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Best Books For New Mums By Pregnant Again Looby Lou! (YAY!)

By 12th December 2014

Hi Everyone, 

Lou here! In our most exciting news yet, I am expecting my second Thoroughly Modern Baby! Dad-D is very excited, Skye Daisy hasn't quite grasped what it all means yet and Auntie Nicki up in Scotland is no doubt planning even more trips South. 

It led me to thinking about my first time round with Syke and I have to say, I am feeling so much more confident with this little one. Preparing for having your first baby can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. There is SO much information out there, often with conflicting advice. Just where do you even start?

I’ve pulled together a list of books that I’ve personally found helpful or that I’ve been recommended by friends. My approach was to read a variety of books then take on board the advice that made most sense for me. This will differ from person to person; we’re all individuals, our babies are all individuals and we will all parent differently. That’s part of the joy of being a Mum or Dad.

And if anyone knows any great books for introducing a new baby to a toddler big sister I'd love to hear about them! ;-)

Happy reading!

Looby XX

PREGNANCY & CHILDBIRTH

Your New Pregnancy Bible, The Experts' Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood by Anne Deans

A large, informative book, packed with information but divided into smaller chapters and very easy to read and use. It tells you about the development of your baby week by week which is lovely to read about (your baby is now the size of a walnut….). It has advice and information from pre-conception to the early days of caring for your newborn. The book is medical/clinical in tone but is expressed in straightforward, simple terms - you name it, you’ll find it in here.

What to Expect when you’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel

A practical, informative guide. it starts with the section 'before you conceive' and ends with your six week check. It has useful sections on twins/multiple births, complicated pregnancies and a section for dads. The authors are American so much of the terminology and references are American. 

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

An inspirational & eye-opening book on natural childbirth. The first part of the book focuses on various birth stories while the second part is the information, techniques, statistics and solutions section. The tone of the book is touchy-feely/hippyish and it’s a very easy read, written in a conversational style without too much jargon.

Hypnobirthing: The Breakthrough to Safer, Easier, More Comfortable Childbirth by Marie Mongan

A good insight into hypnobirthing and its foundations, visualisations and breathing techniques. It has some incredibly useful passages about the physiology of birth and why fear is the enemy of birth.

PARENTING

Your Baby Week By Week: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for your New Baby by Dr Caroline Fertleman and Simone Cave

An easy to read, digestible book that guides you through the first six months of your baby’s life, on a weekly basis. Advises you on what you can expect in terms of sleeping, crying, feeding, dirty nappies, growth spurts etc. Practical and down-to-earth advice. Easy to dip in and out of.

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

A great reference book to help you through the first year. Informative and comprehensive, it tells you what to expect each month and what your baby could and should be doing so you can track important milestones (teething, jabs, sitting up etc). It also answers common questions that parents will be asking at each stage and gives fairly objective advice on biggies like weaning, sleeping and safety.Good to dip into on a monthly basis. It has an American feel to it. 

The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford

If you want to follow a strict routine, then Gina is your woman. If Gina’s too rigid for you, then this book is also quite good at helping prepare for your baby’s arrival - good advice on things like what to have as a basic wardrobe, how to prepare baby for bed, bathing, feeding techniques, winding etc. No nonsense advice which is helpful if your mum isn’t around to tell you!

Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect and Communicate by Tracy Hogg & Melinda Blau

If Gina Ford is too regimented for you, you may get on better with this book in which  they suggest a more flexible ‘EASY’ routine - Eat, Activity, Sleep, You.  The cycles don’t have to start or end at a particular time and can vary in length.The book also talks about 'tuning in' to your individual baby's needs and identifying the signs of hunger, boredom, tiredness et al before the crying starts. Lots of tips and advice on all aspects of caring for a baby.

French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman

An entertaining book written by an American woman living in Paris. It’s written with humour but there are some interesting observations on different approaches to parenting in Britain/America and France and with some good advice thrown in. ’Le pause’ was one of the most useful pieces of advice I have embraced as a parent.

SLEEP

Gentle Sleep Solutions by Andrea Grace

One of my NCT friend’s consulted Andrea when she was having real problems with her baby’s sleep - the turnaround in her sleeping habits was amazing. So much so, I promptly read her book! Her sensible and practical advice quickly led to my first full night’s sleep, keeping my sanity intact! She advocates a gentler approach to sleep training. I can highly recommend this book if you’re in desperate need of more sleep!

The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan by Alison Scott-Wright

For someone who wants to follow a sleep routine, but not as strictly as Gina Ford, The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan by Alison Scott-Wright is a useful read.  The plan was still a bit too rigid for me but the feeding schedules provide useful guidance and the more general advice about establishing positive sleep habits and breastfeeding is very helpful.  

Three in a Bed: The Benefits of Sleeping with Your Baby by Deborah Jackson

Great read for anyone wanting to know more about bed-sharing safely. My friend, Marie, who recommended this loved the fact that it brings up a lot of examples of parenting styles from all around the world After reading it, she didn't feel pressured about doing things in a"certain way" but just followed her instinct.

FEEDING

Guilt-Free Bottle Feeding by Madeleine Morris and Dr Sasha Howard

A recently published book that resets the conversation around feeding.This is a frank book by two intelligent women who acknowledge that whilst breast may be best, for many it’s not possible. The book debunks the myths surrounding breastfeeding and bottle feeding, examines the scientific evidence and research methodology and provides a balanced and much-needed voice, showing mothers who don’t exclusively breastfeed why they are not failures and promoting support for all families, regardless of how they feed their babies. It also offers lots of practical advice about bottle feeding - brilliant advice for those who can’t or choose not to breast feed.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International Book), Judy Torgus, Gwen Gotsch

Fantastic breastfeeding advice covering virtually every aspect from before birth to toddler years. It covers the basics on how to breastfeed, through any problems that may occur to weaning. Provides helpful and reassuring advice

WEANING

Weaning Made Easy. All you need to know about spoon feeding and baby-led weaning to get the best of both worlds by Rana Conway

A balanced book that covers spoon-feeding and baby-lead weaning and even suggests a mixture of both methods. It explains traditional (puree-based) and baby-led weaning and the pros/cons of each, offering unbiased guidance to help parents decide on the approach that is right for them. Comprehensive with sensible and practical advice. Includes recipes for pureed food and baby-led weaning.

The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook: Over 130 delicious recipes for the whole family to enjoy by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

An excellent introduction to Baby-led weaning, combining an outline of the BLW philosophy with a comprehensive recipe selection. Some of the recipes can seem quite basic but they’re great for gaining confidence with BLW and inspiring you to adapt your own recipes for the whole family to eat together. Hot favourites in our house included Porridge fingers, chickpea patties and tuna croquettes.

The authors have written another book (Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food) focusing on the BLW philosophy in more detail but I think all you need to know about BLW is covered in enough details in Part One of the Cookbook.

Top 100 Baby Purees and Baby & Toddler Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel

Really useful for the first 6 months of weaning if you are following the traditional puree-based method of weaning.

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