I’m a firm believer that you don’t know what you don’t know. And when it came to pregnancy and ultimately parenting, I knew that I had a lot to learn. I ordered and devoured more books than I care to admit – covering everything from pregnancy diets for the “perfect baby,” week-to-week guides, natural childbirth, breastfeeding, postpartum nourishment, the importance of scheduling feedings, the importance of on-demand feedings, benefits of co-sleeping, studies on vaccines, managing the first six weeks…you get my drift? If it was recommended by someone I trusted, I ordered it.
Truthfully, I think I read too much. I overwhelmed myself with information, and while I feel well versed in the MANY philosophies and topics, ultimately I trust my intuition and believe that the answers will come from within. With that said, here are some of the books I loved most:
Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra M.D.
This was the first book I read while pregnant and it helped me approach pregnancy with calm and ease. Its ideas derive from two sources: the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, with an emphasis on body, mind, and spirit, and the latest Western scientific prenatal research. By integrating the best information from these two very different perspectives, this remarkable book gives tools to ensure that our children are nourished by thoughts, words, and actions from the very moment of conception.
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
When American journalist Pamela Druckerman had a baby in Paris, she didn’t aspire to become a “French parent.” But she noticed that French children slept through the night by two or three months old. They ate braised leeks. They played by themselves while their parents sipped coffee. And yet French kids were still boisterous, curious, and creative. Why? How? This is what she explores and it’s deeply wise, charmingly told, and hands down, my favorite read.
Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood – and Trusting Yourself and Your Body by Erica Chidi Cohen
There are many, many books that can guide you through pregnancy (the older big one is What To Expect When You’re Expecting who also has a great app), but this one really spoke to me. It’s extremely thorough, breaks down what your body/baby are experiencing by each trimester, answered the questions I didn’t know I should be thinking about, and I loved Erica’s emphasis on overall wellness (diet, yoga, meditation, clean beauty, etc.). When girlfriends share with me that they’re pregnant, I like to send a little congratulatory gift including this book, Bringing up Bebe, and my favorite organic body butter.
The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula’s Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth by Lori Bregman
When I was contemplating working with a doula, I read this cover to cover in one sitting. I found that I would go back to it regularly for the monthly breakdowns of what was happening in the pregnancy/baby, concrete prescriptive health information, nutritional advice, natural remedies, wellness, developmental milestones, techniques for labor, birth plan guidance, etc.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
If a natural childbirth is of interest, this is the book to read. Filled with inspiring birth stories from her 30+ years of experience and practical advice, it’s an invaluable resource that helped boost my confidence.
Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher
I’ve heard one too many breastfeeding horror stories in my day, so I did everything I could to feel prepared for the challenge, a challenge I was a little concerned about. Besides taking a breastfeeding class, I read this book which covers the breastfeeding issues to anticipate and how to deal with them – between this and the class, I felt as informed and prepared as I think I could have….
The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou
This was sent to me by a girlfriend who had a baby just before me and it was such a lovely gift and a great last read during pregnancy. I was concerned about what to feed myself and how to properly nourish to help face the physical and emotional challenges that were ahead, and this book helped alleviate those concerns by answering my questions. It includes 60 simple recipes for healing soups; replenishing meals and snacks; and calming and lactation-boosting teas, all formulated to support the unique needs of the new mother. In addition to the recipes, this warm and encouraging guide offers advice on arranging a system of help during the postpartum period, navigating relationship challenges, and honoring the significance of pregnancy and birth.
What about you, what books did you enjoy?