Advice: There never seems to be a shortage of it when you tell someone you’re going to be a mom for the first time. I am so thankful for friends who have gone before me and are happy to share some excellent resources to help me navigate parenting…both as a new mom, and now, as we are entering the toddler years. Today, I thought I’d share some resources that really helped me, with the hopes that maybe you’d find some helpful tidbits too, as you strive to be the best parent possible!
*Click on the picture to get the link to the book on Amazon!
READ BEFORE YOU’RE EXPECTING
Taking Charge of Your Fertility – I first discovered this book while looking into different birth control options. What I read not only amazed me (how could I go 25+ years AND teach human growth and development without really understanding how my body worked???), but also changed the method we use to plan our family. Whatever stage you’re at in family planning, I’d HIGHLY recommend sitting down with this book!
READ WHILE YOU’RE EXPECTING
On Becoming Baby Wise – Wish you had an instruction manual for your brand new baby? This book is just about as good as it gets! Baby Wise not only helps you learn what to expect those first days/weeks/months with a new baby, but also gives great information on what your baby is capable of at each age, and troubleshoots common issues parents and new babies face. The main principle I walked away with from Baby Wise is this:
“It is our experience that both baby and mom do better when a baby’s life is guided by flexible routine. PDF (Parent Directed Feeding) is the center point between hyper scheduling on one extreme and attachment parenting at the other. It has enough structure to bring security and order to your baby’s world, yet enough flexibility to give mom the freedom to respond to any need at any time.” – Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam
Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this book! While neither of my children were “perfect Baby Wise” babies, it was a helpful framework for me to use, and encouraged me to use my judgement to make the decisions that were best for my kids.
Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (there’s a book too, but the DVD is my favorite!) – Danny’s cousins, Drew and Meghan had us watch this video first when I was about seven months pregnant. Danny would probably say this was the most helpful resource he used as a dad. Harvey Karp (I refer to him as the Baby Whisperer) shares the five S’s of how to sooth an infant: swaddle, side or stomach position, shush, swing, and sucking. While I spent most of the first few months focusing on feeding or getting sleep myself, Danny was the one in charge of soothing Jeremiah when we knew he wasn’t hungry. Danny became a FIVE “S” expert and earned the title of “Baby Whisperer” in our family!
READ WHEN YOUR BABY IS 6-12 MONTHS OLD
On Becoming Baby Wise II – This is so helpful as your baby becomes more independent and starts crawling, walking, self-feeding, etc. Baby Wise II helps you establish meal time manners, wake time activities, nap and sleep time activities, and the beginnings of discipline and baby sign language. The big idea I walked away from this book with is this:
“Your desire for the developmental harmony of your child makes it necessary that you grant freedoms to the child only after he or she attains the age-appropriate level of self-control.” – Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam
Basically, if your child doesn’t have the maturity to handle and use the tv remote properly, don’t give them the freedom to play with it. Too much freedom brings confusion (ex. “Why am I allowed to push buttons on the remote, but not allowed to chew on it or hit it?”), and too little freedom brings frustration. This has been so helpful in keeping our home a positive place where I’m not constantly telling my kids “no,” because I keep their environment a place where they have freedom equivalent to their maturity.
READ WHEN YOUR CHILD IS 12+ MONTHS
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family – This book has personally challenged me more than anything I have read or heard in a very long time. Instead of giving you a list of ideas on how to get your kids to behave, it encourages you to take inventory of your own goals and desires as a parent and helps you to change the way you think about parenting your children. It’s not about a to-do list, it’s about your calling as a parent and how God can help you accomplish the incredible opportunity of parenting your children well.
“Paul Tripp constantly turns us back to the life-giving power of the gospel and God’s unfailing grace. Parenting our children is one of life’s greatest challenges, and Paul points us to the one thing that can make a difference—a genuine en- counter with the living God.”
TobyMac, hip-hop recording artist; music producer; songwriter
Happiest Toddler on the Block – Are you getting to the Terrible Two’s stage? This book is for you! This book shares many of the same principles I learned from other parenting resources (like the Love & Logic class I took), and has really helped me communicate in a loving and positive manner with Jeremiah. It helps me understand where he’s coming from developmentally, and how I can help him be not only happy, but also patient, respectful, and cooperative. This book is like drinking from a fire hose, so I’d definitely recommend having a friend or spouse read and discuss this book with you as you go through it. There is also a DVD of the main principles, which is good, but in this case, I’d say the book has a LOT more information that parents would find helpful than the DVD covers!
Toilet Training Without Tantrums – I personally haven’t read this book, but my friend, Kylie gives it her highest recommendation! Her son was potty trained by 20 months old. Wow! This is definitely on my “must read” list. If you want to hear more about my potty training experience with Jeremiah, check it out here.
The Bible – Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this book! Not only does it provide sound principles for living, family structure, etc., but it also shares wisdom that helps me be the best parent possible. Need a good place to start? Check out Proverbs. It’s an entire letter from a parent to his child…full of great wisdom and advice!
I want to hear from you! What is the best pregnancy/baby/child advice you received?
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*Note: none of these books were recommended to judge/guilt/shame parenting styles. You may not agree with everything in the book…that’s ok! Take what works for you, and leave the rest. Every parent-child relationship is unique, and requires love, wisdom, patience, and lots of prayer for it to work!