The books you’ll eventually toss right out the window.

by heirtoblair on June 4, 2012

I peed on a stick one weekday morning & BAM! my world changed forever. Two pink lines & a swift kiss from my husband & I dressed for work. Somewhere around 10 am, sitting at my desk & thinking of the tiny life inside me, I realized that I knew nothing about babies. Nothing about pregnancy. I quickly searched the message boards I frequented for ideas on books & blogs & reading materials that might help me prepare for this little life.(Oh, so naive! To think I could “prepare” for motherhood & all its messy joy!)

 What to Expect when You’re Expecting
Some folks hate this book because it can be all YOUR BABY HAS A ZILLIONTH OF A CHANCE OF BEING BORN WITH A DONKEY’S HEAD & it can be rather terrifying. It’s also kind of a “cover your ass” book full of all the do-nots, which are mostly taken care of through common sense & personal choice. But this book does do a wonderful job of breaking down pregnancy symptoms & explaining what is happening each week with the growth of the baby. I also loved reading each week’s “milestones” out loud at night so Doug & I could marvel together that our second-trimester baby was already sucking his thumb. Baby Bargains
This was the book I pored over before registering, as it gives a grade to products from all major brands after reviewing them for safety, recalls, & customer recommendations. Reading it made me obsessive with choosing top-of-the-line & the best-of everything. That was probably my biggest mistake in hindsight. I should have just carried around the infant seats & decided which one fit best rather than which got the highest rating in a book. I really didn’t need a Pack ‘n Play that had vibrations & music. I found that fluffy blankets were much better suited for me & my baby, rather than muslin swaddlers, despite their A grade.

The Happiest Baby on the Block
Dr. Karp, my baby laughs at your suggestions. And I nearly lost my voice & sanity trying to “shhhh” properly at 4am. Maybe this method works magic for some babies, but remember that Karp isn’t the be-all, end-all of baby whisperers, no matter what your Mom’s Morning Out group says.

The Vaccine Book
Some friends sniffed at me & muttered “hippie” under their breath when I picked this up, but I highly recommend reading this, even if you don’t choose an alternative vaccine schedule. It’s just good information to help you be the best patient advocate for your baby.

 Baby-Proofing Your Marriage
GET THIS BOOK. It explains a mother’s emotions so much better than I could at the time (because I was being all hormonal & emotional). It discusses ways to end the score-keeping of parenthood, to share duties, to share expectations. There were so many times I read a paragraph out loud to Doug as a way to help him understand where I was coming from, & then he’d do the same for me. This book effectively bridged our communication as new parents when we were too exhausted to think straight.

So there are my recommendations for pregnancy & newborn books. Were there any you lived & swore by?

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny June 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

My favorite book while I was pregnant was “Pregnancy Week by Week”. It was a little less terrifying than What to Expect and it was nice to have a new chapter to read each week instead of each month :)


Amy June 4, 2012 at 11:04 am

I’m a Dr. Karp disciple. It worked for my kid. I love the 5 S’s. Charlotte loved being swaddled. I read it when I was pregnant. I know there are Baby Wise disciples who swear by a schedule and think my brain is swaddled. All I know is I slept great thanks to the swaddle.


Katie June 4, 2012 at 11:14 am

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy is the absolute best. Funny as Hell.


crystal June 4, 2012 at 11:31 am

I actually liked pregnancy for dummies! The pictures and wording about how the birth would go didn’t seem a scary in this book and eased my mind on the labor and delivery process. God only knows what book my husband was reading because when it came time for labor if he would have went by the book he would have delivered the baby before we made it to the hospital!


Domesticated Gal June 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I loved this one too! It gave me just enough info to know what was going on, but saved all the scary-your-baby-will-have-two-heads-and-one-leg syndrome stuff for the back where I could ignore it and not have a panic attack.


liz June 4, 2012 at 11:35 am

I’ll need to check out Baby Proofing Your Marriage! Sounds like a winner. I have loved The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy – lots of good information and explanations but without the scary factor that What to Expect sometimes has!


Rachel June 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I liked “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” while pregnant. After my son was born I lived by “Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child.” Best baby book ever. I’m an engineer and very analytical and this was the closest thing to a set of rules that I could find!


Carol June 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm

My “bible” throughout infancy was “Healthy Sleep Habits Healthy Child.” This book gave me my sanity back and taught my little how to sleep through the night. I also loved “12 hours by 12 weeks” with my 2nd child. I didn’t have nearly the sleep difficulties with her because we starting ‘training” early using that book.


astrid June 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I second The Vaccine Book…we did all the shots but used the recommended schedule in the book to spread them out-plus, the information on each disease and why there are vaccinations for them was really insightful and helped me be more informed. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way is also really great, especially if you are planning for a natural childbirth. It’s old (1980s I think), but the relaxation techniques and tips for the coach/husband are really helpful.


The Many Thoughts of a Reader June 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I got the Mayo Pregnancy Book and it did it’s job. I loved The Happiest Baby on the Block and I’ve read a couple breastfeedng books. But I much prefer the Internet and googling. When I needed HELP NOWWWWWWW, that was much more effective!


Jocelyn | ScooterMarie June 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I got the Pregnancy Day By Day book and loved it. I didn’t necessarily read each page on each specified day, because that’s a lot of reading and I get distracted easily, but I did enjoy being able to see what was happening every day if I so chose. It has good sections on symptoms, illnesses, what to do if…, labor, etc., and it also goes about 6 weeks postpartum for a hint as to what life will be like with a newborn in the mix. And I agree with Katie above – the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy was hilarious! Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs was also a hilarious, quick read on her perspective.


Kelly June 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I must agree with Carol & Rachel that ‘Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child’ by Dr. Weissbluth was & still is my go-to book. Seriously one of the best I have read – I suggest reading it while pregnant (and not sleep deprived yet) and then referring back to it after the baby comes.

Karp worked for us too, but I can see how it may not be for everyone. Also, once they are a bit older, we found that ’1-2-3 Magic’ was a good book regarding discipline. Again, maybe not for everyone but worked for us!


olive June 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

The first few books I ordered were utterly depressing. I actually literally threw them in the dumpster. (including What to Expect…) From there I decided to try and find blogs or SOMETHING on the internet that was more “me”. I happened upon some fab blogs that were just right at the time. 818 was one of them along with a couple others that fizzled and eventually Heir to Blair. Lifesavers! I didn’t care about the common sense stuff. I feel like that is overdone in baby books, still now as I’m reading potty training books. :) I didn’t have friends at the time who were pregnant, and I come from the south where everything is proper and private, so no real info there. I found exactly what I needed in these internet sites. I became addicted to the labor and delivery show on TLC that I watched during lunch hour. Mixed feelings about that one as an actual suggestion for real planning, but it does get down and dirty for those that are clueless. I still like Babycenter and their weekly updates. I found great info about vaccines, growth, etc there. Personal opinion is that the message boards are kinda ignorant, but the site is good overall. Dr Karp was awesome for my husband. Somehow it worked like a charm for him, but I could never get the technique just right. The one book that I would highly recommend, although it is somewhat controversial maybe, is Babywise. Take some of it with a grain of salt, but it really helped me with nap schedules. Make it your own and not a bible.
Great post!


Adrienne June 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm

The alternative I found to What to Expect was- Great Expectations- much less scary. For me- in terms of sleep, etc- I found No Cry Sleep Solution to be great! I also LOVE the Vaccine book- so helpful to educate yourself.


Katie June 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I also love The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears (yeah the Time Magazine Dr. Sears.) It’s totally comprehensive, covers pregnancy-toddlerdom. Breast feeding, development, medical issues, etc. it’s been an invaluable resource… And don’t fear the “attachment parenting” part if that’s not your bag. He takes a very measured and rational stance on that. Plus the medical information, what to expect in each phase of growth, medicine dispensing charts, growth charts, information on childhood diseases and vaccines, it’s got it all.


LeighAnn June 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Dr. Ferber. Wish that I had known more about children and their sleep patterns earlier. Would have saved me some of my sanity. Now I understand why all the things we were doing to try to get her to sleep were only making it worse. I still read it because it has everything from getting your child to sleep through the night to night terrors and sleep walking. Lots of great info. I actually lost the book and bought it again on my kindle when our daughter started having night terrors.


Abigail June 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I actually hadn’t heard of a couple of these. Thanks for the suggestions. I’m the kind who likes to read ALL THE THINGS and then make an informed decision.


Domesticated Gal June 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Happiest Baby on the Block saved my sanity the first four months. It didn’t always work…but at least his explanations allowed me to know it wasn’t my fault.

And now? Parenting with Love & Logic. It saves everyone’s sanity. At least when I remember to use it.


Sarah June 5, 2012 at 12:06 am

Baby 411 & Toddler 411 were our go to reads, especially in the middle of the night! :) I’d also recommend Babyproofing Your Marriage.


Shannon June 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

I bought Baby Proofing your Marriage when our little guy was first born ( he’s now 9 months old). It has been sitting on our book shelf collecting dust, but maybe I need to pull it out at finally read it. I loved Dr. Karps book, but realized that some of his methods worked wonders, while others didn’t do anything for us. Even to this day white noise instantly calms my son.


Brook Z June 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Mother Shock was great. But don’t read it until after the baby is born. ;)


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