Happy Friday, all (better yet-the Friday of a holiday weekend!)! Woohoo to a post two weeks in a row! Since this post was only crafted over a week instead of months like the previous one, it will be a little shorter, but quick and to the point.

Five Favorite Baby Books

I wanted to share my five favorite baby books, or really, just my favorite baby books (there happen to be five, which is a nice number for a list). So, without further ado, these are my five favorite and most recommended baby books:

  1. Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman

Us Americans are obsessed with the French. They seem to do everything so much better than us, don’t they? Their food, their clothes, their art… There are so many books about “The French Way of XYZ,” but I have to say that I was on board with most of what Druckerman reported about the way Parisians raise their children (and am seriously jealous of free, quality daycare, complete with food included!).

The new version of the book also includes Druckerman’s second book, “Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting,” so you can purchase two books for the price of one! In Bébé Day by Day, Druckerman takes all of the little nuggets from Bringing up Bébé and puts them in a quick and easy reference list of sorts.

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

This was the second baby book that I read. I pulled it out when my daughter was only a few days old after the doula who did my placenta encapsulation had suggested doing the 5 S’s with our daughter to help comfort her. I would read it when I was stuck under a baby nursing or with her sleeping on me. Karp’s theory on the aptly named “fourth trimester” made complete sense to me and helped me feel better about the tough newborn period.

I had completely forgotten at the time (blame sleep deprivation?), but we had rented the video while I was still pregnant, but obviously hadn’t thought to give it a try. Did it work? Sometimes. I think that’s partially because it ended up that our daughter was crying due to not getting enough to eat and from silent reflux, and also because she didn’t like the swing that we were using at the time.

3. Baby Care Basics

My husband picked out this book for us to be a reference for all of those mysterious baby things that we didn’t have any experience with. What I loved most about it were the pictures to help us out with the, “is this normal?” questions that would come up in those first few weeks. It was nice to have, for example, a picture of baby acne to reference to know she wasn’t breaking out in a rash. One caveat with this book is that it is written by doctors working in Canada, so while it follows United States and American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) advice pretty closely, be sure to check with your doctor or nurse for any conflicting advice.

Though the book includes information for the first year, we found ourselves only using it for the first few months. Because, you know, we were experts by then, right? 😉

4. Baby Day by Day

Not to be confused with Druckerman’s Bébé Day by Day, this is a daily update on what’s going on with your baby. While there is information on pregnancy and baby care in the front of the book and references about illness in the back, I enjoyed reading the “meat” of the book, which was a nice little snippet of what was going on with my daughter as she grew. It gave me something to focus on and appreciate when I was sleep deprived, home alone, and trying to soothe a crying baby. It wasn’t as convenient to read while she was in my arms as it’s a rather large book, but it lived on our coffee table for the first twelve months.

I figured out that this book is either written by someone from the UK or Canada as it referenced going back to work at 6 months postpartum and something about an “add-on formula.” So, again, there may be some slightly different advice than from the AAP (or the giant difference of most of us American moms returning to work at 12 weeks postpartum), but I enjoyed using this book to follow my daughter’s development through the first year. Below is an example of what a daily entry looks like.

Baby Day by Day book

5. Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting by Janet Lansbury

This book, by far, has been my absolute favorite book. I had never expected to be taken in by Janet’s approach to parenting, but it seemed second nature to us. For those unfamiliar with Janet, she is a proponent and teacher of the RIE method of parenting. RIE stands for “Resources for Infant Educarers,” a title that make me cringe, and is pronounced “wry.” You could call it whatever and I would still love it.

In a nutshell, RIE is about seeing a baby as a person from the very beginning and treating them with the respect that you would afford any other person. My husband and I did this instinctively from the moment our daughter was born. It just came naturally and this is what worked for us. What do I mean when I say treating a baby like a person? An example that comes to mind is not using baby talk. “Hew wow widdle girl. How are youuuuu? Wook at the cute doggie! Look, look!” is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Instead, my husband or I would tend to say “Hello, (insert child’s name here). How are you doing today (pause)? Oh, I see that you’re looking at that dog over there (pause). I like watching dogs, too.” See the difference?

This isn’t an attack on how other people choose to parent; this is just what works for us and what seems to come naturally. I found a lot of similarities between RIE and Bringing up Bébé, so we knew that we were onto something. Janet has proved to be an invaluable resource when we’ve come across a new behavior that we don’t know how to approach, such as throwing food (Normal? Ignore it? Acknowledge it?). We would take the suggestions and make them work for us.

Just like many philosophies out there, I don’t buy into it 100%. An example of one big RIE thing I don’t do, and actually can’t even stand to listen explained, is “sports casting,” which is a neutral way for a parent to describe what’s going on in a conflict between two children. I find it annoying to hear someone do it and think that as a child, I would find it incredibly irritating to hear someone narrating what’s going on (no offense, Janet!). I prefer to observe and step in if need be, either giving my daughter some tools to figure it out for herself or exerting more of myself in the situation should it be necessary.

Finally, I’d like to tell you about a book that I don’t believe you need: The Wonder Weeks. I had bought this book when my daughter was a few weeks old after someone telling me about all of the very quick developmental milestones that happen in the first few months and how that could help explain when a baby is being extra fussy. Anything to help me to understand the constant crying!

I had also downloaded the app and throughout the course of the first year, I found the app more than sufficient to help me out. The book became very repetitive and each section was incredibly long so that by the time I was done reading that week, she was already onto the next one.  There were quotes from parents (actually, only moms) in each chapter that didn’t seem to add much value, so I would end up skipping whole pages at a time.

Those are my five favorite baby books in a nutshell. I’d be happy to tell you more if you have any questions. What are your favorite baby books? Anything that you were surprised by?