Letting Go As Children Grow: from early intimacy to full independence – a parent’s guide, by Deborah Jackson
This is my absolutely favourite all encompassing book about parenting. It goes from caring for your newborn baby, right through to the teenage years. I was drawn to it by my Amazon recommendations, and was certainly the brilliant buy that I was persuaded it was in the reviews. This book invites us to really think about what we are doing and saying with our children and the potential impact that it has upon them. While letting us ponder on this it questions the need for parents to “do stuff” in order to educate, and help our children develop. Instead surely we should trust our baby / child to do what its necessary to grow and develop naturally without the need for us to input all the time. Questions like “Did you have a nice day today?” is such a loaded question…. what sort of response are we wanting? what sort of a response are we expecting? what sort of a response does our child feel able to give? By stepping back and simply being there, interested, perhaps making an opening statement like, “So you were at nursery today?” invites the child to respond in the way they want to. It is little moments like this which litter the book which make it so readable and thought provoking.
I love the fact that this book also advocates a much more relaxed approach to parenting, giving you permission to just let your child to get on with it rather than feel the need to hot house them, or feel guilty for not doing enough stuff with your child! READ IT and READ IT again, hold on to it, lend it to your friends, then READ IT some more…. quick, go on buy it, or borrow it now!!!!
Three in a Bed, by Deborah Jackson
This book examines the benefits of sharing a bed with your baby. However, this book is so much more than that… it asks questions about accepted practice in modern civilised society related to parenthood, and uses back up of scientific research and other key books on the subject to critically evaluate the decisions many of us simply just make because everyone else does, or our midwife or health visitor tell us to. I found this book gave me a licence to trust my instincts, to follow my heart and not be drawn into a variety of weaning battles. It is empowering to find a book which encourages you to feel confident in what you feel is the ‘right’ thing to do, rather than making you feel paranoid for not following to the letter the set rules and regulations that you ‘should’ be doing to be a good mum.
Additionally, the book does offer more practical, well researched ways of safely sleeping with your baby. An inspirational read.
The Food of Love: A Successful Formula for Breastfeeding, by Kate Evans
A well written, beautifully illustrated book, littered with comical cartoons. This is actually a fully comprehensive, well researched book by a Breastfeeding Counsellor, about Breastfeeding, and many complementary parenting decisions that you may make. There are specific guidance supporting the early days of breastfeeding particularly, and ideas for troubleshooting difficulties and challenges along the way. Additionally, the book provides a more holistic support looking at different ways to continue to breastfeed, using slings, bed sharing and seeking support. If I was going to write a book on breastfeeding, I’d have liked to written this one! It is an easy read, particularly as it is punctuated by the cartoons. There is a website devoted to the ideas raised in the book and some of the cartoons too.
The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Dr Harvey Karp
This book was a complete surprise to me. Judging this book by its cover would suggest that it isn’t the book for me, the picture, fonts and title had connotations of rules and things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with. However, at my HypnoBirthing class we were shown the DVD of it, and I was amazed by what I saw – screaming babies calmed instantly by turning on their calming reflexes using a combination of the “5 s’s”.
The reasoning behind this is identified in the DVD, and is explained in detail in the book. Dr Harvey Karp talks of his theory of the 4th trimester where babies, because as humans our brains are so developed that when we are born, our brains are fully developed, and as a consequence are much more helpless than other newborn mammals such as a baby foal, who actually walk away from their own birth? As such, babies during the first 3 months should be treated as if still in the womb, by emulating the various sensations they word have been experiencing. The way to do this is through the 5 s’s, as explained in the book and DVD. One easy way of achieving a number of these is simply by carrying a newborn in a snug sling.
We used the 5 s’s – swaddling, shhhing, swinging, side, sucking in various combinations with our newborn son to dramatic effect. Many people advocate swaddling babies to prevent them from waking themselves up with their newborn reflexes, and people will try this, but on its own it doesn’t always work…. that is where the other 4 s’s come in!
I would whole-heartedly recommend this book at part of the newborn baby toolkit. Let’s hope that the tools are needed, but how wonderful it can be to find the solution to a crying baby when you’ve simply tried everything else!!!
The Science of Parenting, by Margot Sunderland
I bought this book after borrowing a friend of mine’s copy. I found it really useful to help me feel that trusting my instincts instead of always trusting the advice of well meaning, but differently informed strangers or acquaintances.
It offers a scientific basis to what it talks about, which appealed to me on behalf of my husband. I felt that it would be a useful way to explain why I made the decisions I did. It is a magazine type book, so very accessible and easy to dip in and out of. It has some great pictures and illustrations.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn a bit more about babies, and wanting to trust their instincts with their babies, but need a bit of back up for confidence in doing so.
The Continuum Concept, by Jean Liedloff
This is not a how to book, rather a sit back and reflect book. It is about realising what has been forgotten in today’s society of how to books. It doesn’t really give direct answers to parenting decisions, but raises questions about the norm parenting techniques many of us employ with a bit of guidance from a book or friends. It helped me to feel comfortable making the decisions that I was happy making, and felt right for me. It informed my perception of babyhood and early childhood, as well as how I relate to most people around me.
The book is actually an account by a doctor who stayed with a tribe in South America, and observed their lives from an anthropological perspective. Whilst their culture is very different from our own, it can really help us to reflect on our own place in modern culture. I have given this book to a number of parents, and without exception they have all commented that it has really helped them on their journey into parenthood.
Reviews by Beth Roche HBCE BA Ed