Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Few Good Books

When I was pregnant (pregnant enough to justify eating "second breakfast," not pregnant enough to be picking out names) a co-worker left a baby book in my office.  Her child had just turned two and she said she no longer needed a baby/parenting book.  So I thought, awesome, one less thing to buy!  Turns out it saved me more than just $12.95.

The baby and parenting section of the bookstore can be a fearsome and overwhelming place.  As a mother who didn't know a whole lot about...anything...having just the one book was great.  I didn't have to think about philosophies of parenting or anything.  I had the one book.

The one book was Baby 411.

Written by a pediatrician and a consumer advocate who are both mothers, Baby 411 gives extremely clear and practical advice on every aspect of raising a child to age 1.  It is easy to read, even when you are sleep deprived and covered in Lanolin (yeah, get ready for that) with answers to the questions you actually have.  Sometimes it was like the book read my mind.  Also, it has first aid and dosing information for common medications and practical solutions to real life baby problems.

Most of all, it spoke to my personality as a mother.  It talks about discipline and how to deal with crying, the importance of breastfeeding and vaccines, sleep issues and scheduling.  The authors speak from the standpoint of a mother, but also as a physician.  I have a friend who is a pediatrician who says she always recommends this book to new parents and is extremely proud that her copy is autographed.

Bonus? It breaks down a whole mess of sleep books and grades them.  We actually ended up buying one other book on sleep when Reese was six weeks old and I needed a schedule.  Almost as much as I needed a drink.

The same pediatrician friend recommended Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and I never looked back.  Very popular with parents who don't mind a little crying, but don't want to the Ferber method (although it's basically the same thing).  This book talked a lot about the biology of sleep and how babies process sleep and need sleep.  At the beginning, it was really hard to ensure that all naps happened in the crib and there was definitely some crying, but when I tell you that Reese goes to sleep happily and sleeps for twelve hours (plus naps!)...I mean, you can't argue with results.

I mean, how funny is that picture of the baby on the cover? Buy it just for that!

While Health Sleep Habits goes up to, I don't know, when that kid goes to college, Baby 411 only covers babies up to a year.  Which is why I ran out an bought Toddler 411 as soon as Reese turned one.  It has the same no nonsense formula with questions and answers, great ideas for feeding picky toddlers, schooling, etc., and keeps you informed through the grade school years.  I'm a nerd and I like to read ahead.  

 And that's basically it for me.  I did just read Bringing Up Bebe, but other than that and the plethora of information on the internet, those were the only baby books in our household.  Just a note, I do recommend getting these all in hard copy as opposed to an e-format.  There is something way more difficult to loading up an electronic device in the middle of the night when you aren't sure exactly what constitutes a fever in an infant. 

Were there any that I missed?  Any that anyone else loves?


  1. I read parts of 2 books, and 2 books only (thanks to babsie d's advice to igore all books). 1) Weinstein. Genius. (except i'd now like him to explain how to keep a 2yo from stealth crib escapes) 2) Sears' breastfeeding handbook, which we refered to as "The Breastfeeding Manifesto" in our house. Sure, bf-ing in the bakc seat of a car while said car is moving and everyone's appropriately strapped in is the stuff of bf legend, and yes, the Sears' attachment approach is 180 degrees opposite the sleep book, but the Sears' scientific explanation of BF and how milk production works were lifesaving. Science = helpful.

  2. Oh, I think the crib escape is one of the things I fear the most. I agree that Sears' info on breastfeeding was really good (I read a bunch of it online) but I didn't really love his approach to much else. The Baby 411 does a really good job of explaining the scientific benefits of breastfeeding without swinging towards the AP side.

  3. I feel like I've read hem all! But I swear by The Baby Whisper. AMAZING. Worked like a charm (for us.) Excited to check out her book for Toddlers next.


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