My goal for this series (see my top three recommendations for Pregnancy and Labor & Birth) has been to have concise lists of resources that are easy to add to your life. The thing is, pregnancy is a long, slow process with plenty of time to learn and adjust, and labor only lasts about a day, roughly, but then? THEN you have a baby. Postpartum is a precious, crazy, intense time. There are a lot of new skills to learn, and while none of them are rocket science, it’s really a huge thing and I would MUCH rather people invest in books and classes for postpartum than have a huge focus on labor. (Focus a little on labor, but really, look past that and focus more on how to care for yourself and your baby afterwards!)
So, I can’t limit myself to three. This one needs four. Please get as many as you can, and enter parenthood with knowledge, strength, and skills so I feel better about you.
The Better Baby Class
I know this is completely self-serving, but I’m offering my class as a private, in-person option now, and I wish all of my clients who are having their first baby would take it. It would make me feel so much better about them. So, sign up for my class. I’m happy to do Zoom if you need social distancing, or are out of my area. Or…go find an equivalent in your area. But please, if you think that Childbirth Ed class is important (AND IT IS), this is also vital. I want you to take care of yourself in a knowledgeable manner, and have really good expectations for the first six weeks of parenting. Please take a class and develop a good plan.
Your Amazing Newborn
This is such a lovely book. It’s worth it for the pictures of beautiful babies, alone, but really valuable for the insights on the abilities of newborns. A newborn’s brain isn’t fully formed–and won’t be until about age three years–so they experience and interact with the world very differently than we do. When I talk with new parents, just the act of explaining that their baby has no awareness of “self” yet, but they do have six levels of alertness makes things easier. When you understand what your baby is doing and how they “work,” there’s so much less frustration and a lot more joy.
Breastfeeding Made Simple
Ok, my joke about this one is that breastfeeding is apparently so simple that it only takes three hundred pages to explain it. Joke aside, though, this is the book I wish I’d had when I was having my babies. The first three chapters are vital information for every parent; they go into baby’s digestive system, mouth structure, and nutritional components of breast milk. When you understand how everything works, it’s a lot easier to know how to work with your baby’s nursing needs. It’s also nice to understand that the intense feeding schedule of the first six weeks really will not last forever, but it’s important for that time!
The Wonder Weeks
Again…and you might be sensing a theme here…when you understand how your baby works, your stress is massively reduced and you’re empowered to be the fantastic parent I know you really are. The first section of this book is just about newborn needs, with a very reassuring section about sleep. After that, it goes into nice detail about predictable developmental leaps, when your baby is likely to throw all their previous routines out the window. I love talking with random new parents at church, hearing things like “I don’t know….we seemed to be getting a groove, but this week she’s so unhappy, and we’re worried she’s sick or we’re doing something wrong.” I’ll look at the little one, say “let me guess….is she about five weeks?” and parents are flabbergasted. How did I know? Well, because five weeks is the first Wonder Week, and next week she’ll be a happy baby again, enjoying her schedule, but with a few new abilities. Do you see how being able to predict that can smooth things out for you? Get both the app and the book, and have fun discovering the world through your baby’s eyes.