Friday, May 11, 2012

Must-reads for the new mom

There are a few books I recommend over and over to new mom's.  When you become a mom for the first time, the information overload from friends, family, and the internet can be overwhelming, and quite frankly panic - inducing.  Here are a few of my favorite, well-balanced books that hopefully will calm the madness that is the reality for the new mom.

1.  From The Hips : A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and becoming a Parent

This was such a find for me when I first pregnant.

Not only does it not go through the what-you-must-do-when-your-expecting-or-else-you-fail-as-a-mom mantra of other books, it is totally honest, and gives you a full picture of what labour, parenting, and recovery will be like.

I found it much more comprehensive that other pregnancy books, and especially loved the comment bubbles and very candid experiences from new parents, both the good, bad, and the ugly.

Just an absolute must have for the new mom.

2. The Baby Book: Everything You Need To Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two

Considered by many the mother (pun intended) of all parenting books, Dr. Bill's massive book stresses the importance of learning to listen to your baby's cues, and responding appropriately to them.  

While there are some who have taken this attachment parenting to the extreme, this book is full of common sense and incredibly useful information for new parents.  No, you are not raising a criminal if you feed your baby formula or let them sleep in a crib.  But yes, your baby will cry less if you wear them, or spend time interacting with them with developmentally appropriate games.  

The book covers everything and is a great resource to have on the shelf in any nursery.

Dr. Bill also has a pretty good website that covers many topics he covers in the book, but (bonus!) they are searchable by topic with lots of updated information.

The author, Dr. Gowri Motha, is a Obgyn turned Doula from the UK who noticed a trend of unhealthy practices during pregnancy which lead to multiple undesired interventions during labour.  She developed a comprehensive protocol for pregnancy that she felt would rebalance the body and prepare the mom for a natural births, with less intervention.  Everything from diet, acupuncture, Reiki, and exercise is covered in this book.

Lots of women love this approach to pregnancy, because it not only stresses the importance of the baby, but focuses on the mother's well-being.  While it is not for everyone, I do love the emphasis on women taking control of their health, and being a part of the pregnancy and labour experience.  It takes a lot of the fear-mongering out of the equation, and emphasizes lots of relaxation and pampering for the mom (what's not to love there!)  Kate Moss, Elle MacPherson, along with many of the London elite have followed her method.

It does have a lot of "rules" to follow and are specific to each trimester, so I recommend reading this early on in pregnancy, or even before conception.

So not a book, but an incredibly comprehensive website on breast feeding.  Baby won't nurse? Can you breastfeed if your sick and on antibiotics? Cracked nipples? What is a let-down reflex? Basically any question in the world about breast feeding and this website has evidence-based, logical information on it and solutions for it.

The only (and I mean only) book I have come across that comprehensively covers both sides of the vaccination debate.  It is a non-hysterical, pragmatic approach to decision making.  It covers all the basics of vaccines - and what is relevant to you, as the parent.

The book does not take a side either way, but rather presents information in a systematic way that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about whether or not vaccination will be right for their families.  The author is both a medical doctor and a midwife.

It can be a medically heavy read at times, but all the facts are there for the parent to come to their own conclusions.  What I like most about this book, aside from the way the information is presented, is that it allows parents to have finally have a handle on the vaccine information that is often not readily available.  This allows parents to be an active participant in the decision of their children's health - rather than just blindly delegating the responsibility to a pediatrician.

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