The Best Pregnancy Books: Breastfeeding, Infant Care and More

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The Best Pregnancy Books: Breastfeeding, Infant Care and More

June 18, 2014

Pregnancy is an incredible and exciting time. It can also be overwhelming and challenging with the potential for morning sickness, joint problems and all the glorious and sometimes embarrassing changes that our bodies undergo over the course of 9 or more months.

Trying to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for labour, childbirth and motherhood, can sometimes feel like a Herculean task, made all the more overwhelming with hearing everyone’s horror stories and well-meaning – but generally unproductive – advice.

Like most pregnant women, preparing for labour and childbirth was foremost on my mind. How could I manage contractions naturally? How could I prevent tearing? Interventions? Was it really possible to push a baby out of – well you know where.

I didn’t realize until I was in the throes of early motherhood, that I had failed to read or research anything beyond labour and childbirth. What about breastfeeding? Baby blues? Pelvic Floor Health? Infant Sleep? Infant care? I was too focused on my birth plan and mentally preparing for labour that I completely ignored everything that was to come after.

Don’t do what I did.

Here are some of my favourite books to start reading in pregnancy:

 

1. Skip the all-too-popular American What to Expect When You’re Expecting and instead feast your eyes on The Mother of All Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas, a Canadian pregnancy book with relevant information for Canadian Couples and our Health Care System. This is the first book I would borrow or buy!

 

 

womanly art of breatfeeding good2. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International has everything from how to prepare to breastfeed and breastfeeding tips, to latching and weaning. It is a must-read in pregnancy and after baby arrives.

This was my point of reference during those early weeks of breastfeeding – if you could call it that. I didn’t anticipate that I would have any challenges with breastfeeding. I was healthy. My labour was relatively quick, uncomplicated and at home. I had the help of a brilliant doula and midwives and my Mom who had nursed four children. But breastfeeding did not come naturally.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed help with breastfeeding. My saving graces were this book, my doula Pam Davey – also a certified Lactation Consultant – and La Leche League.

*If you are struggling with latching, with pain while breastfeeding, or anything else, please know that there is help out there. La Leche League is an incredible, free network of mothers, available 24/7 to help. And amazing lactation consultants are just a phone call away. Breastfeeding should not be painful.

 

3. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin was so empowering to read. This book was essential in helping me prepare for my homebirth, by reminding me that “[my] body is not a lemon.”

This book examines pregnancy, labour and childbirth from a completely different perspective. It has many simple tips on coping with labour and encouraging words for every pregnant mama. Most of all it is a reminder that women’s bodies were built for this and when given the opportunity – they know what to do.

 

 

 

4. The Baby Book by Dr. Sears is full of relevant and helpful information for new parents, covering a wide range of topics from infant sleep and diapering to infant development and nutrition. This is definitely a great book to mull over before baby arrives and then to have on-hand after your baby is born.

 

 

 

5. Natural Health After Birth by Aviva Jill Romm, MD, midwife and herbalist, is all about Postpartum Wellness.

As new mothers, we are often so focused on keeping baby fed and changed that amidst the sleepless nights, we forget to take care of ourselves. And a healthy mother is essential for a healthy baby.

This book covers topics including postpartum healing and nutrition, herbs, breastfeeding, bonding, and postpartum support.

 

These books were great resources for me. I only wish I had started reading the last three before my little one arrived.

If you are expecting and interested in learning more about natural options in pregnancy, labour and childbirth, and parenting, you should read more about our Mom to Be Program.

What have been your greatest resources in pregnancy and beyond?

For more posts like this one, sign up for our free biweekly e-newsletter here.

 

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