With my due date approaching in less than a week, I took a moment this morning to take a step back and evaluate all of the pregnancy/motherhood books I have perused throughout the last 9 months. I absolutely understand that no book, no person, no amount of education and prep will fully prepare me for the roller coaster ride I am about to endure, but I can feel a teeny bit better inside knowing that I put my best foot forward in preparing and educating myself. So let’s take a look at what I liked and what I wasn’t so crazy about (or just straight out scared me!)
1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting: This is the total cult classic. It is in all the movies. It was the first book I bought- yes the very day I took the pregnancy test. What to expect is a classic and has staying power for a reason; it is extremely informative. However, the content can certainly be dry and at times scary. I would say this book is great as a reference. As mentioned, I bought it the very first day I knew I was pregnant, but found that it was most useful when down the road at 28 weeks I was suddenly experiencing the craziest burning sensation up my throat when I was lying down for bed, I would simply flip over to the chapters relating to that period of the pregnancy. Another great one, which I thought was better than What to Expect but just as thorough is the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.
2. Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting: I loved this book and funny enough, I actually read it about 6 months prior to even being pregnant! This read much more as a novel, and interwove the authors real life experience of raising her daughter in Paris, with tons of statistics and facts around French Parenting. This was an easy read and can really be read before, during, after pregnancy. I think it really made you stop to think how our society here in America can be so go-go-go!!! and how the French really relish life and that reflects in their parenting style.
3. On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep: This one is the Holy Grail. This was recommended to me by a friend who swore up and down that it was the absolute reason for keeping her sanity while sleep training her twins. I know there is some controversy over the recommendations that the book gives, but I tend to disagree. In no way, shape or form does this book suggest you ignore your child. It gives you a structured guide and schedule for a Feed-Wake-Sleep cycle and as someone who can at times be type A and has zero experience in raising an infant, I can totally appreciate that. Even if you do not follow this to the T, I think it sets great parameters for sleep training and acclimating your infant to life in the real world. Remember, babies have no sense of time inside our bodies. It is us who must train them to understand wake versus sleep. Another great one, similar to this, from a Nanny’s perspective is also Cherish the First Six Weeks.
4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: So totally may have thrown you for a loop here. No it’s not a baby book. However, when your in the 3rd trimester and nesting has taken over, this book is an eye opener. There are some things that I do not necessarily agree are realistic, especially if you already have children, a family, a job, A LIFE. Such as take 6 months to totally clean out everything at once. I wish I could do that, and maybe one day I can, but at the given point in my life, it just does not seem realistic. But with that said, I love the notion that the author suggests “you only keep things that bring you joy”. This mantra has helped me in the past few months so many times when cleaning out. So many times we are attached to an item from the past because it is attached to a certain memory. But that is exactly what its purpose was, to provide us that memory. Thank the item and move on from it. I ask my husband all the time…”Does it bring you joy right now?” as he would keep anything and everything that has a remote sentiment to it around if he could. Kondo is definitely a master of the declutter and this book is one I know I will refer to again and again.
Also in the middle of reading these two: The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Nursing Mother’s Companion. So far, so good. I can see myself keeping the book on breastfeeding right next to the bed for the next few months. I also read The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy and was not a fan. I appreciate sarcasm and humor, but I found this to sort of be too much of a fluff book for my taste. I would love to hear any other books you have all enjoyed!