was amazing and helped me stay sane for the first week! I am not sure what we would have done without you guys! But it wasn’t until the 3rd week that I learned that it’s ok to stay in bed with your baby until noon (or later), nursing and napping. This is a good read! http://www.glorialemay.com/blog/?p=34
4. The Cure for Colic…has to do with Breastfeeding? An interesting read about the importance of a good latch. http://m.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2005/mar/30/familyandrelationships.healthandwellbeing?cat=lifeandstyle&type=article
5. More good news about breastfeeding! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122836.htm
6. All the (selfish) reasons to breastfeed – so funny…and true! http://www.scarymommy.com/reasons-to-breastfeed/