Tuesday, April 27, 2010

reading essentials for new moms and moms to be

Now that we're 8 weeks into this whole parenting adventure, I have some things to share for those of you out there who are expecting. Prepare a bit, would be my advice. As in, read a book or at least a chapter on infant sleep. Just to understand it because it's really different than grown up sleep. Get a book on breastfeeding, just to have as a reference. I didn't have any problems in that department to start, but then the diet thing came up and it was great to have, well, a companion. And don't underestimate the power of the 5 S's.

Here are 3 books and one DVD that I highly recommend for those following shortly into the land of parenthood.

Your Best Birth.
I actually read this shortly after I found out I was pregnant. It was great. It definitely has an agenda, but I didn't find it overbearing at all and the authors aren't shy about admitting their biases. I felt like it told me everything I needed to know in terms of what to expect in a hospital birth. And what to be aware of if you prefer to avoid interventions. It also makes a very compelling case for homebirth and midwifery and the book definitely slants in favor of those options, but I was always planning to have a hospital birth and I still loved this book.

The Nursing Mother's Companion.
An excellent overall reference for all sorts of things that can come up with breastfeeding.

The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight.
I'm not going to necessarily recommend this book in particular because I've only read the parts about infant sleep so far, but I can't say enough how helpful it would be to at least understand infant sleep before the baby comes. So just get A book on sleep. You can always pick up more as your child gets older or if one method doesn't work for you. I wouldn't get all obsessive about it, but at least know some basics... like the length of their sleep cycles, how much they should be sleeping in the day and in general, and how their sleep differs from adults. For instance, babies have light sleep first (for the first 20 minutes) followed by deep sleep. This is the opposite of adults and is good to know because if you wait the full 20 minutes after they fall asleep before you physically put them down, you'll have a much better chance that they'll stay asleep.

and of course

The Happiest Baby on the Block.
This is a book, but I'd recommend the DVD. It's one of those things that you really want to see to believe. Our neighbors, Ruth and David, gave us this at about 3 weeks and when we watched it we just looked at each other with our jaws on the floor. The 5 S's, man. GOOD TO KNOW. If you can borrow the DVD, even better. You really only need to see it once. I've already sent ours off to the next expectant mom.

Other things to note that people don't emphasize enough:

Babies love water. When they're super upset, draw them a nice warm bath and you can pretty much guarantee that they'll calm down. We have the Spa Baby tub and it's awesome. (The key is to let baby be submerged in the water.) I can't wait to start mommy and me swimming with Dashiell.

Babies love to be naked! Why doesn't anyone stress this when talking about newborn care? Diaper free time is just about the best time of every day. Especially when it's sunny out and baby gets to sunbathe.

I'll probably look at this list in 2 more months and be like, what was I THINKING?? I feel like I'm in danger of coming across a bit sophomoric, but it's all I have right now so I'm just going with it.


Yuliya said...

Thank you soo much!!!!
I have a few books to be educated, but now I plan to buy more :-)

Meghan said...

Thank you! I am in the process of trying and so need this advice! Please keep it coming...

CrispyTarts said...

Expecting in 4 weeks, so Thank You! I have spent alot of time researching schedules ects so its nice to know I'm not crazy! And yeah for naked babies!!!

Bluebelle said...

I just went to look up what the 5 s's are - having no idea and the shushing/swaying ones make so much sense. I will try to remember this when I get to the point of having babies!

carolina postcard said...

I'm 7 weeks away so all these little tips are delightful. Adding the dvd to my list on amazon and so cute about naked babies! I can't wait to lounge around in the backyard on a blanket with my babe. Thanks for sharing.

Fern and Feather said...

I loved the Nursing Companion and the Happiest Baby on the block... those were life savers... the other one that I highly recommend in a few weeks when you REALLY REALLY want to get a handle on sleep is Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. Just when I thought I was never going to sleep again this book saved the day.

Your posts on little D are giving me slight baby fever ;).

elisabeth said...

Thanks so much for the recommendations. My due date is a week and a half away(!) so your insight is of great interest to me.

If you have the time or inclination (and I won't blame you if you don't) I'm curious how cloth diapering has been going for you.

Janssen said...

I am glad to hear about Your Best Birth from someone who was still planning a hospital birth, since that's just where I am. Thanks for the great list.

blake said...

Great list! I'm so curious about the Happiest Baby -- we're beyond the newborn/infant phase, but one always remains curious about making babies happy :)

Anyway, if I may, I'd like to super-second what you said about reading up about breastfeeding. I was MUCH more focused on reading up about natural childbirth, which we were happily able to do. But, after the birth I found myself playing catch-up with understanding nursing, which I was super committed to, but woefully under-informed about at first. We successfully nursed for the first year, but... ah, hindsight!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Please keep the advice coming, Kristina! I gobble it up.

White Couch Experiment said...

I have to recommend Baby 411. It's written by a doctor (and someone else I can't remember at the moment) but it's common sense, good sense, no nonsense advise. She does a great job of not getting new parents all riled up at all the crazy stuff that happens with babies in the first year of life - and there's a lot of crazy stuff that happens.

Deidre said...

It can't truly work, I think this way.