When we found out we were expecting a child, we were so incredibly excited. I realized, however, that I knew virtually nothing about caring for a baby. I had such minimal experience with little ones. Hoping to prepare myself, I scoured the internet for books about newborns, taking care of babies, breastfeeding, etc. I found that there are so many resources out there. A large number of the books I read were either overwhelming, dense or useless. Of all of the resources I have perused, there are four must read books for new mommies.
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
The Happiest Baby on the Block is full of wisdom designed to help you calm your baby and, ultimately, help them sleep, from the very beginning. The authors urge parents to use the “5 S’s” which include shushing, swinging, sucking, swaddling and side/stomach positioning (not for sleep, of course). Karp also provides the rationale and evidence to support using such strategies. We found that using a combination of these “S’s” really helped us to calm our son, and help him to sleep as well. A good tight swaddle, and shushing proved to be game changers for us.
When to read it: Make sure you read The Happiest Baby on the Block before your baby is born. You will want to implement these strategies as soon as you bring your baby home. And, trust me when I say that reading books in the first few weeks will be such a challenge. You can always revisit the book as a refresher once baby is born.
The Wonder Weeks by Frans X. Plooij, Hetty, van de Rijt, J. Jutte
This is a book that I find myself consistently referencing, in conjunction with the corresponding app. The Wonder Weeks refers to periods of significant development throughout a baby’s first few years, which they call “leaps.” The periods are precise, calculated using your due date, as opposed to the baby’s birthday. The app tracks your baby as he or she progresses through these phases. The book gives you insight into how your baby is developing, the signs that your baby is in the midst of a phase, and strategies to help you support your baby during each “leap.” We have found that our baby’s developmental periods closely align with the Wonder Weeks (within a few days). I appreciate that the book includes specific activities that I can do with my son, to further foster his development.
When to read it: I would recommend reading The Wonder Weeks as your child progresses through each phase. I do find that I read ahead, as well, so I know what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months. This book works well in conjunction with the Wonder Weeks app, which alerts you each time your baby begins a new “leap.”
Touchpoints: Birth to Three by T. Berry Brazelton
Our Pediatrician recommended Touchpoints-Birth to Three to us, probably because I had oh so many questions at each newborn appointment. Brazelton is a pediatrician with decades of experience under his belt. In Touchpoints, Brazelton walks you through the various stages of a child’s physical, mental and emotional development. He not only discusses what a parent can expect in terms of behavior, eating, development and sleep, but it also explains the biological forces behind such development. I do want to note, however, that I do not agree with all of Brazelton’s child rearing recommendations, as he suggests utilizing the “cry it out” method of sleep training. Otherwise, this is one of our go-to resources.
When to read it: I definitely would not read this book cover to cover, at least not at first. It’s a lot of information, and much of it will be irrelevant until you are in the thick of it. The book is broken into different developmental periods. I would encourage you to read the book piece by piece, as your baby enters each phase. There are also specific sections on eating, sleep and behavior, which you can reference when issues arise.
The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
Our son is not a sleeper. He resists it at all costs. The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Nighthas a number of excellent strategies and recommendations to help babies sleep better. What I love about this book is that Pantley is both honest and gentle. She recognizes that most babies do not sleep through the night. In fact, she explores the biological reasons for frequently waking throughout the night. While we are not at a place where we want to try sleep training just yet, we will definitely be implementing Pantley’s strategies to help our son sleep longer at night, when its time.
When should you read it: I would encourage you to read this book before you have your baby. I wish I had. When my son was born, I was under the impression that most babies sleep through the night, immediately. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This book gives you reasonable expectations, as well as strategies you can use right away, to help your baby sleep better.
There are so many books and resources available for new moms, it can be incredibly overwhelming to wade through them all. These four must read books for new mommies are an excellent starting point, and will provide you a wealth of information to help you survive baby’s first year.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, you can purchase the item from Amazon, and I will receive a small incentive. These are truly useful resources that I want to share with you. Each of these books can be found through a variety of retailers, and your local library. If you like the blog, however, and want to show me some love, feel free to use the links I provide above!