Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rookery Reading: 11 Parenting Books Better Than "What to Expect"

I love to read. I want my son to love to read. Not just stories and fiction: I'm an infoholic... I can't get enough information on anything. So, besides the topics I've covered thus far, on of the things other expectant or new moms ask is if I can recommend any good books. Short answer: Yes! Long answer: I've read probably close to a hundred-a hundred and fifty books on pregnancy and parenting outside of my Master's degree in Social Work with Children and Families. Most of them are helpful, but not that exciting or different from the rest. (I will resist the urge to rant against "What to Expect When You're Expecting." My one note is that it tends to scare the crap out of expectant Mom's and isn't all that accurate.)

This is just my short list, I'm sure there will be another whole post on the topic at some point, but, for now, here are a few recommended reads linked to amazon dot com. (I don't get a commission or anything, and I tend to be a library junkie to feed my infoholic needs, but giving the link at least gets you to a page with the ISBN and what not).

If you're looking for something informative and/or pregnancy related that will make you laugh... which is secretly WAY more important than discussing changes in hair follicles, I recommend checking out:

Belly Laughs
by Jenny McCarthy
I love this one because it's got super short chapters so you feel like you're getting somewhere, and it stays really light hearted. I don't agree with everything she does/says, but it's a nice, informative, read.

This just had me laughing outloud and reading whole portions to complete strangers. By far the funniest short honest look at becoming a mom I read the whole time I was pregnant.

If you're still in need of a giggle, along with some quite practical type tips, my husband and I really enjoyed:
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Parenting
by Joshua Piven, David Borgenict, and Sarah Jordan

If you're looking for one of the best books on natural child birth, I send folks to check out:
Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth
by Robert A. Bradley, Marjie Hathaway, Jay Hathaway, and James Hathaway

(Of course, you should probably know that I was Bradley baby, my parents were Bradley instructors, and this was the method we used with Jax...) Disclaimer aside, it is a good basic look at the philosophies behind low/no intervention birth.

When thinking about parenting philosophy, I felt like it was important to find out what research had to say, and make sure I wasn't just assuming my cultural norms were best because, well, I saw them as norms.

Looks at humans and how we best function. It delves into some great research on things like breastfeeding and co-sleeping. I love that it looks at both research and anthropology. But, if you're really into anthropology, I cannot reccomend enough:

This book was an absolute delight. Written by a psychologist and an anthropologist who wrote "Dr. Spock" like guides from the perspective of other cultures. Very insightful things that make you reconsider why we do what we do. For example, if you lived in an African tribe you might feel the need to give your child daily enemas... it's the right and healthy thing to do! Really good for opening one's mind and rethinking one's Western ways without feeling judged.

After checking out the research on co-sleeping I was really intrigued, but still quite fearful, this book looks at not only the benefits of sleep sharing, but how it effects children and families in the long term:
Good Nights
by Maria Goodavage and Dr. Jay Gordon

And, because my greatest fear as a new parent was SIDS, I would be remiss if I did not share with you the book that helped me calm WAY down by feeling like there were things I could do to at least lower my risk:
by William Sears, M.D.

Although I admit I did not actually read it cover to cover, the best and most comprehensive resource on breastfeeding has just been updated in a new edition:
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
by La Leche League International

Although I try to avoid bringing up religion, or at least getting preachy, I had several friends who asked if I could recommend something with a Christian perspective:

And, last but not least, just when you think you've got things about figured out, a book to shake your assumptions to your core, but leave you much better informed:
Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children
by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Is there another topic for which you wish you had a good book reccomendation? Got other great books you always recommend to new parents? Post them in the comments below!


  1. I always feel vaguely guilty, but I recommend Kathleen Kendal-Tackett's Breastfeeding Made Simple to people over the Womanly Art. I feel like it's a bit clearer and less overwhelming.

    I also adore anything by Aviva Jill Romm, including her The Natural Pregnancy Book, Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, and Natural Health After Birth

  2. While I like Dr. Bradley's "Husband-Coached Childbirth" book for a historical perspective on the natural birth using the Bradley Method, I LOVE "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon. It was such a practical guide to follow in the months leading up to birth to prepare your body, mind, and partner for the big day. It was definitely a must-read for achieving the natural birth of our son.