Thursday, October 30, 2014

Best Pregnancy and Parenting Books {Must Have List}

Last week, we opened up the Mommy's Must Haves series with a list of essential items for your first trimester. (You can view the whole series here) One of the things I mentioned was using your first trimester to get a hard start on all that reading! This week, I'm going to share some of my favorite pregnancy and parenting books.
Mommy's Must Have series from a Mom of Three! at Serenity Now

Remember, this series is based on what worked for me...I'm a mom of three little ones, so I've had a chance to read a lot, choose the methods I like, and discover what works for our family. What I found to be informative or useful might not work out for you. The key is to learn as much as you can and try out new things until you find your groove! Please no rude comments about how you dislike a certain parenting style or method. Those will be deleted right away.
Best Pregnancy and Baby/Parenting Book List: Mommy's Must Have series from a Mom of Three! at Serenity Now #pregnancy #baby #pregnancytips

What to Expect When You're Expecting- Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
One of the long-time "pregnancy Bibles" for expecting moms. I've seen this book discouraged on some blogs for being too "Debbie Downer," but I'll give the authors props for being thorough. There are so so sooo many questions women have during pregnancy (especially their first), and this book really covers all the bases. My best advice for this book? Don't skip the part on cesarean sections, thinking it won't apply to you. The nurse that led our childbirth class said the same thing when I was expecting my first, and of course I didn't listen. Three c-sections later, I'm a pro, but I do wish I had been more informed going in.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week- Glade P. Curtis and Judith Schuler 
I referenced this one quite a bit during my first pregnancy because I loved reading weekly updates.

Baby Bargains- Denise Fields and Alan Fields
If you're a first time mama and have no clue what kind of gear you need, where to get it for a good price, and what to buy, this is a good one to pick up. I remember doing a lot of research on pack 'n plays, carseats, and strollers with this one.

The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy- Vicki Iovine
Reads exactly as if you are listening to a funny, honest, and experienced mom friend. She gives practical advice and talks about things your doc doesn't usually get to during those routine appointments. A great balance of funny and poignant.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding- La Leche League International and Diane Wiessinger 
T's cousin recommended this one to me when I was pregnant with our first. I found a copy in our local thrift shop and found it to be very informative. Unfortunately, breastfeeding doesn't work out for every mom (and it's okay!!!!), so I worry that this book might cause some new moms undue stress or guilt if their breastfeeding experience (or lack of one) doesn't go the way they had planned. Exclusive pumping was not popular when I was doing it, so I wish my copy of the book had been more helpful in that area...perhaps the newer editions do?

What to Expect the First Year- Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Like it's counterpart listed above, this is a fabulous, thorough look at a baby's first year. I really really recommend reading the sections on the first three or four months before baby arrives so that you have a little bit of an idea of what to expect. It was even a good refresher for me to read with my second and third pregnancies!

Moms on Call- Jennifer Walker and Laura Hunter (not pictured above, sorry)
I read this one when I was pregnant with baby #3 and loved that they practically lay out everything a new mom needs to know, from how to diaper and how to swaddle, to how to give an infant a bath. They also offer some great schedules to try out, as well as a handy iPhone app!

Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care- Benjamin Spock, M.D.
This book is like the holy grail of information on caring for your baby. It may be old, but Dr. Spock's book has been in print for more than 50 years, so clearly something is working. I remember that my mom had a copy of this in our bathroom drawer! The most recent editions have also been updated along with current advances in health.

Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay- Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
A very humorous look at parenting an infant!

The Diaper Diaries- Cynthia L. Copeland
Another humorous read that will make you smile during those tiring first few weeks. I remember feeling so nervous and strung-out over breast-feeding, lack of sleep, and uncertainty...and this book made me smile. I knew the author "got it."

Note: I save these two for last because they truly saved my life. With my oldest daughter, I was exhausted, hormonal, and totally unsure of what I was doing. Reading these next two books and "editing" things to fit our family made mothering during that first year simpler. I loved having a loose schedule to follow and my daughter thrived as she grew older (seriously, off the charts in percentiles) and I set some "bedtime rules." The way the authors do things may not be for you, but they note that you can tailor things to fit your family, which is what we did. I have three happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids. They eat well and have been sleeping in their own beds with no problems whatsoever since being a few months old. I call that success. (Again, if you're not a fan, you don't need to leave an ugly comment--I will delete it.)

On Becoming Babywise- Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam M.D.
This is book one in a series. Wonderful, practical tips on feeding philosophies, sleep, day time play, healthy baby growth charts, etc. Again, not for everyone...but I have three awesome kids who harbor no ill will towards me for encouraging them to learn to soothe themselves to sleep.

Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old: The Baby Sleep Solution- Suzy Giordano and Lisa Abidin
In the haze of not having slept in weeks, I ripped this book off the shelf at our local bookstore when our oldest was a little over a month old. I didn't follow it to the "T" because we stretched things out and tweaked the timeline/scheduling to suit ourselves. But I loved her tips on soothing a fussy baby, keeping a little one awake to feed, etc.

I also wrote a post with the Best Pregnancy Websites and Blogs last year. I do hope you'll check it out!

Hope you find some of these titles helpful and inspiring!

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

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  1. If you'll be pumping at any point, especially at work, I highly recommend The Milk Memos. It's a book about three moms who meet while sharing the "Lactation Room" (aka broom closet) at IBM. It's narrative woven with lots of solid advice about pumping at work and being a working mom.

    I liked The No Cry Sleep Solution and I know that author has some other books that are of the "gentle parenting" vein that are all The No Cry [insert topic here].

    I imagine this is further down the road, but I would love to see suggestions of books for the early toddler years. I've heard good things about Happiest Toddler on the Block and Love & Logic, but somehow haven't had a chance to check them out yet :)


I love to hear your feedback! Please feel free to leave comments...just don't send me spam asking me to buy stuff off your website! I've got three kids and no money to purchase your magic weight-loss pill or bust enhancement, or whatever else you might be selling. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you! :)

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