Two MUST HAVE Books For Anyone With a Baby!

Since I just had a baby, my next several posts will probably be all about baby stuff!

Today I’m going to recommend two books that I think EVERY parent with a baby should own.

Two must have books for parents of babies

I have 5 kids, I have read an insane number of parenting books addressing every age and issue imaginable. There are many wonderful resources out there as well as some highly questionable advice. I have found that too much advice just leaves a weary parent more overwhelmed, so I’m pretty particular about the resources I recommend. Rest assured, I do not take lightly saying that these resources should be owned by anyone who has a baby!!

I didn’t discover either of these books until baby number 3 but they have been such a huge help. I wish I’d had them from the start!!

The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program

Most of my kids do not like to sleep. Like many parents, sleep has been a huge issue in our house. I have probably tried nearly every “sleep-training” (or anti-sleep-training) method out there. None of them worked. One thing I hated about most books on getting baby to sleep was the instructions that said “you must do everything this book says exactly the way it says for it to work” or the “this always works as long as you do it correctly.” Neither are true. Babies are not one-size-fits-all and nothing will work on all of them.

This book is not like that. In fact, this book doesn’t tell you what to do at all. The author shares with you information on the mechanics of sleep and wake cycles that are consistent across all people and how to use that information to your advantage. She doesn’t tell you how to put baby to sleep, she doesn’t tell you where to put baby to sleep, she doesn’t tell you to let baby cry or not let baby cry. She simply helps you understand the sleep and wake rhythms, how they progress as baby grows, and how to work with those rhythms for your best chance at healthy sleep.

So far, I’ve used these concepts with two children. As long as I’m diligent and pay attention to getting them to sleep in their natural timing it works great! I’m not telling you they slept through the night at 2 months old (they didn’t) but it helped us tremendously in getting nap routines, which helped with bedtime routines, which in the long run helped us all get more sleep.

NOTE: When I went to Amazon to link to this book I found that the version I have (linked and pictured above) is no longer in print and that there is a new version with a new name. I have NOT read the new version so I’m not sure how similar it is to the edition that I have but it is by the same author so I would think it is close. The current edition is called The Natural Sleep Solution. 

The Wonder Weeks

This is another book that does not tell you HOW to parent but simply tells you WHAT to expect and gives some tips on how to make the most of that knowledge. The authors have found that children go through very predictable times where they are more cheerful or more fussy during the first two years of life. They provide you with a chart that helps you figure out when these fussy and cheerful times will happen. The fussy times coincide with what they refer to as a developmental leap. The leap is the time a child gains the ability to learn a new skill such as sitting up, walking, etc but also mental skills such as sorting and classifying. The book contains a section on each leap a child goes through, what they are experiencing, why they are grumpy, and what you can do to help and encourage the development of the new skills.

There are also Wonder Weeks apps for Android, Apple, Amazon, and Windows devices. The app tells you when a leap is happening and gives a little overview of each particular leap. It even has an alarm that will bing at you when a leap is about to happen. I use and recommend this tool but I still recommend reading the book for a more complete understanding of what is going on with your child and how to best help him/her. The website is another great tool with tons of information, but again, the book is your most complete resource!

As with the sleep book, I did not discover this until my third child. It is so helpful as a parent to understand why your child is suddenly fussier than normal, how long to expect the fussy period to last, and what to do to help your child. It is also nice to be able to predict the fussy period (I’ve used the chart to plan family activities around cheerful times!!) and to have ideas for activities to help your child with their new abilities. I have found the leap timing to be extremely accurate for both children that I’ve had since finding this book as well as the children of many friends.

While it doesn’t give you a way to cure the fussiness, simply knowing that it is normal, why it is happening, and that it is a passing phase really sets a mom’s mind at ease and makes it easier to handle.

Two must have books for parents of babies

I can’t recommend these books enough. If you have a new baby under 2-years-old or are expecting you should really consider getting them or adding them to your registry. They also make great gifts!

Have you read either of these books? I would love to know what you think of them – comment below!!

My Journey to Crunchy

Not sure what “crunchy” means? Read this post first!

Let me tell you a bit about how I became the “crunchy” individual I am today;

I was not always crunchy. Macaroni and Cheese and Hamburger Helper were staples of our diet for the first several years of our marriage. And I’m not even going to get in to how many Dr Peppers I drank (possibly still drink) daily! I was not crunchy at all.

There were little seeds planted along the way….

Like when I got diagnosed with hypothyroid and wanted to avoid medication. But I did end up taking the medication.

Or when I heard about the dangers of cleaning products and switched to more natural options.

But it really started when my oldest was three and I was pregnant with my second. At this time there were a couple of different issues in my life that started me on the path of more natural living.

First, my then-three-year-old was exhibiting some odd behavioral issues. Some were very ADHD like and others were just strange. Second, I was pregnant. I didn’t really know how I wanted the birth to go but I knew I wanted it to be much, much different than my first birth.

When we started noticing difficult and odd behavior from my daughter we discussed getting her evaluated by a doctor but we really didn’t want to give her medication at such a young age. Since we were planning on homeschooling we didn’t really feel that it was necessary at that point. So I started researching alternative ways to “treat” ADHD. I stumbled across the Feingold diet. I was much too overwhelmed to do the complete diet but I noticed that artificial dyes and certain preservatives seemed to be a big NO-NO. So we cut them and noticed almost immediate change. (I say immediate because it felt like it but in reality it took about two weeks to really notice and even then it had been gradual and we could only really tell when we tried adding it back in). This made me a believer in diet having a profound effect on behavior and brain function.

As I was exploring birth options someone mentioned the local birth center. I wasn’t sure about this. Did I really want to give birth outside of the hospital? Was it even safe? Could I do it without an epidural? Am I OK with not even having that as an option? It seemed scary but I wanted different, so I called them. Unfortunately they were full for my due date, but they put me on their waiting list. I started researching birth options and trying to figure out what I wanted. At an appointment with my original OB I asked her two questions; 1. What is the earliest I can leave the hospital after having the baby and 2. What options do I have other than an epidural that will allow me to walk and move around? Her response to these was to roll her eyes and sigh. Yes really. She told me I could leave after 24 hours if I wanted but that the pediatrician probably wouldn’t “let” me take the baby until 48 hours and maybe more if it was a weekend. She also told me I could have a “walking epidural” and then added “but it will still hurt if you do that!” I left her office in tears. The next day the birth center called and told me a spot opened up for me!

This is only the beginning of my story. Becoming a patient at the birth center was the beginning of an education in which I was introduced to new ideas about not only birth but other aspects of life. I learned to question the things that went on and into my body and to make choices to be as healthy as possible. I learned to look into the effects on both myself or my family members and the environment of the things I used. Everyone is different and the choices that are right for you and your family may be different than the choices that are right for mine but we should all be fully aware consumers. The birth center empowered me to question everything and make choices that are not always popular.