One of my very best friends is expecting her first baby. Hurray! I can’t adequately describe how excited I am for her. I am firmly in the books-make-the-best-presents camp (surprise!), but I usually stick to adorable board books since not everyone has the same parenting questions or style as I do. When someone specifically asks for my favorite books about having and raising babies, however, I come back to some combination of these five books I’ve loved over the years:
The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine is a little outdated, but I love it so much. I stumbled across it during my first pregnancy and laughed my way through the whole thing. I can still clearly remember the chapter on nesting where she tells the story of a friend laying sod before the sun came up because her baby deserved a home with soft grass.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is my go-to book about childbirth, even though my deliveries were the furthest thing from natural, midwife-attended care. I learned so much about how childbirth works, even though I read it during my second pregnancy. I didn’t find the book at all preachy, but I do lean a little toward the crunchy side on my own.
Beyond Ava & Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby by Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran because sometimes you need a naming book that is more than just lists of names. What I love about this book is that the names are grouped by style and feel. Naming children has always been difficult for me, and I needed something with a bit more substance than the average website or name book. The same authors run a similar website (which I also love).
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD. I read every book on baby sleep I could get my hands on when my first child was 9 months old. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was a good (for me) blend of theory and practice. I also liked that there were suggestions for more stages than just the one I was in at the time.
The Rookie Mom’s Handbook: 250 Activities to Do with (and Without!) Your Baby by Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss is a book I found through a website by the same name. The whole point of the book (and the website) is to get out with your new baby and figure out the new life of having a child along for the ride. Some of the first activities are so wonderfully simple, especially for times when just getting in the car feels daunting: go to the store and buy just one thing (to prove you can live through it), take your baby out for a coffee date, walk around the block. That’s not to say there aren’t grand adventures as well, but I really like the wide range of ideas.
Even though I get most of my ideas online these days, a quick walk through the bookstore makes it clear that parenting books are still a hot item. (Plus I like having a gift I can wrap up in pretty paper.) Am I missing any of your favorites?