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.
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!!
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.
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.
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!