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Books to read...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

What are your favorite/most useful books to read in preparation for birth and/or parenting?  What are books you hated and wouldn't recommend?





Off the top of my head:


USEFUL: I found Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Orgasmic Birth, Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book all to be quite good

The Better Baby Book (more of a "before you get pregnant" book) has TONS of great bio-hack-ish  and "reducing toxins in your environment and life" information, but I honestly can't see most people doing everything in that book (I'm doing a lot of it, but not everything) 

I *think* the Birth Partner book was good (but I'm not the one that read it... lol)


So far the Infant Potty Training, Teach your Baby to Swim, and Womanly Art of Breastfeeding books are good, but I haven't finished them.  Babygami (a gift - about different swaddling techniques) was cute, but I don't know if I'll actually use anything in the book).


NOT USEFUL: Gentle Birth Choices, Hands of Love, and The Bradley Method (all "required" reading from a midwife we ultimately weren't pleased with, but I didn't like the books even before she fell out of my favor)  - I felt these were either too vague or too specific, conflicted with what I envisioned... 

I'm finding the Attachment parenting book kind of useless... but that's because most of the information seems to be things I already know or things that seem intuitive to me...

HATED "Starting Solids" - given to me as a shower (*RAGE*) gift... one of the first lines in the book is that breast milk doesn't have enough nutrition for the baby beyond 6 months... they lost me about there, plus there's a lot of "recommended" stuff that is processed/refined foods that I wouldn't eat, and I just can't see prepping or feeding my kid... I also don't think steaming and pureeing a vegetable should count as a "recipe"

Edited by PrimalMom - 2/4/14 at 11:42am
post #2 of 13
Expecting Better and The Essential Homebirth Guide have been my top picks for this pregnancy. I have a ton of the Dr. Sears books (pregnancy, baby, breastfeeding, sleep, attachment parenting, etc.) and love them all. I have a bunch of other stuff I highly recommend, too, but my toddler is napping in that room right now and (of course) I can't remember any of them.

Birthing from Within is one that I liked the first time I read it, but ended up having to get rid of after I had actually given birth. The creative/art stuff doesn't resonate with me at all and the emphasis on how extremely mind-numbingly painful birth is always going to be for everyone was counter-productive to read along with my Hypnobabies materials.
post #3 of 13

From my first pregnancy (re-read only some of it this time):

Ina May's guide to childbirth

Gentle birth gentle mothering

The birth partner


This time:

A really good book in french about VBAC de Hélène Vadeboncoeur

I'm currently reading Spiritual midwifery and I'm enjoying it A LOT.


I have the baby book of Dr Sears and it's a book I'm looking forward to re-discover.

post #4 of 13

Breastfeeding Books

The Womanly art to breastfeeding

Making More Milk by Martha Sears

So That's What They're For!: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide 3rd edition

Janet Tamaro


Birthing/Pregnancy Books

Ina May's guide to child birth

Bradley child birth (even tho I'm doing hypnobabies)

The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need to Know From America's Baby Experts by Dr. Sears


Baby Books

The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby's First Year

by Megan McGrory Massaro  


The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two

William Sears


The Science of Parenting

Sunderland, Margot
Health Books

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)

Robert W. Sears


Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child

Janet Zand


Parenting/Discipline Books (Toddler and Up)

If you are going to buy just one book on parenting that's not for babies, make it this one

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk

by Adele Faber 


Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years--Raising Children Who are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful (Positive Discipline Library) 

Simplicity Parenting

Unconditional Parenting

Alfie Kohn


Connection Parenting


Playful Parenting



My favorite parenting site is www.ahaparenting.com I've been getting her newsletters and reading her site for 2 years. I'm also considering take Positive Parenting online course. She also has a book which I hear is very good.


When you want to parent differently then you were parented it takes a lot of knowledge and practice...



Basic Montessori: Learning activities for under-fives

Gettman, David


post #5 of 13

So many of my favorites are already on here! I finished Expecting Better over our vacation, and my husband started on it, and we both geeked out pretty hard. I read the Essential Homebirth Guide prior to this pregnancy, and really enjoyed it - may peruse it again now that I'm pregnant and planning a homebirth! Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Guide to Breastfeeding are both great. Love the newest edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Sears' Baby Book is my reference for the first two years. The Positive Discipline books are also great resources, and so helpful (for me) in understanding where my child is developmentally and what realistic expectations are. I also have Parenting With Love and Logic, but I still need to read it.

post #6 of 13

Thanks for the recommendations. 

I am reading From the Hips.  The whole title is:

  From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent

It is a basic guide, but helpful for a FTM. 

post #7 of 13
Is "expeceting better" the one written by an economist? I think I chose not to read that one, as it seemed like getting our financial planning advice from a medical doctor smile.gif

I'm currently trying to find my Dr.Jack Newman breastfeeding book, at one point, I had 2 copies, as I found a 2nd in a thrift store for 1$, but I think I may have lent/given them both away. I'm still trying to choose a couple twin related books to purchase.

I would recommend to everyone to make sure you have one first-aid, what to do at 3am type book on your shelf. Lots of general parenting books have a section, and while they are really dry reading, a skim through so you can find the info you need faster in the future is very helpful. Even with all the first aid training in the world, when it's the middle of the night and it's *your* baby, getting solid info from a book can calm you down. Something with ages/stages is helpful too, and there are lots of them out there. I have one that is birth to 24mth I think and another in the same series that is 2-5yr. Most of my books are packed in boxes right now from our recent renovations, but there are ones out there to suit every parenting style and prefrence.
post #8 of 13

So here's the list of books from my kindle, and the library. I've read way too many, but I guess I enjoy reading them! Perhaps I should write some real reviews for goodreads and amazon.


Orgasmic birth: Ok, but nothing groundbreaking in there.

Siblings without rivalry: still working on it, but i has some really good ideas in it

Diaper free before 3: ok, but not amazing

a holistic guide to pregnancy and childbirth: blah

sacred pregnancy: I like the idea of journaling, but it's not for me

Primal moms: ok, but not that great

beautiful babies: ok, but not that great

french kids eat everything: interesting, but not that practical in the US

Is this your child: interesting, but repetitive

the no cry sleep solution: total waste of time

how eskimos keep their babies warm: very interesting

the baby led weaning cookbook: total waste

parenting with love and logic: loved it

the baby whisperer solves all your problems: thought it was going to be good, but nope

baby led weaning: good ideas, but won't be doing this again because it's not at all compatible with food allergies

the wonder weeks: meh

baby wise: if you can ignore the suggestions on how to neglect your baby, there are a few interesting tidbits in here

making more milk: wish I would have read the signs on baby not getting enough in here while I was pregnant. 

bringing up bebe: interesting, presents some things to think about

it sucked and then I cried: I read this when I was dealing with ppd, and it was nice to know I wasn't alone

the happiest baby on the block: ok, but not great

ina mays guide to breastfeeding: ok, but not nearly as good as the womanly art of breastfeeding

pushed: the painful truth about birth and modern maternity care: excellent read

the vaccine book: good information, but I don't really like the schedule

the thinking woman's guide to a better birth: not memorable I guess, since I don't really remember it

ina may's guide to childbirth: a must read

hypnobirthing: good introduction to hypnosis methods used during childbirth


books I've read from the library

the womanly art of breastfeeding: best book on breastfeeding out there

the bradley method: reinforced my love for hypnobabies

milk, money, and madness: a fascinating look at how people have fed their babies throughout history and the politics behind it all

birth matters: a must read on the the health of maternity care in the US

birthing from within: felt like it was one giant scare tactic

the baby book: read before I had my first, and I'm glad I did. Made me feel okay about raising my kids the way I wanted to

the fussy baby book: nothing in it that isn't in the baby book

post #9 of 13
I've loved Ina May's spiritual midwifery for a long time- I love how psychedelic the stories are.

I'm also reading pregnancy and childbirth by shelia kitzinger and gentle birth, gentle mothering.

I also enjoyed birthing from within until I started doing hypnobabies and then decided to toss it- she has a line in there where she says- came into the woman's birthing room to candles and soft music and said " oh boy , this is gonna take forever." And I told the woman to put on an old t shirt and get to work. And that just ended it for me.
post #10 of 13

I also enjoyed birthing from within until I started doing hypnobabies and then decided to toss it- she has a line in there where she says- came into the woman's birthing room to candles and soft music and said " oh boy , this is gonna take forever." And I told the woman to put on an old t shirt and get to work. And that just ended it for me.

I know! When I read that I kinda wanted to scream that my dd was born with candles and soft music, and I never once "got to work".

post #11 of 13

"A Wise Birth" By Penny Armstrong. I'm an academic and an avid reader. This is baby #4 for me (13 years after my last one!) I've been reading like crazy and this book has really moved me. I like the way it deals with the mind/body connection in childbirth. 

post #12 of 13

Ina May Gaskin - Guide to Childbirth


I love the visualizations she suggests - made my last 2 births much easier.

post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by Activia View Post


My favorite parenting site is www.ahaparenting.com I've been getting her newsletters and reading her site for 2 years. I'm also considering take Positive Parenting online course. She also has a book which I hear is very good.

Haven't looked much at the website, but Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids is like my favorite parenting book ever, which is by the same person. I have like 80 reviews on my website, but here are my favorites:


The Vital Touch - Mostly about babies. Definitely recommend reading during pregnancy.

The New First Three Years of Life - There are some things that full-blown attachment parents will disagree with, but I've found this book extremely helpful.

Hold on to Your Kids - Focuses on older kids (like 7 and up) and how they start to get drawn away by peers.

Nurture Shock - Super popular. Wasn't planning to like it, but really did.

Siblings Without Rivalry - Helpful and easy to read.

The Happiest Baby on the Block - I dared my fussy 2 month old to cry after I read this book, I felt so confident.

The Toddler's Busy Book - Now that I have 2 kids, totally unnecessary, but when I just had 1 and was a new SAHM, I loved this book.

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius - Convinced me that grades suck and being able to choose what you learn is awesome.

The Read-Aloud Handbook - A good resource of books to read to your kid and strong motivation to actually do it.

Preschool Confidential - Outdated (like from the 90's), but funny and true.

Free Range Learning - Never thought I would homeschool my kids, but strongly considering it after reading this book.

Sign, Sing, and Play - Loved signing with my babies and found this the most helpful of the baby signing books I read.

The Attachment Parenting Book - Gave me the confidence to raise my kids how I wanted to anyway.

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