March 1, 2012

Books to read for new moms and moms to be

A new baby is obviously very exciting, but the preparing bit can be a tad confusing. If you have never had a baby, it is hard to know what you don't know, if you don't know what you need to know. Know what I mean? While I was pregnant, people were either all about giving me advice or telling me that there wasn't really anything to know, that things would just come, and I would learn along the way. So true, but also so not true. I have obviously learned a lot about my own baby that a book would never be able to tell me. But, I'm also a stubborn lady and have to learn most things for myself.

First, what to read when you are pregnant and have a new baby.

Once I started thinking about how I wanted my baby to be born, deciding to have a natural birth was an easy one. But, deciding what kind of birth you want to have is a very personal thing. I recommend reading Your Best Birth and watching The Business of Being Born. I will warn you, they definitely have an agenda. Try to look past that. But pay attention to the facts. Like what it really means for you and your baby to have Pitocin. I also read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. The encyclopedia on natural birth and midwifery. In the end, both were most helpful in my planning of a natural hospital birth.

Once you have your beautiful little baby in your arms, you will want to know a couple of things right away. Like a few tips on nursing and how to calm your crying baby. At first I didn't think breastfeeding was something I needed to learn more about and I might have been a total brat the night Tim made us sit through a 3 hour class on breastfeeding at The Pump Station. In the end, it was valuable to learn that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt at all (except through that first period when your boobs are engorged), and that it is normal for breastfed babies to lose more weight in the initial days after birth than formula fed babies, and you do not need to panic. After that, it was helpful to have The Nursing Mother's Companion when reflux issues and diet questions came up. You also want The Happiest Baby on the Block. Or you can watch the DVD. Either way, you want to know what the Five S's are. Trust. Most new babies are super fussy in the evening. The Five S's will save you. We followed them (minus the bit about pacifiers and motorized swings) and I estimate that it saved us approx. 1 million hours of crying.

Finally, learn about baby sleep. So different from grownup sleep. I didn't read a book about this because baby sleep methods, like crying it out, scare me and I want nothing to do with them. But, it's helpful to know that once your newborn isn't sleeping for a majority of the day, you need to watch for signs, like tugging on their ear, to know that baby is ready for a nap. This way you can put them to sleep before they become overly tired and turn into a beast. Approx. 90 minutes of awake time seems to be key. We aren't sleep training and I am plenty happy having Dash snuggle next to us in bed. If you must get a sleep book, I've heard good things about The No Cry Sleep Solution. And remember that 3 month old babies are not meant to sleep through the night, it's okay if yours is not, and you aren't doing anything wrong.

Finally, welcome to mommyhood!  It can be frightening on this side, but mostly it is wonderful, and these books make it easier.

P.S. Maternity must haves and newborn must haves.

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