Here are my essential books:
1. Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book :: I began this book after Evelyn was born – but pregnancy would be the perfect time to start jotting down thoughts (or quirky pregnancy situations) that occur to you. I am excited to look through what I wrote and wish I had started earlier! (Give yourself grace if you don’t use it every. single. day. I sometimes write 5 days’ worth at a time.)
2. Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother :: This was my all-time favorite book. It is a collection of letters written to a pregnant friend, who had lost her own mother. Incredibly encouraging, positive, and genuine – the letters bolstered my confidence in a time when fear and worry overwhelm. This is what womanhood is all about – powerful care-taking, sharing, mothering. I’ll be reading this one again with future babies.
3. The Happiest Baby on the Block :: Zach and I both read this book. I skimmed a lot of the introduction and honed in on practical advice. Honestly these were the same steps I’d seen my grandma, aunts, and cousins use with babies, but it was a good refresher. Zach had never been around newborns, so he learned a simple method to soothe Evelyn quickly. He even practiced swaddling a teddy bear a few weeks before my due date.
4. The Nursing Mother’s Companion :: This book was my lifesaver. Even more than the delivery, breastfeeding was super intimidating. I wanted to nurse my baby, but I’d heard a few horror stories. I read the first half of the book before the birth and have referred back to it countless times since then. Take some of the information with a grain of salt (we used a pacifier the first week and started solid foods at 6 months). Don’t start this book or #3 too early – you want the information to be fresh!
Lastly, books will only take you so far. Mothering is often instinctual, and more art than science. Learn what works for your family. In fact, there are some books I wish I could un-read, because they ended up messing with my head. If it isn’t working, let it go!