Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Best of the Best: Pregnancy, Birth, Babies Books & DVDs

I have the great privilage in Washington D.C. to run a small Birth & Babies library that houses about 400 books, videos and assorted material items (as well as some truly fabulous art pieces!) all on the topics of pregnancy, birth, babies and parenting. I am incredibly addicted to learning all I can on these topics, spent way too much loan money on graduate school degrees [read: nerd] and have read, watched, reviewed, and critiqued each of them.

So last year I figured I would pick 1 book each week that was the very best-of-the-bunch and encourage parents to check them out from their local library (or request your library get a copy!) or pick one up at a local bookstore or Amazon.com.

In case you are in the mood for some good reading - these are the BEST OF THE BEST in today's literature in the 2 genres of: Pregnancy/Birth and Babies/Parenting. They are listed in no particular order because it is hard enough to narrow the list down to the very best books...to rank order them would be excruciatingly impossible.

If I had Oprah's paycheck, these are the books I would buy for every library in the nation (along with a subscription to Mothering Magazine). I will continue to add to this list as I find new texts that fit the bill of "Best of the Best."

Should there exist a book that you believe deserves a spot on this list, please let me know and I will review it.

Each book will link you with the listing on Amazon so that you can explore it further and purchase if you wish.

It is my intention to eventually capture a small photo and detail of each book...but as of late my 'free time' has grown short as I am currently on a lecture tour and playing Mom all the while...so here is the not-so-eloquent beginning of the list.

BEST BABY/PARENTING BOOKS

Book of the Week #1

The Attachment Parenting Book - Dr. William Sears
The book all parents-to-be can start with to ensure they have a HAPPY, healthy little one when s/he arrives... It will save parents so many tears and fears to read (and use!) this book.

Book of the Week #2

Baby Matters: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring For Your Baby - Linda Palmer
A book that should be read by every parent-to-be. Simply Excellent and jam packed with information.
UDPATE: The latest version of Baby Matters is published under the title, The Baby Bond.

Book of the Week #3

The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family - Dr. William Sears

Book of the Week #4

Natural Family Living - Peggy O'Mara

Book of the Week #5

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers
This is my favorite of all the breastfeeding help books - not to be confused with "Baby Matters" which is the best breastfeeding WHY book -- i.e. that one has all the decades of research...this one is more of a problem-solver and prevention book


Book of the Week #6

The Attachment Connection: Parenting a Secure & Confident Child Using the Science of Attachment Theory

Book of the Week #7

The Vaccine Book - Dr. Robert Sears
This book is certainly not the entire collective on all the vax research out there, but it is a good 1st place for parents to start researching the topic before making a decision for their little ones. Dr. Sears, the most well-known U.S. pediatrician, is pro-some-vax, but he is also pro-ALTERNATIVE-schedules 4 vaccinations.


Book of the Week #8

Take Charge of Your Child's Health - Dr. George Wootan

One of our midwives said this is the one book she never gets back when she lends it out to people. It is a GREAT resource that every parent should have a copy of. I especially love the chapter on breastfeeding and nutrition for babies/kids.


Book of the Week #9

The Baby Sleep Book - Dr. Sears
I wish I would have read this book BEFORE our first baby was born...Instead I learned a lot of what is inside through 11 months of trial and error...but it is a great resource. What new parent doesn't need a little info on this topic?


Book of the Week #10

The No-Cry Sleep Solution - Elizabeth Pantley & Dr. Sears
This is another book I REALLY should have read BEFORE giving birth to my first baby...It would have saved us a lot of trial-and-error learning, as well as many sleepy days and nights. It is a wonderful SLEEP resource that all parents should check out before they start having babies.


Book of the Week #11

The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost
OH, How I LOVE this book... It is simply the best. Not so much a how-to book, but a WHY-we-do-it-this-way book... Encouragement for the gentle-parenting mom or dad, an eye-opener to those who may have had it a little rough in their own baby-years... And vital, impacting, insight into baby-care possibilities & consequences in the 21st century. Must read.


Book of the Week #12

We Are All Water Babies - Dr. Michel Odent & Jessica Johnson
"WE ARE ALL WATER BABIES" is simply BEAUTIFUL. It is packed with great info on how water/swimming relates to our entire life cycle (written by none other than the birth/babies' own close friend, Michel Odent). However, another real treasure is in the stunning photography.

Book of the Week #13

Boost Your Child's Immune System: A Program & Recipes for Raising Strong, Healthy Kids

I love this book for its smart, proactive approach on the feeding of babies and children of all ages. Should be on the bookshelf of all parental 'cooks'. So far the wisdom contained within has proved itself effective in our case - while we have not 'overly protected' our son, or kept him bubbled by any means, he also has not been ill a day in his life.

Book of the Week #14

The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart


Book of the Week #15

Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding


Book of the Week #16

The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breast are Bad For Business (3rd Ed)



Book of the Week #17

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision - Dr. Fleiss & Dr. Hodges


Book of the Week #18

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder


Book of the Week #19

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys


Book of the Week #20

Baby Greens: A Live Food Approach for Children of All Ages


Book of the Week #21

Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child



Book of the Week #22

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
(This book falls under both categories - but it is good enough to list in both places! Fabulous.)


Book of the Week #23

Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers


Book of the Week #24

The Science of Parenting


Book of the Week #25

Why Love Matters





BEST PREGNANCY/BIRTH BOOKS


Book of the Week #1

Birthing From Within - Pam England

The very first mother/baby-friendly book I read many years ago. The first book that, while reading, I realized, "I WANT to give birth someday..." Up to that time it had solely been something I studied...medicalized...not something I really wanted to DO myself!


Book of the Week #2

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth

This was one of the first birth books I read long ago when I was starting my journey. In the midst of all the graduate school journal articles and medical research, this book was a treasure to pour through.


Book of the Week #3

Gentle Birth Choices - Pam England
Book also includes a DVD w/ gentle births shown in a variety of settings & additional information. Also has the best chapter on the circumcision and prepuce organ information that I have read in a birth-centered book.



Book of the Week #4

Having a Baby, Naturally - Peggy O'Mara
This book is also an excellent pregnancy guide book even for mothers who are not sure they want a 'natural' birth
.


Book of the Week #5

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin
Is there anyone left who hasn't read this book?! ;)



Book of the Week #6

Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth & Modern Maternity Care

Simply a phenomenal read. I know many, many birth advocates, attendees, and mothers themselves who have said they couldn't put this book down - they read it, and read it again. Exceptional piece of literature packed with statistics and truth.


Book of the Week #7

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to put Women & Children First
Dr. Marsden Wagner was the World Health Organization director of Women's & Children's Health for several decades, as well as an OB. His book is an extensive collective of the facts & stats of birth in the US & places where birth has much LESS illness/death for both mothers & babies. The US has the worst morbidity/mortality rate among all industrialized nations & Wagner shows why.



Book of the Week #8

Journey into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth
I l-o-v-e this book!! Not only inspirational, but empowering! Each woman tells her own birth story, in her own words, as only she can tell it. These are the way birth stories are meant to be told! The joy. The power. The reality. The life. The hope & trust & belief. The ecstasy, thrill & pleasure. Read it, and you will want to add YOUR next birth story to the collection.



Book of the Week #9

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
I simply adore this book!! Could be read over and over again and learn something new each time. Dr. Buckley knows the literature inside and out, and has put peaceful parenting into practice with her own 4 births and babies.


Book of the Week #10

The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth - Sheila Kitzinger



Book of the Week #11

Birth and Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the Needs of Women During Pregnancy and Childbirth - Dr. Michel Odent
Dr. Michel Odent is simply a god in the world of obstetrics and motherbaby-friendly birth. Every word he writes is deserving of being read, and re-read. So we may as well start with this one. A perfect gem.


Book of the Week #12

Your Best Birth

There are a few minor parts I do not like (for ex: having a c-section or induction by drugs w/out medical NEED has enough negative consequences on baby that it should NOT be an option). It isn't a book that birth junkies are going to learn a lot of new info from-but it is well written & an excellent choice for those new to preg/birth choices/options/accurate information.


Book of the Week #13

Heart & Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy & Birth

This one is a little more 'technical' but it is one of the "Top 30" because it is jam packed with useful information, empowering details, and empirical studies/research to back up every point made. It is especially useful for those wishing to know the ins-and-outs of their upcoming birthing day, and be a powerful agent of their pregnancy & birth.


Book of the Week #14

Spiritual Midwifery - Ina May Gaskin


Book of the Week #15

Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally


Book of the Week #16

Water Birth: A Midwife's Perspective



Book of the Week #17

HypnoBirthing

(I believe that HypnoBirth or HypnoBabies or a similar course would be best done with a trained professional and being involved in sessions. HypnoBabies also offers a home study course on their site that is very useful)


Book of the Week #18

Choosing Waterbirth: Reclaiming the Sacred Power of Birth


Book of the Week #19

Childbirth Without Fear



Book of the Week #20

Immaculate Deception: Myth, Magic & Birth



Book of the Week #21

Unassisted Childbirth


Book of the Week #22

Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love


Book of the Week #23

Husband Coached Childbirth
I have to admit, I am not a fan of the name of this book. But it has helped many a father-to-be with the birth process and to understand his positive roll in everything.


Book of the Week #24

The Power of Pleasurable Childbirth
This is not a how-to book, and those who are opposed to free-birth (birthing unassisted) may not like it. However, it is one woman's testimony of how natural, normal, and pleasurable birth can be when left to unfold as it was designed.

Book of the Week #25

Silent Knife




BEST PREGNANCY/BIRTH DVDS:

The Business of Being Born


Pregnant in America

Birth As We Know It


Orgasmic Birth


Birth Day

Birth Without Violence - this is a 'classic' film - in black and white, with little sound. Leboyer was the first to film 'gentle' birth vs. the more common birth filled with anxiety, unnecessary intervention and often violence.

Born in the U.S.A.




*For another childbirth educator/doula/mother's pregnancy/birth book ideas see this blog entry: What Not to Read [When Pregnant]

*For breastfeeding books and resources, see this page

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for publishing this list! I was surprised to find out I had only read 5 of your top pregnancy/birth books. And I haven't read ANY of the parenting books. I'm so excited to have a list of books to someday add to my collection! BTW, I am a faithful reader and enjoy your blog VERY MUCH.

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  2. How about The Water Birth Book: Everything you need to know from the World's renowned natural childbirth pioneer ? My doula recommended it and it's difficult to find, the Los Angeles Public Library doesn't even own a copy. I did see it on Amazon, it's by Janet Balaskas. I have all seen it on my childbirth educators' recommended reading lists. I am working on getting my hands on it.

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  3. Don't forget readers that some of these books can be found through interlibrary loan. This helps those on a budget have access to these books for free! Your local librarian will help you through the interlibrary loan process.

    PS. The other day I received a video from Alaska through ILL - and I live in Texas! Interlibrary loan through your local library is a wonderful resource!
    Also, if you want to see if any of these books are close to you, go to www.worldcat.org and type in the name of the book. It will list all the libraries that have the book.

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