Up For Discussion

Pregnancy And Parenting Books: Our Readers' Picks

An illustration of a woman holding a book that says "Mommy" on it. i i
iStockphoto.com
An illustration of a woman holding a book that says "Mommy" on it.
iStockphoto.com

Last week, we asked readers to recommend must-reads on pregnancy and child-rearing. And readers responded in kind — we received more than 120 titles on topics from pregnancy to breast-feeding to health to sleep training to parenting. There was nothing scientific or even comprehensive about our poll — we just compiled the results.

What we discovered was summed up nicely by one commenter:

"Truth is, there are a billion books out there, and the best ones tend to be the most controversial. In the end, Mom is the expert and should never feel overwhelmed by what others say. Take everything the authors say with a grain of salt. No one book will work for everyone."

A few of the most popular titles recommended in The Baby Project comments are controversial.

Here are the Top 5 suggestions:

  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
  • The Baby Book by William, Martha, Robert and James Sears
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
  • What To Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg & Sandee Hathaway

Some of you disagreed about these titles, especially about What To Expect When You're Expecting. One commenter wrote: "Anything with What to Expect in the title is largely an out-of-date fear-mongering compilation."

Beyond the Top 5, many books got at least a couple of mentions. We divvied them up by topic. Some of these may be contentious — especially the birthing and sleep-training books. One person said they wanted to "erase the information" they learned from Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Baby by Marc Weissbluth, while at least six other people recommended it as a great resource.

Here's what our readers recommend:

On birthing:

  • Birthing From Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
  • The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
  • The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
  • The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
  • The Doula Guide To Childbirth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know by Ananda Lowe
  • Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
  • Mayo Clinic Guild To A Healthy Pregnancy by Mayo Clinic

On sleep-training:

  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley
  • Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau

On breast-feeding:

  • Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Nancy Mohrbacher & Jack Newman
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins
  • The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk by Diana West and Lisa Marasco

On deals:

  • Baby Bargains by Denise Fields and Alan Fields

On health-care:

  • Baby 411 by Denise Fields and Alan Fields
  • Caring for Your Baby and Young Child by the American Academy of Pediatrics

On parenting:

  • Becoming the Parent You Want To Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser

On food:

  • Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

For dads:

  • The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be by Armin Brott

And, finally, a bit of humor and light reading:

  • Babies, and Other Hazards of Sex: How to Make a Tiny Person in Only 9 Months, with Tools You Probably Have Around the Home by Dave Barry
  • Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott
  • The Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent

For the complete list of suggestions, see the comments in the original post.

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