My Favorite Books for Early Motherhood

Monday, January 30, 2017


When I was nearing my due date with James, I was drawn to certain books to help me prepare for the life-changing craziness ahead. While nothing can really "prepare" you for having and caring for a baby, many of the things I read helped me the first few months of motherhood. I don't think reading a lot of parenting books is a necessity to being a good parent, but reading has always given me solace. It was a natural step for me to pick up a few books to feel self-assured about what I was embarking on.

Also, I didn't read any pregnancy books. I paged through one or two and found them mildly interesting, but I also just felt like reading about pregnancy wasn't going to be super beneficial for me (that's just me though!). When I had weird pains or whatever I would Google to see if they were normal, but for the most part I just let my body do its thing.

Here is the list (I'll update if I read any other good ones this time around):

CHILDBIRTH:
1. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Ina May started a commune back in the 70s called The Farm where practicing midwives have helped hundred of women have natural births. While this book has many hippie moments, I loved reading the long collection of birth stories and appreciated her descriptions of the laboring process. Even though I ended up getting an epidural, I still enjoyed reading about natural childbirth and how to keep myself calm and focused during contractions.

2. Hypnobirthing by Marie F. Mongan
I skimmed this book but still gleaned good information about staying in control while going through labor. Since I tend to have anxiety, I wanted to feel calm and collected instead of panicked while laboring, and this book gave good techniques.

3. I just put Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method on hold at the library and will update once I've read through that one as well.

NURSING:
1. The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins
This book was my best friend the first few weeks of nursing. I read certain sections at least 5 times and if I was worried about anything my first instinct was to turn to this book to check it out. It breaks down what to expect from nursing for the ages of children, including children over 2, goes over pains and problems with breastfeeding, and overall helped me feel confident and sure of myself.

2. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
The first time I went on a walk with James he was 5 days old and it was to the library to pick up this book. It is definitely more in the natural camp than the other one and I liked its approach to the mother-baby bonding through breastfeeding. The information is slightly different than the other (although there are definite overlaps) and it was good to get an additional perspective.

NEWBORN CARE/SLEEP
1. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
Brock and I used the 5 Ss EVERY DAY until James was probably 3 months old. I remember James crying in the hospital and Brock trying to quiet him and I said, "Shush him louder than his cries!" Brock did it and James immediately quieted down. We were amazed and used all the tricks in the books to great success. I'm definitely going to read this one again before our baby comes to make sure I still have it down.

2. The Sleepeasy Solution by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack
I didn't read this one until James was around 6 months old and I wished I had read it sooner. When James was struggling with nighttime wake-ups I read a bunch of books on getting kids to sleep and this one was definitely my favorite. Their methods for sleep training really worked for us and I loved all the different age breakdowns and how they approached naps.

MOTHERHOOD MEMOIRS
1. Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman
Newman's book about her second pregnancy and life with her husband and two-year-old was laugh-out-loud funny and so poignant about the years of early motherhood. I connected with the sentiments she expressed and am dying to reread it.

2. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
I'm not sure this is technically a memoir, but I loved the differences Druckerman brought up between French and American parenting. I've read it twice and each time came away with new insights about the type of relationship I want to cultivate with my children.

What books about early motherhood have you read? I'd love to hear!

Linking up with A Cocoon of Books 

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