As promised awhile ago, here is my review of parenting and pregnancy books I’ve read so far:
“Pregnancy: The Ultimate Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide”by Dr. Laura Riley – As she takes you into your pregnancy week-by-week, she has a clear format with interesting and applicable facts for each week. I actually haven’t read any other pregnancy book in detail besides this one. I’ve enjoyed being able to read each week’s information about baby’s growth, my body’s changes, emotional changes, with questions & answers. She includes helpful info for husbands throughout the book as well.
I did browse a friend’s copy of “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” which looked pretty hilarious – a nice balance to the intensity of some of the “what to expect” books on the market.
INFANT SLEEP/FEEDING BOOKS
With twins, we know that we’ll be diving into the deep end of trying to figure out how to care for TWO infants from day one and so I spent most of my self-educational reading in this category.
“Dr. Turtle’s Babies” by Dr. William John Turtle is an “oldie, but goodie.” My grandmother gave this book to my mom to read when she was pregnant with me – and then she gave it to my brother & sister-in-law, who then passed it along to us. One day when I was reading it while waiting for my OB, she told me that she also read it when she was pregnant. If you can get past the fact that he calls mothers “girls” and refers to the baby as “it,” there is some good basic info about infant care, sleeping, and feeding that still holds true. With a few caveats – review it with your doctor! My doctor said, for instance, to disregard what he said about feeding babies sugar water in between feedings.
“On Becoming Baby-Wise: Giving your Infant the Gift of Night-time Sleep” by Ezzo/Buckman is one that I was admittedly wary of beginning because I had heard it was rather harsh. I was pleasantly surprised. I especially liked that he began by saying that what’s crucial to your baby’s well-being is your healthy marriage – that even babies can pick up on the affection and love between their parents and this is what makes them feel secure. He goes on from there to talk about how to put your baby on a schedule that works for your family. With twins, we really have no other option than to schedule them – and that suits our “type-A” personalities anyway!
“Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth also talks about the importance of sleep and setting a routine for your baby. I found it helpful the way he discussed how to look for signs of sleepiness and seek to put your child to sleep before she becomes overly tired. Another motto that sums up his philosophy is “sleep begets more sleep” as he discussed the importance of day-time napping for a baby to be able to go to sleep at night. It generally makes sense, and I especially love that he has an edition specifically for twins that came out last year – this was perfect for us.
Ok – if you’re like me, you probably had no idea that there were so many books on twins out there. All of these were extremely helpful, and I’ll try to categorize these as “best for …” in order to differentiate between them.
Best for twin pregnancy, labor & delivery (includes sections on bed rest, a recipe collection at the back of the book, specific weight gain goals, what to expect if your babies spend time in the NICU):“When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads” by Dr. Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein
Best for practical tips and advice for pregnancy through year one of twins “Twinspiration: Real Life Advice from Pregnancy Through the First Year” by Cheryl Lage – by a mother of twins with lots of humor thrown in to make you laugh as you think about how in the world you’ll make it through … !
Best for practical tips and advice from newborn to toddler phase of twins by a mother of twins who is also quite humorous. My mother-in-law read this book and she said she found it very helpful – that it covers everything and gives specific ideas. “Juggling Twins” by Meghan Regan-Loomis
Best balance of medical advice and practical wisdom for the first 5 years of twins by a mother who’s also a pediatrician. She is straight-forward with helpful advice and not a lot of “fluff,” but her style is readable and practical – like she goes into specifics about how to actually transport twins from your house to the car when they’re still infants. “Raising Twins: From Pregnancy to Preschool” by Dr. Shelly Vaziri Flais
Best for very specific sleeping schedule and feeding advice for the first year of twins with some British English “translation” required – such as deciphering that “dummy” refers to pacifier/etc. It’s a combination book, written primarily by a British nanny who’s an expert on child-rearing with introductions to each chapter by a twin mom: “A Contented House With Twins” by Gina Ford and Alice Beer
Not worth buying or reading: There’s just one in this category that I just didn’t find very helpful – “Twins! Pregnancy, Birth, and the First Year of Life” by Agnew, Klein, and Ganon
“A Mother’s Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother” by Jean Fleming reminded me of the beautiful and high calling that it is to be a mom. I loved her mix of practical and pastoral teaching on being a mother. She is balanced, biblical, and grace-infused in her approach. I found it very easy to read, and I think it will be a book to return to in years to come. She gives specific ideas and focuses of how to pray for your children, including praying for creativity in connecting with them.
“Parenting by the Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child” by John Rosemond offers some practical wisdom and exposes our culture’s current tendency toward “child-centered” parenting and homes. He gives a good initial corrective to this, but I did not find that he talked enough (or at all) about grace and reaching a child’s heart instead of merely producing good behavior. I did like the section where he discusses seasons of parenting, and this is a good starting point, but for a book claiming to be founded on Biblical wisdom, I didn’t find his approach very Christ-centered.
“Don’t Make Me Count to Three: A Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline” by Ginger Plowman is a book I read during a “Counseling Children” course at Westminster/CCEF. I am sure that I will return to this book as my girls approach their toddler years for her gospel-centered approach in how to highlight the heart of the matter in your child’s misbehavior. She takes the approach and philosophy of Tedd Tripp’s book, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” and makes it very practical.
“How Children Raise Parents: The Art of Listening to Your Family” by Dan Allender is the one I am currently reading. I have enjoyed it immensely, as he turns the focus to what purpose children serve in a parent’s life — that having children is part of God’s journey and story for me as a parent and it will be a large way that God sanctifies me in the midst of the parenting process. His central idea is that we as parents are to reflect God’s mercy and strength to our children by answering the two questions they are asking: “Am I loved?” [YES!!!!] and “Can I get my own way?” [No]
Here’s a quote as he talks about our dreams for our children – and a fitting end to this blog post:
It is our privilege to dream far bigger dreams than that good things happen and bad things don’t happen to our children. We are to dream and pray and desire and speak to the possibilities that pain and tragedy and pleasure and glory will weave our children into beings who hunger to touch the face of God. … To dream for our children is to lean into the quiet cries of the Holy Spirit that call out the true, God-given name of our child.