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Books :: The First Year

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Like most subjects, I decided to tackle my first year of parenting through detailed research. I quickly learned that my research would be ongoing. Just as soon as I figured my babies out, they reached another milestone and changed again.

I also learned that The Experts do not agree. It seems there’s more than one way to take care of a baby. Eventually, I put the books down and enjoyed the moment. When something came up, I did find a good index quite helpful.


What to Expect the First Year

Unlike What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I didn’t read each page of What to Expect the First Year. Good gravy. I couldn’t sit around reading. I had a baby to take care of!

If I had a question about something, then I looked it up. “What to Expect the First Year” has an excellent index. In this way, I prefer the print version to an e-book.


On Becoming Baby Wise

So many friends whom I greatly respect recommended On Becoming Baby Wise. Before I had a baby, I thought this book made so much sense. Hubs and I gave Baby Wise a wholehearted first-time-parents try, but it just didn’t work. Bless Schäfer’s heart.

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After 4 months of Baby Wise failure, I gave osmosis a try. That didn’t work either!

I’ll also say that this style of parenting doesn’t really fit my personality. I don’t mind if the baby needs me and wants to nurse again. All three of my kids fell into a beautiful rhythm on their own that worked great with our family priorities.

By the way, the official title for this book is “On Becoming Baby Wise: The Classic Sleep Reference Guide Used by Over 1,000,000 Parents Worldwide.”

Let’s make that 998,000 parents worldwide since Hubs and I had to try something else.


The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two

On the bookshelf, I like to place “Baby Wise” next to The Baby Book by Dr. Sears so they can battle it out.

If “Baby Wise” is all about getting your baby on a firm feeding schedule and sleeping through the night, then “The Baby Book” is all about demand feeding, wearing your baby as much as possible, and co-sleeping.

Oh yes, that would be two parenting experts giving completely opposite advice. They sent some very confusing signals to this first time Mom.

It was at this point that I shut all the books (except for when I had a specific question) and started to follow my instincts.


Baby Sign Language Basics


Sign, Sing, and Play!: Fun Signing Activities for You and Your Baby

When Schäfer was a few months old, I knew I wanted to start baby sign language so I ordered two books. Everybody say, “First-time-Mommmy overkill!” One would have been more than enough. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend even ordering a book. There are lots of sign websites and youtube videos that you can watch to learn basic signs.

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Before we began baby sign language, Schäfer threw me this sign: Mommy… please pick me up!

I read about babies who knew 300+ signs. Schäfer probably knew about 15 and then he started speaking super early.

Sianna knew about 10 signs, but only signed when she wanted to. (She’s fun like that.)

Selah might have known 3 signs. (Third child syndrome.)


Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

To my surprise, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was my favorite baby book. (I was surprised because the title is so lame. Anybody else?) This book was written so concise and has a great index. When I read it, I felt like I was getting advice from a friend. This is the book that I recommend to all first time Mom’s.


Super Baby Food

I received Super Baby Food as a gift. I gave it my best effort, but I couldn’t even finish reading the book. Most of the extra healthy recipes contained ingredients that I could not get in China. (enter unnecessary Mommy Guilt)

I never made their “Super Porridge” (grains + legumes), but my kids seemed pretty healthy. I did feed each baby fresh fruits, vegetables, beans and meat all prepared by your truly. All three kids were right on target for growth and development. (So, go away Mommy Guilt!)


Slow and Steady Get Me Ready

For all of us non-education majors, Slow and Steady Get Me Ready is a wonderful resource. It gives 260 weekly developmental activities from birth to age five. In the back, it has specific developmental markers that you can watch for. I didn’t use every activity in here, but it was and still is a wonderful resource.


Carter’s Baby Book

My Mom sent a Carter’s Baby Book for Schäfer. Of course, I would rather scrapbook every memory, but who has the time?

Sometimes, I wrote immediately in the book. Other times, I wrote a blog post such as “Schäfer at 6 months” and later added it to the book.

I also have a memory book like this for Selah, but have not decided what to do for Sianna’s adoption. I have my eye on an adoption memory book, but I want to be able to return it if it doesn’t suit our needs.

Again, this style of book isn’t perfect, but I like the kids having some of their memories recorded in my handwriting.

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I’d say from this list, I’d recommend “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” and “Slow and Steady Get Me Ready”.
How about you? What was your go-to baby book?

4 comments to Books :: The First Year

  • Amy

    Love your recommendations! After having Macy, I also proved to be a Babywise drop-out. Didn’t think of osmosis though…hmmm. If only that would have worked, she may have started sleeping through the night at 2 months! I thought it was funny to have it shelved next to The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – co-sleeping versus cry yourself to sleep. Let’s just say when Selah was born, I didn’t even pick up Babywise. 🙂

    I have also loved having a baby book for both girls. I agree – it will be special to have certain stories recorded in your mom’s handwriting. I also like Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready and have used it to come up with activities on super hot afternoons or rainy days. Always a crowd pleaser.

  • Angela

    Have you read reviews for the new book called Spirit Led Parenting? It looks like something I wish I had read instead of several other books I chose before Rooke was born. I guess it’s not too late! =)

  • Erin

    I have to laugh about the conflicting advice from The Experts. It’s so true! Surprisingly enough, I’ve been very flexible heading into this new season of parenting (I always thought I’d be a BabyWiser and hit the ground running in the efforts to get us all on a schedule but then… a baby happened). I’ve found that I reach for Secrets of the Baby Whisperer every time, but like you, only reference it when I think I need help. Also, talking to friends (or reading their blogs!) has been an invaluable resource.

    I just saw Spirit Led Parenting on a blog I read and have been thinking about picking it up. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how it is!

    Loved this series. Definitely appreciate how you’ve broken all the info into bite sized pieces, and I feel like I’ve benefited from a lot of the info even though I don’t live on the East Side. Thanks for sharing!

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