Yes, even I am getting a little tired of the fact that this blog seems to only be about babies these days. I'm working on other stuff, I promise. BUT. I do have a few "listy" type posts that I need to get out there, if only for my own reasons. This stuff is all opinion anyway, and I'm always open to debate and suggestion!
So. When I was pregnant, I read a crankload of books, articles, posts, etc on pregnancy and labor. I could give advice on reading material for those things until the cows come home. But when I actually had a baby, I was totally lost. Enter panic mode. There were a couple of things that I expected, but Rosalind threw all my preconceived notions out the window (Flexibility? Ha! No pacifier? Ha!). I got lots of advice, but not much of it seemed to fit my baby's oft-difficult personality. So I decided to do more research for myself. And I have to say, these four books are my opinion of the founding of a good library on child-rearing. Obviously at this point, mostly for the baby years. I'm sure other parenting books will come in handy the older kids get.
1. On Soothing: "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp
I actually read this one before the baby was born, and good thing. There are invaluable tips in here that will help (if even a little) with the fussiest baby. Actually, I can't say that, because every baby is different. I have a friend who had a fussy baby who hated being swaddled and wouldn't take a pacifier. I know someone else who found that the only thing that would calm her baby was lying on his stomach-- nothing else. Fortunately, I'd say most of these tactics worked for me, at some point or another. At the very least, it's good to know them so you can try them, and if you don't know how to swaddle and want to know a little bit more about "The Fourth Trimester," then this book is worth reading. I'd take most of the rest of the book with a grain of salt though, or just skip it and watch the DVD.
2. On Growth Spurts: "The Wonder Weeks" by Hetty van de Rijt & Frans Plooij
Covering the first 20 months of life, this book maps out the times when your baby has "mental leaps" or mental growth spurts. I have found the information to be incredibly useful and reassuring, especially when there's extra screeching, crying, or impatience (on everybody's part). It also has some ideas for activities and such to help develop the skills your baby is working on during a particular leap. I definitely feel more understanding of Rosalind's unusual fussing if I can look at the book and be like, "Oh. She's still developing a sense of object permanence, that's why she doesn't like it when I leave the room." Or whatever. There's also an app, but I like the book better, because it's way more informative and it has unintentionally hilarious things like a detailed description of how to play "This Little Piggy."
3. On Sleep: "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth
I've heard this one recommended by almost everyone lately. And yet, somehow, I never got a hold of a copy until it was four months too late. Reading it earlier could have saved me a LOT of heartache and frustration. Rosalind was an extremely fussy newborn. People were always reassuring me that she was fine, but she really wasn't. She cried a lot more than I could handle, especially for the first three or four months. Everyone blamed it on this or that, but once I read the Sleep Habits book, almost everything I'd been thinking was justified! Not to mention her sleep and behavior have really evened out since we've been more stringent about naptime and bedtime. It contains so much important information on how a child's sleep develops, how it affects the brain (and vice versa), and what you can do to help your baby get the best sleep. My favorite part is that it's not one of those sleep-training books. He mentions a few different common methods (and I think he has a preference), but he never says any way is "better" than another. The point of the book is to help your baby get the sleep it needs so everyone is well rested. And it's the best. You really can't skip this one. Bonus: it talks about sleep up through the teenage years, so it's good for really everyone.
4. On Introducing Food: "Baby-Led Weaning" by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
Hold on, don't leave. Even if you aren't interested in introducing solid food the way the book recommends, it still has the most up-to-date information on the baby's developing gut, being wary of food allergies, most important nutrients, etc. There's even stuff on avoiding choking. While some of the "testimonials" were a little self-righteous and made me roll my eyes, I found this book very interesting and informative. We did decide to introduce solids this way, but I know people who have read the book and taken the information and still done it the traditional way.
I also want to recommend, if you have a smart phone, an app called "Knoala."
When some people hear me talking about this they say things like "Why in the world would you need that?" But if you're like me, interacting with infants and children is so far from a no-brainer that in certain circles, it is embarrassing. But if you ever need ideas on activities or interactives for kids, check out Knoala. It's fun.
Do you have any other recommendations? What kind of stuff should I read once Ros gets a little older?