parenting books?(28 Posts)
I'm 28 weeks PG with my first baby and want to start reading some parenting books - have no idea where to start so if anyone can recommend any that would be great!!
Congratulations! The only ones I've had so far are the "What to Expect" ones - baby then toddler. Mind you, a friend got "What to Expect when you're pregnant" (for her 2nd) and found it very alarmist.
Good on you. I don't understand people on here who say they never read parenting books...what? Never do any reading about the most important thing you will do in your life? I wouldn't even walk in to a restaurant without reading the menu first! The irony never escapes me that they are saying this on a parenting website! Maybe it's just paper they don't like.
Anyway, what i'd suggest is that before you commit yourself to lots of books. Look around the web (even just mn) and get an idea of what kind of parenting you think you'd like to follow. Reading threads about them will help you see how they work in real life, eg lots of mums to be are sucked in by gina ford/baby whisperer routine type books, only to find they heart breakingly unworkably when their lo arrives.
I'll suggest some starting points though this will be coloured by my parenting style so hopefully others will come along and redress the balance.
So to start with look in to attachment theory by bowlby (google it) aka why the "rod foryour back" thing is bull, and dr sears' attachment parenting which is related but not the same iyswim.
Actually to rewind (i'd recommend Ina May Gaskin's guide to childbirth in prep for the big day and lots of reading of the mn bf/ff board for feeding info. It's invaluable.
I'm a big fan of Unconditional parenting aka "why your 'instinct' isn't always right" (by alfie kohn) and while it is one where i'd say it's worth reading the book there is an Unconditional Parenting support thread somewhere on mn (again use the search facility) that gives you an idea of how the theory works in real life so check that out first.
At the other end of the parenting spectrum there is stuff based on skinners developments of behaviourism (think time out etc) though please read up on this as it's amazing how often i see people talking about it on here with so little understanding of it. imo it's worth noting that skinner himself rejected the use of time out...
Other things i barely knew about while pg but now do/did include cosleeping, baby led weaning and elimination communication...maybe they are for you too? Have a read and see!
There are too many parenting books to possibly read them all. They all say different things anyway. Everyone insists their way of thinking is right.
I never felt the need to read any books before I had my children, possibly because there weren't that many around then. DS is 21 and DD is 14. I just sought out advice as and when I needed it from a variety of sources, family, friends, professionals.
If it is help with practical stuff then you can always ask on here. I think it's much better getting advice from people who have the t-shirt .
The only book I would recommend to all prospective parents is www.whylovematters.com/. This is the only book I wish I could have read before DC were born. I have read a lot of parenting books as I am a nursery nurse doing a degree.
The Mumsnet books are good. I got drawn into this place because I bought their pregnancy book, then went on to their baby book and now their toddler book. Not sure if you'd call them parenting books like the What to Expect books. More like shared wisdom and good advice. Congratulations by the way!
Agree that the 'what to expect ones' are the best, such as 'Your Baby Week by Week' etc. If you just bear in mind they're more for guidance and don't start stressing too much if your baby doesn't hit the milestones exactly when they say he/ she should.
I would steer clear of the ones that say 'teach your baby to sleep through by 8 weeks' or the ones that try to force routine. But that's just me from personal experience. I spent the first few weeks worrying myself so much about sleep associations and spoiling my DS by rocking him etc that i didn't enjoy him as much as i should have done. As soon as i ditched the routine books both he and i (and my DH) were infinitely happier.
Congratulations by the way! Such an exciting time ahead of you!
I can recommend Penelope Leach - not a how to or routine book but a rough guide of developmental stages and most importantly what babies needs at each stage (sleep, food, playing etc..).
After swearing i would never go near a routine book i did actually buy the baby whisperer and have been pleasantly surprised. I am not following it religiously but have picked at bits and generally found it to be quite logical - baby eats, then has an activity (be it a nappy change or playtime), sleep and you time. The quiz helped me establish what kind of baby i have and then how to address his needs better. BUT the book tells you nothing about baby development so the Penelope Leach is better for that.
what MoonFaceMamaaaaargh said and i love
100 ways to calm the crying by Pinky Mackay and The Wonder Weeks (am addicted to parenting books)
Why Love Matters: definitely read before anything else. Penelope Leach's is the best general childcare book, I think.
Another vote for the 'The Wonder Weeks'.
I have only just read it and DD is 14 weeks, I wish I'd read it before she arrives to prepare and understand growth spurts and developmental leaps.
I also liked Lucy Atkin's 'First Tine Parent' for practical things.
Avoid, avoid, avoid ANYTHING that tells you that your newborn should sleep at X time, feed at Y.
<<Off to buy the Penlope Leach...>>
Seconding Penelope Leach, very child focussed but also recognising that you, as a parent, is still a human being with needs!
I also liked "How not to be a perfect mother" by Libby Purves for a bit of light relief and some very practical solutions.
I like Raising Happy Children and, for later, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Having hard time with DS2 right now, so off to read the latter again. I end up reading it at least once a year when I hit a wall .
My advice is to read around a wider spectrum of books, not to take any of them too seriously and to try and find bits that work for you. I have never understood this whole discussion of routine vs attachment thing. Surely there are aspects of both that can work alongside!
I have found the tips for putting a baby to sleep in the baby whisperer invaluable but found a lot of other stuff quite waffly and patronising. I found Gina Ford useful for introducing a rough routine but did not follow it religiously. I found No Cry Sleep Solution useful for sleep associations. I have dipped in and out of Wonder Weeks but did not apply it exactly to the development of my DS.
here are the books i've bought and what i thought.
What to expect thw first year: ok
annabel karmel baby and toddler: ok
the baby whisperer: really liked it, but know now it isn't great for breast feeding
Baby Led Weaning: really liked, wished I could have got it from the library instead of buying it.
Attachment Parenting (can't remember exactly) by Dr.Sears, good but bought it too late.
Unconditional Parenting: really liked
Playful Parenting: probably my favourite, but better if you've read UP.
The no cry sleep solution: good, another one to borrow.
I can't recommend any parenting books as there is no one I've read that has all the answers. It really depends what your baby is like, as they are all individuals and some will thrive on routine whereas others won't etc.
However I will recommend a book called "What Mothers Do - Even when it looks like nothing" by Naomi Stadlen. In the darkest hours of night feeds it was my saviour in making me feel like I was doing ok, and was not alone in finding new motherhood a massive shock to the system!
I think it is such a personal thing depending on how you are and how the baby is. I would suggest borrowing loads from the library, read them all, buy the ones you like, then be prepared to ditch them when your baby conforms to nothing they suggest! The just go with the flow, trust in your instincts, and consult MN where necessary!
For little babies I'd recommend First Time Parent by Lucy Atkins - it's funny and not dogmatic - more in the style of 'here are some things that might help when your baby's screaming'.
Hats off to Moonfacemamaaaaaaaaagh et. al who are being very gentle and not at all arsey and biased in their recommendations. It's very late, and I can't be bothered to be so careful...
Seconding (thirding/ fourthing) 'Why Love Matters'; please read before anything else. Stick with its rather dry style; it contextualises other recommendations: Attachment Parenting (Dr Sears) and Unconditional Parenting (Alfie Kohn)
I also have and enjoy The Wonder Weeks (for preparedness for unsettling moments) and Playful Parenting, though my baby is a bit young to really have tested this one properly. I also liked 3 in a Bed; we are thus.
Have got the Baby Whisperer ones, but don't really like them, they interfered with me just looking at the baby and working out what was wrong with him plus made me worry that soothing him would interfere with his ability to become independent. (My baby is 23 weeks.) As per her instructions in the first 6 weeks I did not let the baby feed-to-sleep, or suckle to sooth rather than feed and my DS went from 75th to 12th centile. (Centiles - a form of tyranny unleashed against new mums by midwives and health visitors) Having chucked them, baby and I are happier, I often don't know in hours/ minutes how long it is since he fed for x mins before his x min nap AND he just made it back onto the 75th centile.
Have got the Gina Ford ones, found them way too proscriptive (8.15: you must eat toast and drink tea) plus can't bring myself to trust someone who pushes controlled crying (I know it 'works' insofar as it teaches the baby to not bother crying in certain situations, I just don't buy the idea that this is a good thing).
Right, off to buy Penelope Leach. Must just repeat - Why Love Matters
agree with sparkleyboots esp re thinking about what "works". Works in what sense? Good for getting an immediate result or for the long term development of your child? The two rarely go together imo.
FWIW I just got hold of a copy of the baby whisper - and it seems to be rubbish. I thought there might be some answers in there as to how to get my 5 month old to self-settle as she has to be rocked - but no realistic advice - just patting and shushing? I don't think so, no way will that work! And it definitely wouldn't have worked on her when she was any younger either, so I don't see how we could have avoided getting into the position we are now! I have just decided to carry on as we are as dd is happy and so are we. Tried patting and shushing today but she got so wound up that she ended up screaming every time I took her near her cot and I had to give up on her having a nap altogether - let's hope that doesn't carry on! I think the key is to find out what works for your baby. One size does not fit all! The problem are with these books is that sometimes if you read them before baby arrives, you have an unrealisitic view of how it's going to be. You take it for granted that the techniques will work as the author convinces you they will, then you feel you are doing something wrong when they don't. And if you are not confident enough in your own abilities you can end up getting quite anxious and even depressed about it. My advice is take all advice with a pinch of salt!!!
realhousewife, try "the no cry sleep solution" instead...lots of mners swear by it.
The books I got the most out of when pregnant and in my DD's first few years were:
- What To Expect When Expecting
- What To Expect - Baby's First Year (this was my Bible!)
- What to Expect - Toddler Years (invaluable)
- Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby
The last one is very controversial, especially on Mumsnet, but I lived by it because a) I thrive on routine and am not really a go-with-the-flow person and b) my baby quickly and easily conformed to the routines prescribed in this book (if she hadn't then I would have looked at other parenting books).
Now DD is getting older (she's 3 now) I'm getting alot out of How ToTalk So Kids Will Listen.
Hi Moonface - thanks, I was thinking about getting it, but I got the baby whisperer after I heard lots of good things it is a load of tosh! No real practical advice at all. Have you tried " the no cry sleep solution?"? Is it actually any good iyo?
Baby Whisperer was absolutely brilliant for us; I disagree that it had no practical advice. I think Baby Whisperer is a must read, at the very least to gain an understanding of a basic routine: eat then activity then sleep then time for you. Having no structure around your day as a new parent makes your job exceedingly hard, I think. It's nice to know where you're at in your day. It's also nice to know what you should be aiming for in a few weeks. The book really helps you understand how what you as parents do can influence behavioural responses in your baby. In particular around sleep and food.
We had brilliant results following Baby Whisperer. I am an unqualified fan.
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