Since starting Child(ish) Advice, our mission has been to share Occupational Therapy and child development resources with parents. While Mary covers the therapy side of our mission, I’m contributing for the parenting side.
Together, we’re starting a new monthly series called Child(ish) Reads. Each month, we will talk about popular parenting books, podcasts, and articles and give you the rundown on the ones we enjoyed and recommend.
Since this month has been pregnancy-focused, our first series post will be on the ever-popular subject of Pregnancy Books.
It’s almost a rite of passage. As soon as you get a positive test for your first pregnancy, one way or another, What to Expect When You’re Expecting magically find its way to you. Between my friends, I was given a short stack of books ranging from what to eat, how to exercise when you’re pregnant, how to nest, etc. But once we found out I was having twins, none of those books applied to me.
I searched for books on having multiples, of which there is a sad shortage. I wanted research. I wanted personal stories. I wanted nice paper and polished graphics (bit of a book snob here). Looking back, there are 5 standout pregnancy books that I whole-heartedly recommend, and I’m happy to get to share those with you all, our awesome readers.
- Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong–and What You Really Need to Know and Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting from Birth to Preschool
Both by Emily Oster
In the months leading up to birth, parents go back and forth with “What can I actually eat?”, “How long should I breastfeed?”, “Should I put my kid in daycare?”, “What is co-sleeping?”, etc.
While these are all legitimate questions that you and your partner should discuss well in advance, Oster provides ample evidence to help you make up your mind. She gives statistics on the risks of long-term effects, what parents do in other countries and cultures, and the academic and developmental outcomes of kids who do or don’t, depending on the topic.
Do these books tell you exactly how you should parent? No. But, it does give you facts to help you make decisions and takes off a lot of the pressure we feel as parents.
Standout lesson: The biggest lesson in Cribsheet is Be Adaptable. You may come to a decision and then change it later. Or maybe you have to change up your plans after a while to better suit your child(ren) and your family. Nothing is ever set in stone and that is perfectly okay. The more flexible and adaptable you are to life, the easier it will be to navigate the day-to-day.
Pamela Druckerman discusses the differences between French and American parenting anecdotally, making the book part memoir, part parenting. She talks about her American-born daughter adjusting to the move to France, as well as her twin pregnancy in France a few years later. If you want to cut out the personal stories, you can pick up Bringing Up Bébé: Day By Day, which synthesizes the book into 100 quick tips.
Manners play a big role in this book, along with child play/exploration, raising adventurous kids, healthy eaters, and ending separation anxiety. Sleeping through the night early on is also a big discussion point. French children are encouraged to spend time in nature, to enjoy childhood, and to discover things on their own instead of being taught or forced.
Up until this book was published, there had only been one real book on French parenting. Mostly because the French don’t feel the guilt or pressure to be amazing parents. They do what’s right for the balance of their families.
Standout Lesson: Build a “cadre”(French for framework). Set firm limits, but allow freedom within those limits. Create a safe environment where your child can learn and create their own thoughts and experiences. I would compare this to the American style of “Authoritative parenting”.
3. The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be
My husband obviously read this while I was pregnant. It was passed to him from Mary’s husband, and since has been passed on to another husband.
In The Expectant Father, co-author Armin Brott tells his story of fatherhood. So again, there are personal anecdotes and it’s not a straight-forward, here’s-what-to-do kind of book. Troy read this stage by stage. As a husband/partner/spouse, you may feel pretty useless during the 9 months of pregnancy, but it is important to be emotionally supportive and be a partner on this ride. The book also discusses the father’s mixed bag of emotions during each stage.
Brott has also written “The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year”, The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the Toddler Years”, “Fathering Your Toddler”, “Fathering Your School-Age Child”, “The Single Father”, and “The Military Father”, so dads can continue reading on past the pregnancy stage.
Honorable Mention: Moms on Call
I bought this book because it gave a proven newborn routine, and everyone says that the schedule makes the best night sleepers.
While I’ve read a ton of positive feedback on social media, this book is very much based on a singleton pregnancy and I didn’t quite fit my twin family. It is not discussed on their website, but my impression is the MOC routine is most likely geared for stay-at-home moms or families with additional help.
The Moms on Call series are 3 books that will take you from newborn through the toddler stage. Consistency will be key if you want to adapt this routine. There is also an MOC app to keep the daily schedule on your phone, videos, paid courses, and personal consultants if you want help establishing your custom routine.
These titles are all good to read during and after pregnancy. We hope you’ll find them helpful. If you have other titles that you think are standout, please let us know in the comments and we may be able to work them into future posts.