Reading: Lots of baby books

Finished reading:

Lots of baby books. I’ve summarized the basic points below, but have yet to put anything into practice so I’ve stayed away from expressing any opinions! (Will have to put up a followup post at some point once we have some actual experience…)

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon – I didn’t read every word of this but flipped through the pages and read sidebars here and there. This cookbook has tons of sidebars with research and quotes about traditional foods and why they’re good for you (much along the lines of Real Food and In Defense of Food).

Body, Soul, and Baby by Tracy Gaudet – Also didn’t read every word of this. Similar to other “guide through pregnancy” books, this book covers some of the things you can expect in pregnancy. What I found the most helpful was the information near the beginning with suggested exercises for connecting with your body and your baby. The goal of the book is to help you fully experience pregnancy instead of letting it just fly by.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. – This book is basically about “how to soothe your crying baby.” Karp’s theory is that babies need a “fourth trimester” with conditions similar to those in the womb in order to not be as fussy and colic-y. He wraps up baby-soothing techniques into a series of “5 S’s”: Swaddling to keep the baby’s arms from flailing about so that they can focus and be aware of what you do next, holding the baby on their side/stomach to keep them from having a falling reflex (with the note that this is only when you’re soothing them; babies should sleep on their backs), providing white noise by shushing them (“shhhhh, shhhh”) at an intensity equal to their level of crying, swinging them (more like “jiggling” them) gently so that their head jiggles a little to imitate movement in the womb, and, if necessary, providing them something to suck. Whether or not you buy into the fourth trimester theory, there is something to be said for Karp’s methods. We’ve personally observed our friends practice these sequential techniques to great success, so we may be trying these ourselves!

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth – I read most of this book, skipping the parts about older children and adolescents. The main message of this book is that “sleep is important.” Weissbluth offers a lot of different research results about how sleep quantity and sleep quality affects learning and adaptability, then describes what sleep looks like or should look like from birth through adolescence. The book doesn’t offer very much hands-on practical advice but does share a lot of stories from parents so that you can learn how other parents approached “sleep problems.” Weissbluth does advocate “helping” your child with sleep training after three or four months if they haven’t fallen into their own schedule of quality sleep and offers a few suggestions, including setting an earlier bedtime, letting the child cry, and protecting their sleep quality by not dragging them around to different places when they should be sleeping. Many of our friends have highly recommended this book; I wished there was a bit more “here’s what you do” information, but I may change my mind when we actually have a baby!

On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo – There is apparently some controversy surrounding this book as attachment-parenting proponents vilify those who follow this book, but I personally didn’t see the controversy and found that it had many similar concepts with the other baby books I’ve read. The basic principle is to set a reasonable routine/schedule early on, and your child will naturally start to sleep through the night. Similar to Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, this book advises that you follow a basic routine of feeding the baby, keeping the baby awake for a limited amount of time to change the baby and play with him or her, then putting the baby to bed while still awake (as opposed to rocking or feeding the baby to sleep). The book strongly advocates breastfeeding and learning how to do it well so that the child gets adequate nutrition. I think people who have issues with this book think that it advocates sticking to a strict schedule and never deviating from it, but the book actually encourages you as the parent to use your brain, make sure your baby is being fed adequately, and be flexible with the basic schedule as you need to.

So That’s What They’re For! by Janet Tamero – The first book I’ve read that leans more on the “attachment parenting” side of things, although the philosophy is more assumed than explicit. This book is all about breastfeeding. Opened my eyes to the world of women who even breastfeed older children (like, verbal toddlers!).

Complete Home Storage by Jeanne Huber – A Sunset book with lots of photos and examples of different home storage options. Includes some plans and instructions for building your own stuff. As I’m hoping that Steve will build some shelves into the office closet for me, I was happy to find this on the new book shelf at the library!

With a bookmark: (Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)

  • Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter
  • The Best of Ogden Nash edited by Linell Nash Smith
  • Sacred Attitudes by Erica Ross-Krieger
  • The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst Putting this into my “reference” shelf and will probably never read it cover-to-cover.
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

In the library book box:

  • What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg and Sandee Hathaway
  • The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
  • Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? by Melanie Bowden

11 thoughts on “Reading: Lots of baby books

  1. I’ve heard many many good things about the “Child of Mine” feeding book by Ellyn Satter. And I’m glad to hear your positive comments on Babywise. I heard so much negative, but I really think it isn’t warranted. It was just so reasonable for the early days, and it worked so well for us! Now, child #2 was a different story 🙂

  2. I used Happiest Baby on the Block.

    I didn’t agree with his evolutionary perspective, but it did make sense that a baby is used to the womb and kinda in shock after birth.

    The techniques worked great for us. However, my baby is now 14 months old and she still needs to be swaddled to take a nap. Not sure how to break her of that one without letting her cry it out. *cringe*

  3. Corrie,

    Great review of Babywise. It is so refreshing to see someone who has actually read Gary’s book writing a review!

    My wife and I have used the Ezzo’s wisdom and know Anne Marie and Gary personally and its just refreshing to read your words.

    shawn wood

  4. I love that you reviewed books for me. I feel like I am always asking for you to do this since you read so much and I just dont like to read. I am curious to find what you say about the breastfeeding books on your list. I think summarizing the books is a great idea. That way you can be focused on what you try early on with baby Haffly instead of, like us, try a million theories in rapid succession. I think you are smart to do it that way.

  5. I shared your frustration on Weissbluth’s relatively small “how to do it” section in Healthy Sleep Habits… (even though he made the most sense to me in terms of his descriptions of infant sleep)
    I did find a website with some “sleep doulas” who seem to have more “how to” advice based on Weissbluth’s kind of research.…

  6. Hi Corrie,

    I see my book Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? is in your library book box. I’d love to talk to you about the book. Contact me if you’re interested.

    Melanie Bowden

  7. this post was helpful to me – it is hard to find simple summaries of baby books. Everyone wants to give you their opinion . . . I just want to know what it says and decide if I want to read it or not.

    Thanks a lot.

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