Top 5 Picks for New Parents

Alright, so obviously the best advice could come from your community of support — your family and community of faith. But maybe you have a small family or they live far away. Or for whatever reason you don’t have everything you seek and could use some affirmation and guidance.  Or just a little extra boost of hope and humor.

BabyCenter

1. Babycenter.com

Are you signed up on this site? If not, go do it! No, seriously.  Go do it right this second.  If you’re expecting, then during your pregnancy, you’ll receive a weekly email saying how “big” your growing baby is with developmental milestones.  Once your baby arrives, you can customize the birthday and the program will send you supportive information just as you need it. Really great resource. I didn’t really do much with the discussion forums, but I loved the weekly newsletter and did search the articles on their site.  Many of their articles on common questions include input from a variety of credible sources.  So you can read a doctor’s opinion and also read a second opinion in the same space.

2. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5

Written by the Academy of Pediatrics, as in, THE official governing body representing baby and family practice doctors throughout the country. So, the advice is the official advice from doctors and will (or should) align with your ACTUAL DOCTORS! This is like a textbook and you only need to read a chapter at a time for general information. And there’s a great reference section when common things happen… like fevers or vomiting. We consider this our very best MEDICAL guide.  It has helped us avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor and also helped us identify when a situation truly warrants an ER visit.  If you opt to buy this booked used, look for a fairly recent edition because dosage information changes over time.  Not so much the advice on whether to take it, but the exact measurements change when the pharmaceutical industry adjusts the concentrations of those medicines.

But medical guides don’t cover all the SOCIAL or SURVIVAL/SANITY guidance women sometimes need. I liked this author’s series (which is a bit old, but was highly enjoyable to me)

3. The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the first year of motherhood

Again, this is a bit old, but since this book makes our list for the emotional outlet and parenting philosophy, it gets a pass. Many resources deal with information and this one seemed to provide perspective and frame of reference for attitude. For instance, there was a section dedicated to the dangers of competitive mothering and how this breaks the mommy code. The entire book is written as if your best friend has just blazed the trail ahead of you and is sending you a personal email. It can help a woman feel less alone in new territory.

And there are others by the same author that focus on pregnancy, baby gear, etc. I bought and read the First Year one and The Girlfriends’ Guide to Toddlers and found them helpful. I also thought they gave me a frame of reference or “starting place” on a lot of issues. For instance, this is normal, or this is not normal, and here’s roughly where I should start if I need more help on [fill in the blank]. It’s a very easy read with plenty of easy-to-digest sections that immediately feel applicable to life. This is particularly helpful when you’re not getting much sleep and your reading retention rate is lower than your pre-baby years.

4. Be Prepared

Expectant mommies get all the love when a baby is on the way. Here’s a chance to show some love to the expectant/new dad. We received this book before our first child was born from a family friend. We read it and loved it so much that we kept our copy and have since bought two additional copies as gifts for friends with new babies. It’s hilarious, unpredictable and still chock full of great information. Funny and legit — a fabulous combo. The delivery style sits in stark contrast to the other books on the market. This book has technical drawings and diagrams and is mostly written for the man’s point of view. It is tongue in cheek. There were some funny tips that didn’t appear in the traditional books. Both husband and wife enjoyed reading this book in our household.

5. Baby Bargains

If you were lucky enough to have an older sibling or cousin plow through parenting just ahead of you, this is not the book for you. Hug that person and thank them for their beautiful, beautiful hand-me-downs. This is the book for someone who is mostly starting from scratch in preparing their nursery. I remember how I was needing to procure these items before I really had much experience with how I would use them. This is not how I typically make purchases. I’m usually very thorough in research and well-considered on my personal preferences and functional expectations. That doesn’t work with baby shopping. You won’t have the energy to do this when you come back from the hospital and you haven’t met that new little personality yet. And if you’re filling out a baby registry, then you’ve got the extra layer to contend with — you are giving pointers to someone else to shop for someone you haven’t met yet. Sweet! So, enter this book, which gives you a framework of products to consider and a breakdown of what’s a value purchase. Confirm that you are purchasing the very latest edition as product lines change frequently. The author and publisher have been consistently publishing this book on a yearly basis making updates to their recommendations and product information accordingly.

And just a tip, don’t try to purchase everything on the suggested registry list from Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us (or any other Baby supercenter). You won’t need many of the things on that list. Those stores just want you to buy more of their stuff!

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