Friday, August 15, 2008

Reading List

I know that this is probably typical for first-time moms, but I've started frantically reading so many baby-related books these days that I feel a bit like I'm cramming for a test. Or perhaps more accurately, a pop quiz, since I don't know how many days or weeks away the exam is....

For your reading pleasure, a list of what I've been reading, complete with mini-reviews. Note that I skipped even mentioning the books that were really bad. Also, I haven't quite finished reading all of these, but have seen enough to at least give a short summary and opinion.

Pregnancy:
What to Expect When You're Expecting (Murkoff, Eisenberg, Hathaway) -- Everyone buys a copy, so why fight it? I liked it more than most people, it seems. Yes, they go a bit overboard listing everything that could go wrong, but I just skipped those parts. Sticking to the basic month-by-month stuff was useful for me; each month, I read ahead to see what to expect the following month. Worked great.

The Mother of All Pregnancy Books (Douglas) -- More friendly, but also less useful, than What to Expect. I used it as a reference occasionally, but I could probably have skipped it. Nothing wrong with it, just not as much my style.

From First Kicks to First Steps (Greene) -- What a cool book! I loved this one. Rather than just the same old "Your baby now weighs this many ounces" stuff, this one focuses on sensory development. When does your baby start tasting? Distinguishing noises? Seeing lights? Exploring your uterus with his hands? All backed up with fascinating studies. For instance, if you read a picture book out loud to your baby starting in the third trimester, that book will be able to calm your baby after birth better than anything else. Or how singing to your baby in-utero will affect his heart rate. Really neat stuff.

Infant Calming & Sleep:
The Happiest Baby on the Block (Karp) -- Popular classic for a reason. I obviously haven't tried the techniques yet, but many of my friends swear by them. I usually hate self-help-type books (the repetitiveness annoys me no end) but this one was still a very quick read. And made a lot of intuitive sense (though I did have to nit-pick some of his "logical scientific reasoning" which was full of Buick-sized holes). But hey -- if it works, it works.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (Hogg & Blau) -- I'm having more problems with this one. The ideas appeal to me in a lot of ways, but it also seems unrealistic to adhere 100% to the plan, and the author constantly makes the point that any variation will lead to disaster. I'm just not enough of a blind follower to buy into that kind of faith. I'll probably give some of these suggestions a try, but I'm skeptical.

General Infant Care:
Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads (Greenberg & Hayden) -- Some friends bought this for S. As far as I can tell, it's aimed at new dads who used to be committed Boy Scouts (S was an Eagle Scout, so he's spot on for this demographic). I skimmed it for the humor (eg, how to change a diaper in a sports stadium; why reggae music is best for calming babies) but S swears it also has useful parts, and kept him entertained enough to finish reading it. I particularly love the list of reasons why babies cry -- besides the obvious hungry, tired, dirty diaper reasons, they also list "general angst."

The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance (Borgenicht & Borgenicht) -- Complete book of infant care, in the style of a VCR manual. The illustrations are great. Fun book, in particular, for anyone who works in a technical field. And all of the information is spot-on correct.

Caring for Your Baby and Young Child (American Academy of Pediatrics) -- This one was recommended by our pediatrician as the one medical trouble-shooting book to have on hand as a reference. It's huge and dense, so I haven't done anything other than casually flip through it, but it looks useful.

Other:
The New Jewish Baby Book (Diamant) -- I totally love Anita Diamant. Her discussion of options for bris ceremonies was invaluable for me. Her section on Hebrew names was a bit skimpy, but still useful. Overall, just a good read.

The Baby Name Wizard (Wattenberg) -- Without a doubt, the most useful of the baby name books we looked through. Particularly helpful: each and every name has an associated graph of its popularity in the US over the past century or so, and data on its current and peak ranking among names reported to the Social Security Administration. Also includes origins, meanings, nicknames, similarly styled names.... Excellent resource. So much better than just the lists that most books have.

The Nursing Mother's Companion (Huggins) -- Haven't finished reading it yet, but so far it seems like a good, practical book on the ins and outs of breastfeeding, without the heavy-handed propaganda found in many such books. Includes sections on trouble-shooting, and an appendix on how hundreds of drugs are metabolized and cross into breastmilk, so you can make informed decisions on what medications are safe to take and when. Excellent reference.

Baby Bargains (Fields) -- This book was indispensable for me. It's basically like Consumer Reports for baby gear. Ratings on brands and specific items for everything you can think of, based on thousands of submitted reader reviews. Unbelievably helpful as we decided what to buy.

1 comment:

  1. I've nominated you for an award. Consider this my de-lurking :-)

    ReplyDelete

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