Parenting

The following is a selection of my favorite and most trusted resources on the topics nearest and dearest to my heart.

Fertility

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler
This book is one of the top five most influential and empowering books I have ever read. Whether you are trying to avoid pregnancy or are attempting to conceive, you should read this book. It outlines everything we should have been taught about how our bodies work and how to track monthly cycles in detail. If you are a woman you should read this book.


Pregnancy and Birth

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
I read many, many pregnancy books and this is THE ONE BOOK I WOULD RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE! This book takes the fear out of birth and leaves you confident in your capabilities. It also contains many terrific positive birth stories. Highly recommended.

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
I read this book in my last month of pregnancy after I'd read all of the other informational texts and I highly recommend this. This book tells your mind to take a backseat and to let your heart and body do the real work of birthing. Great information on natural methods of pain relief too.

The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin
Brian found this book to be a really helpful tool for both preparing himself and for learning how to best support me through labor.


Breastfeeding

I suggest reading at least one of the books below on the basics of breastfeeding BEFORE you have a baby. These authors discuss nearly every possible issue relating to breastfeeding in candid, warm and often humorous tones. Very helpful when you realize that breastfeeding isn't always as easy as it looks!

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West and Teresa Pitman

So That's What They're For: Breastfeeding Basics by Janet Tamaro

KellyMom: Parenting and Breastfeeding -  Evidence-based information on breastfeeding, sleep and parenting topics.


Circumcision

Let's Talk About Circumcision - A compilation of my own extensive research on the subject.

Functions of the Foreskin: Purposes of the Prepuce - Peaceful Parenting

Intact or Circumcised: A Significant Difference in the Adult Penis - Peaceful Parenting


Vaccination

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Dr. Robert Sears
The decision whether or not to vaccinate is perhaps the most controversial of all decisions to be made in the early days of parenting. Even if you have no qualms about the current vaccine schedule you should read this book as it discusses each disease and its vaccine, the incidence of the disease, the likelihood of vaccine reactions and the ingredients of each vaccine. It discusses some of the problems with combination vaccines, how to boost the immune system before vaccinating and how to choose the brand of vaccine with the least creepy ingredients. For example, some brands have significantly more aluminum in them than others, which like mercury, is a known neurotoxin. Bottom line: educate before you vaccinate.


Cloth Diapering

Cloth Diapers 101 - A great review of all of the different types out there and FAQs.

Diaper Pin - Cloth diapering tips, product reviews and secondhand sales.

Green Mountain Diapers - We liked natural fibres for our diapering so we used organic cotton prefolds with covers from GMD.


Baby Wearing (Slings and Carriers)

TheBabyWearer.com - Determine which type of carrier is best for you, read product reviews and share experiences in user forums.


Baby Naming

I'm not sure if the fact that we took nearly three weeks to name both of our sons makes you more or less likely to take my advice on baby name resources but here you go....

The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby by Laura Wattenberg
This is the best baby naming book I found and trust me, I've looked at lots of them! It categorizes names into styles and offers suggestions for other names you might like based on your preferences. There is also a Baby Name Wizard website with lots more info on specific names that you won't find in the book.

Baby Name Genie
- This website will generate names for you - hours of fun!


Infant and Toddler Sleep

Sleeping like a baby is perhaps the most misleading phrase ever coined. I never anticipated spending so much time thinking about, reading about and daydreaming about sleep. There are some horrendously disturbing books and websites out there on tactics for teaching a baby to sleep so start with these great resources that respect the fact that babies have needs at night just as they do during the day.

The No Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley

The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child's Sleep by Elizabeth Pantley

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Dr. Harvey Karp

Gentle Baby and Toddler Sleep Tips by PhD in Parenting - Great list of tips for sleep deprived parents.

Ensure Safe Sleep - Terrific info and resources from the Natural Parents Network

Sleep, Changing Patterns In The Family Bed - Dr Jay Gordon's gentle night weaning method


Feeding Infants and Toddlers

Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron
The complete guide to what, when and how to feed your baby and toddler including introducing solids and food preparation and storage.

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine
A great book for any parent who wishes they could get more vegetables and whole grains into their children’s diet without begging or pleading and without spending hours on healthy meals only to have them rejected for “looking yucky.” The main strategy of the book is to cook up make-ahead healthy purees that can be covertly added to a variety of recipes. The author offers a selection of traditional kid friendly recipes that just happen to deliver all sorts of goodies under the radar.


Positive Parenting and Discipline

This list of books shaped my parenting philosophies and stocked my toolkit of strategies for parenting with respect.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn

Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children by Thomas Gordon

Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming parent-child relationships from reaction and struggle to freedom, power and joy by Naomi Aldort


Natural Parenting

Natural or attachment parenting is a gentle approach to parenting that stresses bonding with your baby, responding to his/her cues, breastfeeding, wearing your baby, and sharing sleep with your child.

The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by Dr William and Martha Sears
In this book, the parenting gurus William and Martha Sears outline their approach to baby care basics, from newborns to toddlers. Bottom line: pay attention to your baby's cues and respond appropriately - trust your instincts and don't worry about spoiling your baby by attending to his needs when he cries. This book covers medical and health issues, child development, introducing solids and so much more. Also visit the Ask Dr Sears website for info on everything from teething to ear infections to toilet training. 

Mothering: Natural Family Living and Mothering Discussion Forums - A one stop shop for parenting advice on every subject under the sun!

Attachment Parenting International - Parenting practices based on compassion, connection and respect.

Natural Parents Network - Healthy living, gentle discipline and so much more.


Staying Sane

Need a reminder that you're not the only one feeling tired, lonely and confused in the thick of this mothering gig? Read one of these.

The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood by Ariel Gore and Ellen Forney

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller

Mommy Mantras: Affirmations and Insights to Keep You From Losing Your Mind by Bethany E. Casarjian and Diane H. Dillon


Parenting Blogs Worth Reading

Aha! Parenting - Dr. Laura Markham will make you a better parent. Sign up for her newsletter!

Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama - Co-hosts of the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting, Dionna and Lauren have offered so much comfort and advice over the years.

Elevating Child Care - Beautiful and practical insights and advice on conflict, setting boundaries and infant/toddler development.

PhD in Parenting - A Canadian mama blogging about parenting, feminism and social change.

Hands Free Mama - Let go of daily distraction and perfection and embrace what really matters. Nearly every post makes me cry. In a good way.


Healthy Living

Healthy Child Healthy World - Tons of info on safe pregnancies, food, home care, products and baby care.

Environmental Working Group - easily accessible guides to consumer products including sunscreen, cleaning products and the very useful Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database

Good Guide - Products and companies rated on their health, environmental and social performance



My thanks to many sisters and friends over the years who have suggested these resources to me and to Riker and Ari for inspiring me to be the best (and most informed) mama that I can be.

I'm more than happy to discuss any of these resources in more detail or to make more recommendations for further resources on specific topics that might interest you at the moment.



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