Book Reviews: Various books on motherhood

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I was planning on writing a post for each of these books, but let's face it, I don't have the time or energy for such nonsense anymore. So let's quickly get to the point here.

What to Expect When You Are Expecting.
Broadly considered in the U.S. as the pregnancy bible. My advice is to borrow a copy from a friend and use it for reference. I think reading it cover to cover just encourages extra worries. And what pregnant girl needs more to worry about? I read the introductions for each section and then skimmed until I found something that I needed to know. And just skip over the "pregnancy diet" section. Girls, just eat when you're hungry. Sheesh.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. 
This is published by La Leche League so it's full of more earthy ideas than perhaps other books on breastfeeding. It had a few ideas that helped me the first few weeks. I wish I would have read this and some other books on breastfeeding before giving birth. This is another good one for reference rather than reading cover to cover.

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman.
Go read this now! I am so in love with this book. It's hilarious and eye-opening. The author not only draws on her observations of American and French parents, she compares these observations with past and current research. For the sake of time, I'll just list a few of my favorite ideas that we want to incorporate into our own parenting:
  • The Pause: Babies often wake in-between sleep cycles because they don't know how to connect them yet. The idea is to observe your baby for a few minutes before picking them up. I think American parents, (myself included) are so worried about creating a secure attachment that we jump to pick up our babies as soon as we hear the first wimper. We have been practicing "the pause" for the last two weeks and it makes such a difference. Infants have "agitated sleep" which seems like they are waking up. But when we listen and observe Bridger for a few moments when we hear him stir in the night, he usually goes right back to sleep without our help. When he does become fully awake, we of course pick him up and see to his needs. 
  • Cadre: Frame. This is the over-arching theme of French parenting according to the book. Parents have firm limits, the frame. But within the frame, kids have lots of freedom. For example, one family she met has a firm bed time for their kids. But once they get ready for bed and go to their rooms, they can do anything they want in their rooms.
  • Bonjour: Much like saying "ma'am" and "sir" in the South, French kids are taught to say "bonjour" to adults. Saying hello to adults indicates that a civilized encounter will follow. It is respectful to the adult and also "cements the idea that kids are people in their own right."
  • "You must teach your child frustration." This is an idea that I think many American parents practice as well. You should always see to the needs of your infant, but after the age of 3 or 4, kids should pick themselves up from time to time. The point of this is to teach independence and self confidence.
I hope this helps some moms-to-be out there! What motherhood books were helpful to you? I would love to hear!


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