Oh my, the world of pregnancy books. When we found out we were pregnant I went to my little friend Amazon to grab a book for each of us and holy cow, it was overwhelming! I spoke with some friends for recommendations, read a few motherhood blogs to find favorites and made a list for us to get through.
Here are our favorites, with books that are focused on pregnancy, right after baby is born and then parenting.
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy + Childbirth:
I ended up liking this and reading it more than What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It explains what is happening to your body and baby’s throughout the weeks, gives tips for a healthy pregnancy, discusses nutrition, what to expect from each doctor’s appointment and alternatives if you are looking to take a more natural approach to both pregnancy and birth. Though “natural” may be in the title, this book is for any mama-to-be, whether you want a natural or medicated birth!
Bringing Up Bébé:
We have the audio version and have listened to this twice. Apparently, French children are very well behaved and so this author did a ton of research to figure out why that is. She discovers ways to go about parenting that make children better sleepers, eaters and well-behaved all while still being a relatively relaxed parent. This is a must-read!
Real Food For Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition:
To me, being pregnant is not an excuse to “eat for two,” eat more sweets, give into frequent unhealthy cravings etc. When we’re pregnant we are creating a human (duh, Cait) but with that comes an incredible power to set our children up for success before they are even born. How we fuel ourselves is directly correlated to our baby’s health. It is so important to feed them well while they are inside of us and sometimes I think this is very underrated and overlooked.
There is a gap between current prenatal nutrition guidelines and what is required for optimal pregnancy and development of a baby. If you could choose between your baby being “normal” and “optimal,” which would it be? I bet we all want optimal health for our babies!
This book discusses what to eat during pregnancy and why, what supplements to take, how to deal with nausea and many other prenatal factors. It’s evidence based and will back everything up with research!
The Vaccine-Friendly Plan:
I wasn’t sure what I was going to be getting myself into with this one but knew I wanted to educate myself on vaccines. HOLY COW this is my favorite book I’ve read during this pregnancy. I originally bought it on audio, had Mike start listening with me after I listened to the first two chapters and realized how good and informative it was, and then bought a hard copy to take notes in.
The author is a pediatrician and discusses ways to build your child’s immunity while being mindful and limiting exposure to mercury, aluminum and other neurotoxins.
But wait, there is so much more! He discusses what happens right after baby is born, the different tests that are standard and what to expect in the hospital. He talks about breastfeeding, what ingredients to avoid in formula and foods once baby starts eating solids. He discusses sleep, what to expect during pediatric visits and basically all of the things. Note: this is NOT an anti-vaccine book. He gives recommendations for a healthy pregnancy, childbirth and simple tips that we found to be massively informative and helpful. Just go read the synopsis and buy this one, ok?!
In this book the author discusses the many decisions we have to make as parents, starting from right when baby is born. From whether or not to bathe baby in the hospital to the benefits of swaddling, she gives data-filled pros and cons on many of the decisions we must make as parents. I thought it was informative but then realized I could get most of this info in the above book (The Vaccine-Friendly Plan). So if I could go back I would just read that one and not CribSheet.
The Danish Way of Parenting:
Mike loved this one, I am about to start reading it. Discussing habits of the happiest families in the world, this book gives principles and advice on free play, how to foster authenticity, nurture empathy and the importance of teamwork and togetherness.
Moms on Call:
This was recommended by a few mama friends, both Mike and I found it very helpful and our goal as of now is to try to get baby on a schedule as indicated in this book. (Key word = try, but we are happy to have a guideline and will do our best!).
Two pediatric nurses discuss everything we need to know about the first six months. Getting baby on a routine, hour by hour schedules, feeding instructions (for breastfeeding or bottle), different symptoms and when baby needs to go to the doctor, and a biggie..how to get baby to sleep! It is a quick read, highly recommend!
The Happiest Baby on the Block:
I think this one is going to come in really handy. This book discusses the 5 S’s which are techniques to calm baby: Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking. Apparently there is also a video that goes over each of these which would obviously take less time than reading the entire book. I haven’t watched it yet but probably will for a refresher!
The Whole-Brain Child:
Another that Mike read and I haven’t gotten to yet, he loved it so much he bought another by the same author (below). It’s about how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. By educating ourselves on how their brains work and applying that knowledge to everyday parenting, we can turn a tantrum or fear into an opportunity to foster growth. Mike loved the psychology behind this and said it’ll be very helpful in raising calmer, happier children.
The Yes Brain:
Same authors as Whole Brain Child above, this is a guide on how to cultivate resilience, curiosity, courage and compassion in your child. Mike read this too and enjoyed it. He said he’ll have to read or listen to it again when babe is older.
Want to read list:
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
The Drama of the Gifted Child
Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline
How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
You may also want to read:
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