5 Pregnancy Books You Should Read

Must-reads to get through the trimesters, prep for labor and more

5 Pregnancy Books You Should Read

Everyone handles stress in different ways. When I was pregnant, I decided to read everything I could get my hands on to assuage the fear of the unknown (namely, labor and what to do with the actual baby once it arrived). While there were some things I definitely should not have read, like WebMD (which convinced me I had a hernia), there were some books that helped me feel incredibly empowered and well-prepared. I asked a few moms about the books that got them through the trimesters, and here's our must-have "Waiting for Baby" reading list.

  1. Best for Prepping for Labor: Ina May's Guide to ChildbirthIf you want to have a natural birth or have no idea what to expect during labor, grab this book. The entire first half consists of moving accounts of women birthing naturally at a midwifery center in Tennessee. The second half of the book is an intelligent, yet approachable discourse on what happens during labor and how the birth experience has developed throughout American history. It's a fascinating read.

  1. Best Hospital Guide: Common Sense PregnancyFeel like your OB doesn't have enough time to talk to you? Ask a labor nurse instead. Jeanne Faulkner has compiled the experience of thousands of births, four children and answering questions in her advice column into this guide for new moms. It's great for explaining all the medical tests, jargon and interventions that could come up before and during labor so that you can make your own decisions without feeling judged or stupid. It has just enough information to help you without telling you so much that you feel scared or overwhelmed, and recommends areas where more study might actually be useful.

  1. Best Gift: The Pregnancy Countdown BookWritten by a mom and a M.D., this book is an honest, humorous day-by-day guide to pregnancy and all its beautiful (and cringe-worthy) moments. With one page for each day, you can read it even at your most exhausted and benefit from the advice, encouragement and quotes from other moms.

  1. Best for New Parents: Eat, Sleep, PoopThis book is the distilled insights of a pediatrician during his first year of being a father. If you don't know a ton about babies, this book is an easy, informative and relaxed guide on what to expect during the first year. If you have a handle on pregnancy but you're terrified of the actual parenting thing, Cohen's practical wit will help you navigate the minefield of new-baby-land. Coolest feature would have to be the "when to call the doctor" flowcharts.

  1. Best Reference: The Panic-Free PregnancyEver wonder about all those things you can't do when you're pregnant? You know, no sushi, no lunch meat, no laying on your back, no aspirin...the list never seems to end. This short, medically-sound guide helps you separate the irrational from the factual so that you can make informed decisions about the lifestyle changes you want to take on during pregnancy. It's organized in a Q&A style, making it a quick read and an easy reference.

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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These kids dishes don’t look like kids dishes

And that's exactly why my toddler loves them. ❤️

My 4.5-year-old is, let's say, spirited in his opinions. He very clearly knows what he wants and doesn't want (oh to have the confidence of a stubborn preschooler!). And what he doesn't want right now is anything that looks too babyish. "That's for babies," he'll say if I give him anything with primary colors or looks too miniature. He doesn't want the baby fork and spoon, he wants what grown-ups use. He doesn't want the baby plastic cups and plates, he wants the glass and ceramic ones.

Well, you can see where this is going.

I had to find something that would satisfy his "not a baby" opinions but still not shatter to pieces if he accidentally drops it on the floor. I had to find him something that's made for kids but doesn't feel made for kids.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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