As the mother of a 9-month-old, there are books that I have found to
be invaluable these past few months.
Funny how I can be a professional counselor who once handled crisis cases that walked into my office on a
regular basis, but when it came to being a new mom, the simplest things
could cause panic to rise up in me.
“Is she crying? Is she in pain? Why is her eye oozing yellow stuff?
Do I need to take her to the doctor? Is she getting enough to eat? She
hasn’t pooped in four days? Is she ok? Is it ok that she isn’t sitting
The questions have gone on and on. Thankfully, mothers before me knew
the perfect books to buy for me to get me through this time of learning
and questions. They are books I have referenced often these past nine
months, and if asked, are the ones I would most highly recommend to any
I had already fallen in love with What to Expect When You’re Expecting during my pregnancy, so I was excited to receive What to Expect the First Year at a baby shower, even though it wasn’t on my registry list. Like its predecessor, What to Expect the First Year
starts with a couple of introductory chapters and then separates into a
chapter-by-chapter account of what to expect each month of the first
year of your baby’s life.
At the beginning of each chapter is a section entitled “What Your
Baby May be Doing”. This section is then further broken down into three
additional sections, titled, “By the end of this month your baby should
be able to”, “… will probably be able to”, and “… may possibly be able
The format of the remainder of the chapter follows a
question-and-answer style, with some of the most commonly asked
questions in the first year and extensive answers.
The end of the book has additional chapters which address topics like
taking care of baby in the different seasons, infant first aid, what to
do when your baby is sick, and special needs babies.
Another informative and helpful book is Your Baby’s First Year,
by Steven Pl. Shelov, M.D., M.S., F.A.A.P. This particular book
contains chapters which address topics ranging from breast feeding to
formula feeding, choosing a pediatrician, and vaccinations.
The chapters are then broken down into different phases of a baby’s
life, including the first month, one month to three months, four months
to seven months, and eight months through twelve months. Each section
contains information pertaining to baby’s growth and development,
possible parenting issues, potential health concerns, feeding, and
The book wraps up with information on miscellaneous topics ranging from stay at home fathers to adoption issues.
It is a small book, but extremely comprehensive and informative, and has probably been my most referenced book to date.
Although Baby and Childcare is put out by Focus on the
Family, a religious organization, the book is not religious in nature
(although there may be references periodically throughout the book that
do reflect the Christian faith). Written by a medical doctor, this
book, too, is comprehensive and informative in its approach.
It is split into chapters highlighting the major growth periods of a
baby’s life, including the first three months, three to six months, six
to twelve months and twelve to twenty-four months. What I especially
like about this book is that it is not just geared towards babies, but
also addresses all of the stages of a child’s life, including
two-year-olds, three- to four-year-olds, five- to eleven-year-olds, and
the adolescent years.
In addition to the major life periods in a child’s life, this book
has chapters that pertain to issues such as sexual identity in
childhood, ADHD, eating disorders, education issues, divorce and its
effect on children, family conflict, and death.
The appendix of the book includes several colorful photographs and
graphics for further education on certain topics. This book will
certainly be a parent’s companion until the child finally leaves the
house, and though it is a bit pricey as far as parenting books go, it is
worth the investment.
Touchpoints, by Dr. Berry Brazelton, takes an approach to parenting that is
different from the other parenting books previously mentioned. Coming
from both a physical standpoint as well as a psychoanalytic standpoint,
Dr. Brazelton touches on key physical, cognitive, emotional, and
behavioral points in a baby’s first year.
As the back of the book states, “Touchpoints are the universal spurts
of development and the trying periods of regression that accompany
[babies] through childhood. Dr. Brazelton uses them as windows to help
parents understand their child’s behavior and prevent future problems.”
This book is a great reference tool for parents to go to when they
sense an unexplained change in their baby and are at their wit’s end
trying to figure out what is going on. I would read certain parts of
this book and have an “ah-ha” moment with my own daughter, as I realized
that a new developmental milestone was about to appear, thus causing
her to seem to regress in her behavior.
If you choose to breastfeed your baby, the how-to manual I would recommend is Breastfeeding Your Baby,
by Jane Moody, Jane Britten, and Karen Hogg. Not only does this book
contain helpful advice and sections that address every new breastfeeding
mother’s questions and concerns, it also includes personal stories and
practical advice from over 200 women. It is a book that a new mom can
read and feel surrounded by support in this new venture of
Being a new parent is both exhausting and exhilarating, exciting and
confusing. Don’t try to wade through these first months, and even years,
alone. Instead, employ the support of friends and relatives who have
been there before you. And when those friends and relatives aren’t able
to get to the phone when you call with the question, “My baby just shot
vomit clear across the room! What do I do?” having a book or two on hand
that addresses every scenario known to new parents is a great help.