Books for the Journey: Pregnancy, Birth, Breastfeeding and Baby

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I can’t imagine going through childbirth without any information about the process.
But maybe that is just my western mind reflecting the emphasis our culture has put on head knowledge and the fear that generally surrounds birth.

Last time I read a few good books, but I really didn’t feel like I has time to do much reading since I was also in the middle of my senior year of school. (English and Spanish majors have to read a lot! In case you hadn’t guessed that already. Ha) We took a birth class that really helped me to feel as prepared as I could be and I read one pregnancy book (to make sure I wasn’t breaking any rules) and one breastfeeding book.

Head knowledge is very different from actual experience.

But this time I read quite a bit more in the weeks leading up to Alison’s arrival. I thought about the first time and about what I wanted to change and read up.

So here are a few of my favorites:
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Books to read straight through:

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Garten

I loved this book. I found it to be incredibly empowering. It is very strong on the point that women’s bodies are capable of unassisted/unmedicated natural births. And. It gave good information about how what goes on in your head and emotions plays big part in how your birth progresses. I really enjoyed reading the hundred pages or so of birth stories and seeing the differences/similarities in each. This book had much less straight medical knowledge and much more practical knowledge about how everything in birth all works together. I will probably reread this book with subsequent pregnancies. Much more inspiring than the average childbirth book that tends to focus on modern interventions and the “what could go wrong” of it all.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley

This book gives hope to the tired parent. When Ranger was about 6months old we started implementing a routine as suggested. It really did help. He wasn’t sleeping through the night any time soon (teething and trips always interrupted!) and still mostly doesn’t, but he was waking up less and we felt like we had a tiny bit more control of his sleeping habits than before. I’ll be finding this one to reread in a few months I’m sure.

The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by Dr. William Sears
This book was just a good summary of how I was raised and I want to raise my littles. Attachment parenting, you’ve heard of it. I’m sure.
I also feel like I can trust anybook by William or Martha Sears.
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Books that can/should be treated as reference books:
The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth (Revised) by Sheila Kitzinger
A good overview of the dos and don’ts of pregnancy along with basic information about what is happening and how it works.

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices

I found this book to be a little redundant to the books I have already read, but the information on the various commonplace interventions shouldn’t be missed for first time moms. Though honestly I do not like to read about what could go wrong during the birth when I am pregnant. It seems a little self defeating and I just don’t do it. So I skimmed a lot of the information about the possible complications involved with each intervention. I also enjoyed reading each of her very different birth stories.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
I have an older edition but I included the link to the newer edition because why not have all the current info and strategies? :)
I read this book straight through before Ranger came. It is more of a reference book but I felt much more prepared to feed my babies through reading this book. It has helpful info on everything you could possibly need to know related to breastfeeding.

The Baby Book, Revised Edition: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Sears Parenting Library)
This is most decidedly a reference book. I’ve used it to look up how to deal with fevers, teeth, when teeth come and a host of other problems or questions that crop up your first time around the kid block. :)
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What are some of your favorite books on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and babies?

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