Pragmatic Mom

January 21, 2010

Favorite Baby Parenting Books

I remember when my first was born and both my husband and I were panicked at the daunting task of keeping her alive.  I thought the key would be to educate myself and I read every baby parenting book I could get my hands on including books from friends that were 10-years-old and out of print.  I made myself crazy.  I read, like, 15 books.  The books gave conflicting advice.  Advice from “experts” also flip-flopped from decade to decade.  I almost made up a spreadsheet to track the different opinions on the issues.  OK, I’m anal-retentive, but not that anal-retentive.  But only by a hair.

Finally, the theory that set me free.  I realized that I am the parent of this infant and that my husband and I know her better than any of these experts.  I decided to just match up the baby advice books to my own inclinations and opinions and go with that.  “Oh, you don’t think I should co-sleep with my infant? … well, just following the advice of my baby-whisperer-guru Dr. Sears. ”  That’s right, folks.  JUST PICK THE BOOK THAT SUPPORTS ALL YOUR BELIEFS.  This is a good strategy for anyone prone to giving you unsolicited baby advice.  I’m not targeting in-laws here at all.  Really!  It’s a constructive way to say, “Butt out.  I know what I’m doing.  Read this book, too, so you can get with the program.”

These are my favorite parenting books but I also include some books other parent friends swore by, even if I didn’t agree with the advice.

The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age 2 (Revised and Updated Edition) by Sears and Sears.  This is my go-to guru.  But that is because I am a “family bed” proponent which is not for everyone.  He writes this with his wife who is a nurse and they have 6 kids, including one with special needs.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (series) by Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff.  This is a classic series and very good.  I bought this through age 5, I think.  It’s wonderful!  You can probably find this used somewhere so look around, particularly at yard sales held at preschools!

Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Dr. Richard Ferber.  Other parents swear by it.  If you MUST have your baby sleep through the night, this is a method that is difficult to implement, but once implemented, really does work.  A caveat, you must duplicate the “method” 24/7 even when you are on vacation or it’s back to square one.  It’s you vs. baby and if you have a strong willed baby, it might take up to two weeks to kick in, I’m told.  “Ferberize” is now an actual word!  Of course, it’s not your child who is necessarily having sleep problems, it’s you who has issue that your child’s sleeping patterns do you mimic your own.

Here’s an interesting link pitting my favorite Dr. Sears against Dr. Ferber on their sleep theories!:

The Portable Pediatrician by Dr. Nathanson. My baby parenting books are long gone but I still have this one.  It’s a keeper!  I wish she could be my pediatrician!

Expectant Father.  This is the book that first-time dads always seem to get as a present.  There’s not much meat to it, but it’s better than nothing,  I suppose.  I wouldn’t buy it, though.

Girlfriends’ Guides by Vicki Iovine.  These are the best; you need these to keep your sanity and sense of humor intact!  Who knew a Playboy Bunny could be this funny?!

Touchpoints by Dr. Brazelton.  10 years ago, this was the well-known baby book.  I do really like Dr. Brazelton and I wished my pediatrician made house calls like he seems to, but I have to say that I found it difficult to translate his book into advice to follow.  If I recall correctly, his book is mostly made up of case studies, and while interesting, did not relate to me or my situation.   And when sleep is scarce, I probably should have been doing other things like sleeping rather than reading this book.  But it was a book that I kept in my library for all three kids.

Dr. Spock.  He’s Dr. Old-School.  I bought a copy and tried to plough through it, but I just couldn’t.  Too long and boring.

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