Friday, 11 February 2011

Baby books I read and loved

Tame this Dr Christopher Green.

My friend at WorkingBerlinMum is looking for birth and childcare book recommendations.

Way back at the beginning of last year before we ever made the move to Berlin, I started clearing out some stuff I didn't need and discovered that I had around 22 baby books. As in, a little mountain of books on the topic of pregnancy, birth, babies, and toddlers. I utterly loved them. I especially loved the pregnancy books that tell you what's happening month by month - when you baby is the size of the Giant Snickers you just ate, which month you can teach it to love listening to the Sugababes, so that you have at least 1 person who understands you. You know, that sort of thing.

My pregnancies weren't exactly typical as such. As a diabetic things are a little bit different. You have more frequent scans - which is lovely because I have about a dozen scan pictures of each of my two, but the flip side is that you have a lot more to worry about. I would go to one scan and at the end of it the sonographer would say "Ok, well at your next scan we're going to be looking for heart problems and so on, as the children of diabetics tend to have heart defects" which would give you something new to mull over for the next 4 weeks and have you worrying yourself to death. Every scan there would be something new to 'look forward' to. So poerhaps these books provided me with a window into a nice, fluffy, normal pregnancy.

My favourite pregnancy books were:

The Best Friend's Guide to Pregnancy - funny and informative, and down to earth.

The Rough Guide to Pregnancy & Birth - a week by week guide and very funny to boot following the authors pregnancy.

What to Expect When You're Expecting - month by month, and serious in tone, but it's indispensible and answers most questions you might have or worries that are niggling you.

Expecting - by Anna McGrail & Daphne Maitland - I really liked this book. I found it one of the most informative and covered a lot of ground and dealt with health issues well. Can't remember much more about it though now, just remember I looked at it quite a lot!

Minus 9 to 1: Jools Oliver's book telling her story of problems conceiving and her journey through pregnancy to having a new baby. A nice insight for those who haven't had a baby before.

Birth. I was/am terrified of giving birth, and dreamed of being knocked out and coming round after the caesarian scar had healed. I had expected to have a c-section as I am diabetic, and that's what I wanted, but I am also desperately scared of surgery and being 'awake' during an operation was not high on my list of things I wanted to do in 2007 and 2008. But then I found this book:

Stand & Deliver by Emma Mahony. It's lots and lots of individual stories about birth and all the different experiences women can have. I read this book, and I swear I felt confident and far less scared than I could ever have imagined. This would be THE book I would recommend for anyone who is at all frightened about giving birth. It's excellent.

My favourite baby books were (oh, and I'd advise reading these prior to having a baby as you don't get any time to do so afterwards):

What to Expect: The First Year - great if you have problems. It's got an answer for everything.

The Baby Whisperer - I never had the proper full-on 'Baby Whisperer' book, but I did have one called 'The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems' or was it sleep problems?? I can't remember because my mind was so addled from lack of sleep. Anyway, I bought it for sleep problems, and I quite liked it. This author strikes a halfway point between Gina Ford and someone who doesn't give a crap. Perfect! I remember it did work, but I was never good at not caving in after a week or two and brining them back into my bed. Hence the reason I have a 2 and a half year old cuddling into me most nights.

The Best Friend's Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood - it's all there in the title. I'm saying no more.

The Baby Book: How to Enjoy Year One by Rachel Waddilove. This is a great book and really practical. But I've never heard anyone else talking about it that I know of. It's an excellent book for first time mums. Oh and it's got a foreword by Gwyneth Paltrow as the author helped her out when she had Apple.

The Rough Guide to Babies - Miranda Levy - good, but not as good as the Rough Guide to Pregnancy & Birth. Different author, but I see now that there's another book by Kaz Cooke the author of the RG to Pregnancy about babies - so it might be good.

I don't have favourite Toddler books as such - I kind of gave up - the novelty was over ha, ha! Plus, by the time I had a toddler I already had another baby, and my problems surpassed those that even Tracey Hogg herself could solve. But, I did have, and would recommend:

The Best Friend's Guide to Toddlers - excellent as per the other books and I might actually have a look at it again, if I can find it under the mess.

What to Expect: The Toddler Years - great if you want to give yourself a complex about what your child can't achieve, or give yourself a pat on the back because they are over-achieving! Otherwise, pretty pointless, unless you are really stuggling with your toddler, or don't have the confidence yet to trust your instincts. Having said that - I still bought it.

Toddler Taming - Dr. Christopher Green. This outlines all the problems you are likely to come up against with your toddler. Easy to read too. I only had a quick read of this before a friend asked to borrow it and never gave it back, so it must be really good. Though not that good that I felt compelled to ask for it back.

So that's my list of recommendations. Other pregnancy, birth, baby & toddler books are available. I know. I've read pretty much all of them.


  1. Oooh I like Toddler Taming, I forgot about that one. I must admit though that I'm not a huge fan of the 'What to expect...' books. I found the month by month section during pregnancy great but I avoided the other bits and stopped reading the ' the first year' book very quickly as it is so dense and included so many things that could go wrong that it just worried me rather then felt supportive.

  2. Yup, there's also just too much to compare your child against. But you can't deny it's chocka-block full of information!

  3. Blimey you read a lot of books! Although I will admit to being a big fan of Dr Green the only other books I read from cover to cover were twin related ones and "The Yummy Mummy's Survival Guide" - more in hope than expectation that last one!

  4. yes, I just liked reading them. I'm always like this though. Once I start on a topic I get a bit stuck in it. At the moment I'm reading quite incessantly about Berlin and the Berlin Wall, the Stasi, and life in the DDR. Oh and consumerism, I forgot about that. I'm also reading Buyology by Martin Lindstrom (when I can get the time - it's stashed in the kitchen for when I'm stirring pots!)


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