I found the following books to be very helpful or at least interesting in building my parenting personality in my adventure into motherhood.
Giving The Gift of Sleep: Helping Your Fussy Baby
In the beginning weeks, sleep-deprivation was one of the most difficult challenges to muddle through. After reading these books, I developed a little more insight into how regular sleep, naps, and routines affected my baby and guides about what to potentially expect about my baby’s sleep habits. After researching the multiple theories and philosophies, I pulled what I felt most comfortable and reasonable for me to do, and helped my baby learn to sleep. She was sleeping through the night by 8 weeks (8pm-7am) and taking regular naps and feeding at regular intervals. I wish you all luck with this as it is a challenging endeavor. Always remember, just because one baby does this, doesn’t mean that your baby must. Some babies take longer than others to learn to sleep through the night. In the end, just do your best and be the best parent you can be.
I highly recommend this set from Marc Weissbluth, M.D. for new moms and even veteran moms who have a fussy baby. Dr. Weissbluth does a great job explaining why sleep is so important, and shares exerpts on moms who have experienced perhaps what other moms are experiencing at this very moment. There are some helpful tips on how to guide your baby to a routine, and it also gives physiological information about why babies are so fussy during a certain age and that it seems do disappear after a while… and why fussiness is not always colic, and colic is not always colic but that there may be an underlying medical issue.
I would also like to mention a book that I’ve read that is well-known to many mothers desperately seeking an answer to the sleeping issue:
On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo & Dr. Robert Bucknam is a very controversial book. Many mom and even physician reviewers are not too fond of this book because it does involve the “Cry-It-Out” (CIO) method which they are not comfortable with doing or recommending. Furthermore, there have been anecdotal stories from parents and pediatricians discussing that babies have failed to thrive when using the CIO method especially when following the method with breastfeeding. This book conflicts with certain other recommended books that I have posted on this page. In the end, however, you decide how you want to be as a mother, and to do so, arm yourself with the knowledge of different methods and choices that are out there. Personally, I feel these authors made some useful points in helping my child learn to sleep; i.e., setting a feed-play-sleep routine and parent-directed feeding (which if done appropriately is fine… my daughter was always in the top 75% in weight and height). I personally chose not to follow the strict Cry-It-Out method for nap, bedtime and night awakenings and still sang and lulled my baby to sleep (every night at bedtime and still do). Despite adding this to her routine, she is very capable of falling asleep on her own and has done so many times. I mostly used what I felt I was comfortable with in the book along with other parenting books to create my own personal parenting plan.
Let me explain my version of what I understand to be “Parent-Directed Feeding.” You set up a schedule that you hope to follow. It serves as merely a guideline; it should not be a dictation of what you and your baby must do or must strictly follow. If your baby gets fussy 30 minutes after the last feed, well, think about it. Have you done everything else like changed the diaper, check for boo-boos, and tried to soothe? Well, maybe the baby is hungry, after all. If so, then feed her… forget the schedule at that moment, and re-schedule the next feed at the next appropriate time per your plan, unless she shows signs that she’s hungry earlier yet again (possible growth spurt, maybe?!). Rather than you make an arbitrary schedule, try observing what your baby’s typical schedule is, and work around it. This goes against Ezzo’s advice, but it worked for me. I did, however, choose a time of day I wanted baby and me to wake up to start the day and worked towards that goal. Bedtimes usually have a pattern and always have a special routine. Not long after, a routine fell in place. During her growth spurts or after she gets her immunizations, she falls out of routine a bit, but without fail, she always picks it right back up after those few days without much effort from me. She never, ever failed to thrive.
“Parent-Directed Feeding” in my opinion doesn’t mean, set a schedule and that’s it. Rather, I consider the phrase to mean: please use your best judgement… you’re the parent. That, of course, is a difficult concept to grasp for new parents… I think I read the book about 3 times before I came to that conclusion for myself. My husband got halfway through the chapter the first time and literally gave up.
I have seen critiques of this book based soley on Ezzo’s credentials and that if you cannot 100% use the book’s method, then don’t buy it at all. I’d like to remind everyone that no parenting book is ever 100%. It’s much more resourceful to purchase multiple books, research multiple resources, and develop your own unique parenting plan. Remember that every child is different and one plan or philosophy that worked for one child may not for another.
Teaching Your Toddler: Active Parenting
I am a major fan of books that talk about discipline in the way that parents must be diligently involved in helping shape limitations for their children. I am a firm believer in the “Funnel” philosophy of control in parenting, which is you create most limitations at the earliest ages and begin allowing more appropriate freedoms as kids grow up and learn about how to independently make wise decisions. Below are some of my favorites so far:
The entire Love & Logic Series by Jim & Charles Fay, Ph.D. is great — I will update my reviews as I start trying to use these methods. It is a great book and it makes parenting sound fun. No paddles needed here.