Recommend me a book for new mothers

I need to suggest a couple of books for my company’s maternity mentoring program. FWIW, we are planning on expanding our program this year to include fathers and adoptive parents. Since there’s a kajillion books out there for new parents, I’d really appreciate some help separating the wheat from the chaff.

Any other suggestions for a maternity mentoring program are welcome as well.

I don’t know if it’s still in print, but my bible when my kids were small was the Mother’s Encyclopedia published by Parents Magazine. It had everything, including photos and illustrations. It was well-organized and written so that anyone could understand it.

I credit it with saving #3 son’s life. He’d been vomiting, and the doctor told me to change his formula. Still vomiting, doctor said switch him to soy formula. Still vomiting. I looked it up in the book. His symptoms matched pyloric stenosis. I took him back to the doctor and asked about it. Doctor says 'Oh, I doubt it, pyloric stenosis is very rare, but just in case . . . ’ He made a mark low on Barry’s tummy and said to watch that mark for movement next time he spit up. There was movement. I called the doctor back and he scheduled emergency surgery. By that point, Barry was dehydrated and near shock. This happened over a period of about a week.

So that’s an excellent resource for parents. For expectant mothers, everyone I know swears by “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, which is widely available. At the last place I worked, we gave copies to every pregnant employee, and they give it out at a couple of the medical clinics in town.

I particularly liked anything by Dr. Sears. The Baby Book and The Pregnancy Book were both very good.

He’s gone out of fashion now, but I’m still really fond of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s work. He’s really good at providing both information and reassurance that whatever works for you and your family is the “right” way to do things. It’s less clinical in tone than many books; more conversational, with a gentle insistence that you *can *do this very tough job. It’s like having your own grandfatherly country doc to talk to at 3 AM when you’re overwhelmed and scared. He was the Dr. Sears of the early '90s.

Of course, I’m also a pimp for the Parenting With Love and Logic series. It’s not a baby care book, but a great book on discipline that doesn’t feel like discipline. I give it to everyone at baby showers, 'cause I think too many people don’t start thinking about discipline until they’ve already got issues, and it’s much harder to fix mistakes than to do it right from the start.

I also like Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book. That’s been my go-to book for those “is this normal?” moments.

The Happiest Baby on the Block is also GREAT for newborns. There’s a video, too, which I found more helpful than the book, but either is invaluable.

You might want to have a variety of sleep books – there are a lot of schools of thought out there, so I don’t know if you want to promote one over another.

For labor, I can’t think of a better book than The Big Book of Birth. It has so much helpful information, and it’s presented in a very “you can do this!” way that I found empowering. I’ve loaned my copy out, let’s see… 5 times in the 13 months since my son was born!

If you’re dealing with working moms, I like The Milk Memos. It isn’t a how-to, it’s more of a journal by a few working/pumping moms. I got some good ideas and “support” from reading it.

It’s hard to find now, but The Wonder Weeks can be helpful in dealing with fussy stages. It talks about what the baby is going through developmentally, so even though they’re fussy, it can be easier to have sympathy for them (and help you figure out what they need/want).

For toddlers and up, I like Unplugged Play. My folks gave it to me last month for my son’s first birthday, and it has some fun ideas in it. Also helpful is the Ames & Ilg series, Your One-Year-Old, Your Two-Year-Old, etc. I think they go up to 6 or 7 years old.

And a great one for expectant parents (whether it’s the first baby or not) is And Baby Makes Three. It’s about maintaining a healthy and loving relationship even with the stresses of new-parenthood. Full disclosure: I work for the institute founded by the authors so I know them – but it’s a really great book.

On preview: Oh yeah, I second WhyNot’s suggestion of Touchpoints - how could I forget? It’s really helpful and low-anxiety. Very good.

It looks like there are lots of good choices here. Thanks!

I found (and still find) Baby 411 invaluable. It’s like a reference book… I am sure as hell not going to read a bunch of new age-y stuff, but this book is perfect because you find yourself going to it as a reference, then you read a chapter, etc. etc.