Parenting books that don’t suck

After Stella was born (and let’s be honest, before) I bought and read A LOT of parenting books. I mean, like a lot of books. This time I pared down the list significantly. Why? Because before I read a lot of parenting books that, frankly, suck. To save you guys time, I’ve made a list of my favorite parenting books… you know, the ones that don’t suck.

So, why did I pick these 10 books as my favorite parenting books? Because they’re actually useful, easy to read, and offer intuitive advice. It’s that last one that’s most important to me. The books I read that I hated gave advice that went against everything my intuition told me to do. I read books that told me to fed my baby on a schedule, to only let the baby sleep in a crib, to let the baby cry x-amount of minutes before picking them up, to introduce solids to make the baby sleep through the night, etc. None of those things felt right to me. The books on this list reinforced what I naturally felt I needed to do to care for my baby and gave me confidence that I really needed as a first time mom.



From top down:

1. Baby Led Weaning, Rapley and Murkett, $8.44 at Amazon.

If you’ve never heard of baby led weaning and have an infant, you have to read this book. Baby led weaning is the easiest and least stressful way to introduce solids. The idea is simple: you follow the baby’s lead in introducing solids. First, you wait until baby is old enough to grasp pieces of food. Then, you give them age appropriate food and let them play with it/feed it to themselves. The overriding rule is “food before one is just for fun.” This book really helped me not stress about whether and how much Stella was eating… and it’s so much easier than trying to spoon feed purees. Basically, this is the lazy parent’s way to introduce solids.

2. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League International, $12.55 at Amazon.

This is a new book for me this time around and I love it. I wish that I had had it when Stella was still nursing. It’s fantastic and addresses pretty much any question you might have about breastfeeding in plain language. Plus it has these tear out sheets with helpful information for the first few weeks.

3. The Breastfeeding Book, Sears and Sears, $14.37 at Amazon.

I got this one when Stella was about a month old and I wished I’d had it before. Like “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” it has all the information you need to have when you first start breastfeeding. As you can see from the picture, it’s shorter than “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” The length makes it an easy read for the first time really exhausted mom.

4. Baby Led Weaning Cookbook, Rapley and Murkett, $11.07 at Amazon.

This is a companion book for the Baby Led Weaning book. I’ll be honest, some of the recipes aren’t great. BUT there are some good ideas for meals in here and a lot of the recipes can be made a lot better with a few alterations. The issue with the recipes that aren’t great is that they’re a little bland for an adult palette, so that’s an easy fix. What I really liked about this book though was that it had ideas for meals that I wouldn’t have thought of (like oatmeal sticks) that Stella loved.

5. Mother Food, Jacobson, $20.38 at Amazon.

If, like me, you spent several months worried that your milk supply was low this book is a life saver. It has lots of info about foods and herbs that are good for increasing milk supply and recipes that include those foods and herbs. Once you’ve read the book, it’s easy to incorporate them into your diet. Oh, and bonus, it has also has information about special diets while breastfeeding.

6. Sleeping with Your Baby, McKenna, $12.17 at Amazon.

I never intended to bed share, but it happened and is unexpectedly awesome. This book, which is a really quick read, tells you how to bed share or room share safely. It also includes information about the developmental benefits of co-sleeping (however, you choose to do it). The author, James McKenna, researches infant sleep at Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory.

7. The Baby Book, Sears, $16.14 at Amazon.

I literally can’t say enough good things about this book. It has so much information and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve consulted this book at 3 am to decide whether I’m crazily overreacting or if there’s an actual problem. (Spoiler alert: I’m always crazily overreacting.) It has everything from how to treat a fever to developmental stages to normal baby sleep.

8. The Discipline Book, Sears and Sears, $12.70 at Amazon.

This isn’t a baby book. It’s more for toddlers, but it’s been so helpful for me. It really helped me understand how toddlers think and why they do they things they do. Hint: It’s not just to annoy me. There’s a lot of information about discipline techniques in there too, but the best thing for me was learning why Stella does the things she does.

Not pictured but also don’t suck:

9. The Vaccine Book, Sears, $11.97 at Amazon.

Vaccines are a hot topic these days. If you’re on the “I’m so confused about vaccines” side of things, this is the book for you. Dr. Sears is very pro-vaccine (like most doctors), but the book includes plain language information about all vaccines on the CDC vaccination schedule. There’s a recommended alternative vaccination schedule that ensures kids get all the vaccines on the CDC schedule at a delayed pace. I don’t use the alternative schedule, but did use the information in the book to develop a different schedule with our pediatrician.

10. Beyond the Sling, Bialik, $12.88 at Amazon.

This is really a parenting memoir, not a parenting advice book. I really like it because it’s an honest portrayal of life, with some helpful tips, when your parenting style is not exactly mainstream. I’m not as far out of the mainstream parenting as Bialik is, but I do share a lot of her “crunchy” parenting attributes. It was really refreshing for me to read about how she deals with other people’s opinions regarding parenting choices. ‘Cause everyone has an opinion about how you parent and when you do things other people don’t (like nurse a toddler) the comments can be a little hurtful.

Hopefully this list will save you some time and book money. Comment with any additional parenting books you think are must reads!



Wuthering Heights Read-a-long

Remember a while back when I joined a read-a-long for Wuthering Heights and promised that I was going to blog reviews of it? Remember how that hasn’t happened? Yeah. I suck at planned blogging topics.

But. I have actually been participating in the read-a-long for six whole weeks. I actually can’t believe I’ve stuck with it for this whole time. I mean, we all know what a huge success my book club was. So, while I haven’t been awesome about posting here, I have been participating in the discussions over at Unputdownables, which is a site you should totally check out if you’re a book lover.

Since I haven’t kept up in my posting about this over here, I won’t bore you all with a catch up post now. I mean, we’re almost finished; this would basically be an entire book review and we’ve all read Wuthering Heights before, so there’s no need for that. But I do have a few thoughts that I want to share.

I know this phenomenon isn’t new to anyone who re-reads books on a regular basis, but I’ve been struck by the things in this book that I’m  noticing and focusing on for this read through. Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books so this isn’t the second or the third or even the fourth time I’ve read it, but this time,  really for the first time, I’m realizing how much I absolutely hate every.single.character. Every other time I’ve read it, I’ve been impressed by the story telling, the imagery, how it might be the greatest revenge story of all time, but never by how terrible each and every character in the book it. I really don’t think I’m overstating this. They’re all the absolute worst.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of sympathy for little Hareton and even a little sympathy for Heathcliffe. But. Sympathy isn’t the same as actually liking them. This is the first time that I’ve read this book and realized that I’m not rooting for anyone.

Now, I don’t think this is the first or second or third or fourth time that I’ve read the book and not been rooting for anyone, but I do think it’s the first time I’ve noticed. And I’m intrigued by that. It’s definitely not new that I don’t like the characters–I remember not liking them before, I just don’t remember actively hating them all. I think it’s a testament to Bronte’s writing and story-telling skills that I’ve always been so caught up in other aspects of the book that I didn’t even notice that every single character is a terrible human being. Frankly, I’m impressed. If Bronte were still alive, I’d probably write a fan letter.

No promises, but I’ll try to do a final thoughts post on Wuthering Heights in a couple of weeks when we finish the read-a-long. In the meantime, keep up with the discussion over on Unputdownables.

Book Review: Expecting 411

Remember a few weeks ago when I promised to review some of the 5 or so pregnancy books I’ve read? This is the first of those reviews!

Book: Expecting 411

Author: Michel Hakahha, M.D. and Ari Brown, M.D.

Reccomended? Definitely!

Expecting 411 is one of the first pregnancy books I bought/read, after What to Expect When You’re Expecting (which will get its own review later), and I have to say, I should have stopped with this one. It’s written by two doctors and it’s divided into very practical  sections–1st, 2nd, 3rd trimesters, “is it normal?,” etc. The format, other than being divided into practical section, is very easy to read and understand.  Each section has some general information, like symptoms and other “stuff” for each trimester, then has a questions/answer section which pretty much covers everything else you might want to know.

There’s two parts of this book that really sell me on it being awesome. First, the “Is it normal?” section. You don’t know how many times I’ve gone to this section to help. I mean, in a completely normal non-hypochondriac way. It’s divided into different sections of the body (mood, skin, stomach, etc.) and addresses pretty much every question you could have. This section lets you know whether you’re being a crazy hypochondriac or whether there’s an actual problem that you should probably see a doctor for.

The other super awesome section in this book is the index. I know. I know. An index. How mundane, right? But good indices are actually pretty hard to come by in pregnancy books. This one is fantastic. For example, if someone, hypothetically, got a terrible sunburn on their stomach and were convinced that this was probably going to result in their baby living in boiling hot amniotic fluid and needed to find out about sunburns during pregnancy,  this book has tons of information about sunburns and how they don’t actually cause any harm at all to your baby. Hypothetically. Of course.

Basically, I can’t say enough good things about this book. There’s nothing I don’t like about it and it’s definitely my go-to pregnancy question book.

P.S. This review is my own; no one asked me to do this!

Wuthering Heights Read-Along

A while back I was in a book club. We did really well for a bit; we meet regularly usually discussed the book for a minute or two, drank a lot of wine…. Then, we all got busy and the meetings became less regular until they just stopped. Of course, this might be my fault. Maybe I was in charge of organizing the last meeting? Oops. I guess I should do that… 18 months later.

Since that book club kind of fizzled out of existence, I’ve missed having reading buddies (and a reason to read books that aren’t just a bit trashy). You can imagine how excited I was when a twitter friend, ninjyjd, blogged that she was joining a Wuthering Heights read-along. Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favorite books and it’s been too long since I’ve given it a read. So, of course, I looked into a signed up to participate in the read-along, sponsored by Unputdownables.

The read-along is 8 week long, which is a very do-able time frame for keeping up with the reading, and includes a handy-dandy reading schedule.


Beginning Friday, September 1st and ending Friday, October 26th. 


Week #/ Where to Stop (For example, in week one STOP and place your bookmark at Chapter V.)

Week One/ Chapter V
Week Two/ Chapter X
Week Three/ Chapter XII
Week Four/ Chapter XVI
Week Five/ Chapter XX
Week Six/ Chapter XXIV
Week Seven/ Chapter XXX
Week Eight/ The End


Post #/ date post should be up on blog:

Start up Post/ Today!
Week One/ September 7th
Week Two/ September 14th
Week Three/ September 21st
Week Four/ September 28th
Week Five/ October 5th
Week Six/ October 12th
Week Seven/ October 19th
Week Eight/ October 26th (Final Review)

I plan to post my thoughts mainly on the Unputdownables site, but will probably post a couple of posts here too. If you love Wuthering Heights or even if you’ve never read it, you should join in as well.

I like real books too…

I think yesterday’s post might have given some people the wrong idea. I do have a kindle (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE), but my love for my kindle hasn’t dulled my love for real books. In fact, I still buy books that I can physically hold. I’m just more selective about them. Now, instead of buying every paperback that looks slightly interesting, I only buy books that I know I really love. It’s really helping my bookshelf be a lot more manageable.

To be honest, getting a kindle was not the easiest decision for me. Well… if I’m really being honest, it wasn’t a decision at all. Here’s the story:

I got the Hubby one for Christmas last year because I thought he would love the tech gadget factor of it. Because I wasn’t sure if he would like it, I talked about it a lot to gauge his response. Apparently, all my talking up of the kindle made Hubby think that I really really wanted one. So, he got me one for Christmas last year too!

As it turns out, I do really love my kindle. The screen actually looks like the page of a book and I can read for hours on it. I carry with me everyday so that I can read during lunch (if I have time). The only downside for me is that the kindle is not helping my tendency to read approximately 7 books at one time. Since I can carry all 7 at the same time… well things have gone downhill on that front. I think I am actually in the middle of reading 4 different books right now.

All of this is to get to this point: I just read on that Amazon is expected to announce a tablet version of the kindle. At first, I was excited/bummed. Excited because I love electronic  gadgets and bummed because I don’t think I can justify buying a new kindle when mine is only a year old. And then I read the story. The new tablet isn’t going to have the same screen! It’s going to be a “glowing LED screen.” The screen is the main reason I chose the kindle over all the other e-readers (that and the price) and I’m pretty disappointed that amazon is doing away with it now.

I guess I should be happy that the screen is changing… that guarantees that I will not be tempted to buy another kindle gadget this year!

I’m interested to know how others feels about the e-reader situation. Are you pro-e-reader or do you think they’re ruining the world? Or maybe you’re somewhere in the middle?

UPDATE: Amazon has now officially released the new kindle lineup. And now I want the kindle touch.

I’m using the library again!

Bedbugs be damned!

Remember how I mentioned that kinda sorta have a crippling fear of bedbugs and that said crippling fear was going to prevent be from using the public library ever again and that I was pretty bummed about that? Well, thanks to amazon FINALLY allowing kindle books to be loaned, I’m using the library again!

I am so excited about this. Last week when the kindle library lending program opened up, I was massively disappointed because it looked like the public library in town wasn’t going to be doing kindle lending. So, I did a couple of internet searches and found the coolest thing: Kentucky Libraries Unbound. From what I can gather, this site is a consortium of roughly 50 (I just estimated that number from the drop down list) county libraries that allows customers of those libraries to download ebooks (not just kindle books) using their library card. Unfortunately, my county wasn’t on the list and I was once again massively disappointed.

Long story short, my library’s site started including kindle books the next day and all is right with the world now. In fact, I just checked out my first kindle library book about 10 minutes ago. I was honestly surprised at how easy it was; the check out period is pretty short (only 7 days), but it’s still a HUGE leap for readers.

So, if you have an e-reader (or any kindle app/program), check out either your local library’s site or Kentucky Libraries Unbound. This is a great way to get new reading material for free(!) without even leaving your house.

Book Review: Earth (The Audiobook): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race

The Details

Author: Jon Stewart

Published: 2010, but Amazon says the Audiobook will be released in October 2011. That’s interesting since I got it from the public library on Friday.

Premise: A travel book for the aliens who finally make it to Earth after humanity has destroyed itself. Which, according to the book, should happen any time now.

Why I got an audiobook: LONG LONG LONG road trip. Audiobooks are the only thing that keep the Hubby from getting unbearably bored.