My husband works with a couple who just got married and are expecting! We are so excited for them. Doug is especially excited because there are not many people at his office with kids so now he'll have some people to talk "kid stuff" with each day! Plus they are just an adorable couple and it's hard not to be excited that people who are so sweet are procreating! We need more of it!
So, Doug asked me if I had any books for them - pregnancy or child raising etc. Since we've got a tiny one at home I selfishly don't want to part with any of my books but I came up with my Have to Have list of baby books to share with them so they can head off to Half Price Books (a place where I wish I could spend more time) and load up!
For Pregnancy Info:
What to Expect When Expecting - this one is a duh! I see that there is a new edition of it with a much more up to date pregnant lady on the front cover!
Pregnancy Journal by Christine Harris - this one is fun. It gives day to day updates of what may be happening with your baby. There is a lot of great information and it helps you really feel connected with the growing baby inside you!
While it's important and fun to know what is going on during pregnancy, I personally was more concerned with what to do with the baby once it was here since I was very unfamiliar with babies. So, you'll notice that most of my selections deal with parenting issues!
For Parenting Info:
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth - In my opinion, hands down, absolute must have book. If I could only have one book this would be the one I would choose. Again, this is my opinion, but my girls both had different sleep issues as infants and this book helped me save my sanity and turned them into great sleepers! My babies, once they got past 5 months, slept 12 hours a night, every night, without waking up. While the need for it with Campo is not quite as desperate as with the other two, it is a great reference and I will use it to help avoid any issues and to help maximize his (and our) sleep. One of the main points of the book is that sleep begets sleep. People think (and suggest this to new and experienced parents all the time) that keeping the baby awake during the day time will help them sleep through the night faster. This actually works against parents. Keeping the baby awake when he or she needs sleep causes the baby to get overtired then they have a harder time falling asleep. This means less sleep which means a fussier baby and it just becomes a vicious circle. Weissbluth implores parents to be the guardian of their children's sleep and to make it a very important priority. He details how and more importantly when certain steps can be taken to get children on good sleep schedules.
What to Expect the First Year - just as great and informative as it's predecessor. This is a must have!
Baby 411 by Ari Brown and Denise Fields - One of the authors, Ari Brown, is a pediatrician and gives tons of first hand advice throughout the book. This one is a little different from What to Expect because it gives more medical and technical type information. It's where I look when my babies have runny noses, funny looking poop (there is a chapter about poop called The Other End!), temps or rashes to see what it says so I can be somewhat informed when I call the doctor. It has saved me from panicking and calling the doctor's office sounding like a crazy woman a couple of times - although I've had my share of those phone calls at other times too!
Happiest Baby On the Block by Harvey Karp - This book has wonderful tips on soothing baby. It doesn't necessarily help with schedules or medical stuff but he gives you some great tools for calming a fussy baby down. Things like swaddling, which we have found to be a absolute must-do with newborns, shushing and side holding which is a great way to hold reflux babies. Whether you just have a regularly fussy baby, like Campo, or crazy unhappy babies like Big Bear and Me Too were, the tools in this book will help. With Me Too, who was the fussiest and literally cried for 4 months straight, not all of the tools helped all of the time but some of them helped some of the time which was about all we could hope for with her! For Campo, most of them work like a charm most every time! I noticed when looking up the link to Amazon that there is a DVD as well that will show you how to do some of the things he talks about in the book. I would have loved to have had this with Me Too. Luckily one of the nurses in the hospital was familiar with the book and showed me a lot of it as she was warning me that Me Too was going to be a tough baby! Yikes!
Last, for moms...
Mom to Mom, Day to Day by Danielle Bean - Great book for Catholic moms. Lots of practical, day to day (hey, that's where she got the title!) advice for moms of any faith and even ideas for following the liturgical calendar to celebrate our faith in our family lives. What I love about this book is that reading it feels like talking to a friend and much of what she says makes me feel so much better about what I'm doing as a mom. For example when "blopping" around (a term I stole from a fellow Catholic mom blogger Shelly) I often feel that I am not doing as much as I "should" be doing for my family in celebrating Holy Days and feast days etc. Translation - I compare myself to the other moms whose blogs I read and end up putting myself down and feeling inadequate! However, Danielle makes the point that the Catholic Church is over two thousand years old and trying to celebrate everything would lead to "liturgical burnout"! She encourages picking and choosing which observances mean the most to you and your family. Reading that made me feel so much better and so much more willing to try to plan a few things instead of doing nothing because I felt there was no way I could do everything...if that makes any sense.
So, those are the books that I personally love. There are so many out there. I left some that I have read off of the list (hard to believe as long as this post is huh?) because they did not work for me. Having a newborn is hard and I wholeheartedly agree with Danielle Bean's chapter called "Do What Works Best for Your Family". Do what works for you and your baby. I don't think everything works for everyone each time. Stressing yourself out to follow one theory or another perfectly is not good for a new mom, the baby or the family.
Most of all, be sure to turn to our Lord, His Mother and all of the wonderful "helpers in the sky", our friends the saints for help when it gets tough. Campo and I spend many a night (and day for that matter) praying in the rocking chair. I can't even begin to imagine how many decades of the rosary I prayed while wearing the carpet down with Me Too. It helps...a lot. Especially when you offer it up for the many women out there who would love to be up having a baby parade in the middle of the night but can't for one reason or another. That puts things in perspective really quickly!