As I mentioned last month, I’ve been reading a lot of books in preparation for labor, delivery, and parenthood. Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for this month’s Twitterature book reviews.
The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears
I’ve quickly learned that having a baby requires you to make lots of decisions…lots of decisions that are very polarizing amongst moms (and others who think they get a say in how you raise your children). The book is written by a pro-vaccine pediatrician who claims he is also “pro-knowledge” and set out to write a book that would give parents all the info they need to make the decision on if/when to vaccinate their children. The book was very informative and broke down each vaccine based on the risk of developing the disease, the symptoms of the disease, and possible side effects of each vaccine. He also included an alternative vaccine schedule for those children who may not be ready for the established full schedule used in most pediatrician offices.
Be Fruitful by Victoria Maizes
I didn’t agree with everything the author had to say in this book, but it was interesting to see a book written by an integrative doctor who focused on nutrition, stress, and emotional and spiritual wellness as a source of fertility problems. This may be a good introduction to those who have not considered these areas as an obstacle in their fertility journey.
On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo
The premise of this book is that babies are trainable and you should be able to get them on a sleep/eating schedule that works for you. They walk through the different stages and ages, which is helpful—although there was a lot of repeated information and I feel like a little chart or summary at the end would be helpful for quick reference. This is a book that causes a lot of controversy, but everyone I have talked to who has read it has given the same advice—take it with a grain of salt, don’t be too rigid, and do what works for your baby. I think that’s great advice all around!
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
This was written by a woman who is obviously anti-obstetrics, but in her defense she does openly state that at the beginning of the book. She walks though common practices in labor and then offers alternatives that she believes are safer and more natural. We’ve covered a lot of these procedures and the pros/benefits and cons/risks in our class, so there wasn’t a ton of new information here.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
This was probably one of my favorites, just for the positive birth stories she tells. Ina May Gaskin is probably the most well-known midwife there is, and she has decades of experience to share stories from. Sometimes it seems like all you hear about are the negative stories, so it was good to hear some encouraging stories about women who have birthed naturally.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
I think this is probably one of the best books I’ve read on the topic of preparing for childbirth. Since the intended audience is the birth coach (whether that’s the woman’s partner or doula), everything is explained in pretty simple terms, and specifically lays out what the coach should be doing. As we’ve taken our classes I’ve been a little overwhelmed at the amount of information there is to remember, but I am reassured when they say “you don’t have to remember this. Your coach does.” I passed this one over to my husband once I was done with it, and I’m hoping he’s taking notes and remembering all those important things 🙂
The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins
Generally a good overview on breastfeeding (and by overview I mean very in-depth) although I didn’t agree with 100% of the things she said. This is one that would probably be good to revisit once the baby arrives and you can actually work through some of the breastfeeding issues discussed in the book. But I’m still glad I read it ahead of time because knowing what you are getting into and where problems may arise is probably an important part of not giving up too early.
Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Robert Bradley
You could tell this book was written a really long time ago (when they didn’t allow dads in the delivery room and did other questionable things to women in labor). Since we are taking the Bradley classes, there wasn’t a ton of new information included in this book, but it was interesting to hear some of the stories—especially the ones about women who gave birth naturally, walked back to the delivery room on their own, and then went home two hours later. Those are definitely not the usual stories you hear regarding childbirth.
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
This one definitely went more in-depth into the topics we are discussing in our Bradley classes, and I would probably recommend it for anyone who is unable to take the classes themselves but is interested in learning more about husband coached childbirth. I will warn you—there are lots of full nudity photos, because apparently Bradley women only give birth fully nude or something…
Yoga Mama by Linda Sparrowe
This is a new release that popped up at our library right as I was starting my prenatal yoga class so I picked it up. It’s directed towards people who have an established yoga practice, but even as a beginning yogi I found it easy to follow and helpful. They walk through the different trimesters and cover challenges women face and yoga sequences to help. It also talks a lot about natural birth, which I wasn’t really expecting, but it makes sense since yogis tend to be in tune with their bodies and a part of the natural health movement. I would definitely recommend this one!
What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
I didn’t get my hands on a copy of this book until my 8th month of pregnancy, and I didn’t feel the need to go back and read about the previous seven months I had just lived through, which means I skipped a lot of the content, but I still feel like I got a pretty good feel for the book. I have seen this book on every pregnant woman’s bookshelf (and in every thrift store around town), and I imagine it was all the rage before apps like Baby Center would give you weekly updates on the size of your baby as compared to fruits and vegetables. It gives a very in depth look at what’s going on with you and your baby during each month of pregnancy, and covers common questions. I didn’t agree with some of their advice, so I would encourage women to look into additional resources to go along with this one.
The No Cry Nap Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
I abandoned this one halfway through. Not because it wasn’t a good book, but because I realized it would be more helpful to read AFTER the baby comes since it involved a lot of troubleshooting. Since I won’t know what issues may arise until I meet our little guy, I’m going to put this one back on the shelf until I have a need for it. Seems like a well rounded approach though, as the author emphasizes that there is no one right solution for every baby.
Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent
This memoir was SO good! A midwife recounts how she found herself “catching babies” in the Bay Area back in the 70’s. Not really a childbirth resource, but a nice break and more positive birth stories!
Birthing from Within by Pam England
I got to this book and thought “I think I’m burnt out on the child birthing books”…and then I finished it in two days. It focuses on the mental preparations needed for natural childbirth, which is probably one of the most important components that unfortunately gets overlooked in many of the other books I’ve read. My one complaint is that she focused a lot on art therapy, which really isn’t my thing, so I skipped over some of those parts.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
So technically I haven’t finished this book yet, but that’s because my husband and I are taking our sweet time to read through it together and discuss each chapter. We reached out to one of the family pastors at our church to get some parenting resources (because they don’t offer pre-parenting counseling, much to my chagrin…I think that could be a really good thing—like pre-marital counseling. Anyway…) and this was one of his top recommendations. We found a copy in our church’s thrift store (actually we found about 10 copies…which I may have to scoop up because I think this will be one of my go-to new parent gifts). Our goal is to be very intentional with our parenting from the beginning. I know that will look different depending on the different seasons, but I don’t want to wake up in 5, 12, or 18 years and think “oops I wish I would have…” Although there are many concepts in this book that we won’t be able to apply until we meet our child and get to know his personality, it has been very helpful for me to think overall about parenting strategies. Definitely recommend this one!!
I didn’t QUITE make it through my recommended reading lists, but I think I am feeling prepared enough–until the baby comes. Then I am sure I will have lots of questions (and probably no time to read!). Unless of course you have a recommendation for me, then I may just have to squeeze in a few more books before “D-day!”