Now that we’ve been able to road-test some of the resources we’ve been collecting these last nine months, we thought we’d share some of the books, websites, and products we relied on for parenting advice and support. Many of our friends relied on these as well (with great success), which is why we’re confident enough to pass them along to you.
But understand that the best piece of parenting advice we ever got was this: don’t take parenting advice. Trust your instincts, get to know your child, and figure out what works for you. Heck, this entire article is just an excuse for us to show you more pictures of our baby.
Books for Newborns
Books can be a slippery slope for new parents. Attachment parenting versus cry-it-out, co-sleeping versus sleep training… the options are endless, and there is no one-size-fits-all. Here are the books we are using now, all of which came from trusted sources.
Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. Knowns in some cirlces as the “Five S” book (swaddle, side, shush, swing, suck), we’ve found the techniques in this book to be brilliant in calming Atticus down quickly. Swaddle + Side + Swing does it every time – we’re not on pacifiers yet – but as he gets older and fussier, this book will probably prove to be a life-and-sanity saver. (Great for Dads, too – let them be the Baby Whisperer when Mom is too tired to function.)
On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Buckman M.D. Perhaps one of the most controversial books on the baby-market, Baby Wise is all about creating a sleep schedule for your kiddo (at an age-appropriate time) so that you and your baby get on a healthy wake/sleep routine. You’lll have to determine for yourself whether this is right for you and your family, and how stringently to apply the principles outlined here. (Did we mention this one was controversial?)
The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley A great follow-up to both of the aforementioned books, No-Cry is a gentler approach to a sleep schedule, in practical phases based on the baby’s age. It applies more to older babies, as infants are still feeding on demand, and “sleeping through the night” only means they’re able to go a five-hour stretch. We’ll rely on this one when Atticus is around six months or so.
Books on Child Development
We’ve been reading books on this subject for years now, even before we decided to have a kid. It’s fascinating stuff, and if you can remember it all, may help you raise a baby that isn’t as screwed up as the rest of us. (Big if.)
Brain Rules for Baby by John Galina A fascinating look inside a baby’s developing brain, with lots of helpful tips for parents. Preview: skip the Baby Einstein videos, and turn off the TV entirely – the appropriate amount of television-watching for a child under two is zero.
Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman A favorite of ours, this book covers parenting topics like praise (praise the effort, not the result), lying (and how to administer appropriate consequences), and the effects of sleep deprivation on your kids.
Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky A super practical (translation: what you as parents can do to nurture these skills) manual for nurturing the seven essential life skills in your children. (Not reading, writing, or arithmetic – try focus and self control, perspective-taking, communicating, and more.) These “non-cognitive skills” come up again and again in childhood development books, but none are as down-to-earth as this one.
How Children Succeed by Paul Tough A more theoretical perspective on non-cognitive skills like grit and determination, with stories and examples, but not as practical as Mind in the Making.
I’m sure there are more smartphone apps than these that you may find helpful, but I’m buried in my phone enough as it is. These are two that I’m using daily for sake of ease, because writing down our feeding schedule in a notebook is hard at 3 AM, and remembering which boob comes next will prove more challenging as the days go on, Mom.
iBaby Feed Timer This app helped us schedule feedings and remember whether he goes right or left. Really easy to use (even at 2 AM), allows you to set your own feeding schedule, and even provides an easy way to track diapers (wet, dirty, or both), which is helpful in the first few weeks to know if baby is getting enough to eat.
Relax Melodies There are a ton of free “white noise” apps, but this one is our favorite. Helps with the “shush” part of the Happiest Baby prescription – Atticus likes a combination of the vacuum cleaner and oscillating fan noise, played really, really loud.
There are a million and twelve baby-related websites out there, most of them full of useless information and fearmongering. These are some sites we know and trust. Another piece of advice? Stay off the forums, ladies – and no Googling “newborn” stuff. It will only scare the beejesus out of you.
Katy Says (Aligned and Well) Spunky, sassy, a woman after my own heart, Katy Bowman waxes eloquently (and hilariously) about all things alignment and baby. Check this video about safely carrying your baby in arms (which we’re doing, as Atticus is still too small for a sling), and her ABCs of babies.
Spinning Babies While the site isn’t the best-organized (there is a ton of information here), we used this one to make sure Atticus was in a good position for birth. Prescribes crawling, gentle inversions, and other non-invasive procedures to, well, spin your baby into a good head-down, anterior position. Don’t make yourself crazy with this stuff – it’s too easy – but between this and a good chiropractor, you should be able to get him/her into a good position for a natural childbirth, if that’s your goal.
Wellness Mama: We have every intention of making lots of our own baby products – at some point, we’ll actually get around to it. (Atticus came two weeks early. That’s our excuse.) In the meantime, we’ve got all the ingredients for these 7 Homemade Baby Care Recipes from Wellness Mama in our pantry.
How To Be a Perfect Parent in Five Easy Steps Finally, a must-read for any parent-to-be. Seriously. Read this now.
We aren’t going to list a lot of products we like, because we’re trying to channel the Minimalist Mom and get less baby stuff. (By the way – buy her e-book, The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year. Best $5 we spent in baby-prep.) However, these are a few things we can’t live without right now.
Angel Baby Bottom Balm Until we make our own diaper cream, this stuff is keeping Atticus’ bum healthy. Gentle, smells good, and keeps the diaper rash at bay.
Aiden & Anais muslin swaddle blankets You will want 743 of these. I know they’re expensive. Put them on your registry. They’re great burp cloths, nursing covers, light blankets, and swaddlers.
Summer Swaddlers You’ll swear you’re cheating when you velcro your little one into a tiny burrito, but in the middle of the night, you’ll be muchas grateful for the assist.
A baby sling. Atticus is still too small for my Baby K’tan (with an 8 pound minimum), but Dallas’ Boba wrap is working well. Or we just tuck him into my sweatshirt for walks around the neighborhood. Really. He loves it. Be careful with newborns and slings – make sure they are positioned perfectly, and aren’t too small for the contraption. I like the K’tan because it eliminates all the excess fabric of a Boba or Moby wrap, but the down side is you have to size it specifically for you, which means Dallas and I can’t share one.
Lactation Consultant Get one today, at the ready for your first day or two home. Breastfeeding can be really hard, and there is nothing more frustrating for a new, sleep-deprived Mom than wondering if your newborn is getting anything out of there. Resources abound on this KellyMom page, or consult the International Lactation Consultant Association.
Bamboobies Bamboo (very soft) washable breastfeeding pads. Order a variety pack with overnights and daytime wear.
Nursing bras You will need a lot of these. These cotton bras from Target won’t break the bank, and they’re cute-ish under a tank top. Skip expensive (and ill-fitting) nursing tanks – just get some Old Navy tanks and yank ‘em down.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra Looks like something Lady Gaga would wear, but trust me, you’ll want to pump hands-free, Bessie. Grab a good book, hook ‘em in, and get to it.
Newborn photographs Take the time to get some professional newborn photos taken. Honestly, they’re a pain, and the last thing you’ll want to do with your 7-day old is take him to a photography studio, but they’re so totally worth it. We used Monkeyface Photography in Farmington, Utah. If you’re in the area, we highly recommend Heidi – she posed him like she was molding sweet clay, and wasn’t afraid to wrap him in a leg warmer for the perfect shot. Find someone experienced with posing and dealing with sleepy newborns – patience is key, and they’ll be okay if their stuff gets peed on.
One of the first things we realized about this whole new parent thing is that your time is extremely limited – especially for Mom. When you’re feeding your baby every two hours, it’s always a “free time” toss-up between shower and sleep, laundry or dishes, and cooking a homemade meal? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Luckily, Chef Richard at Pre-Made Paleo created a Whole30 Approved New Family pack just for us. (And now, you.) We ordered two, and now we’ve got hot, homemade, Paleo meals at-the-ready, including some egg-free breakfast skillets that make our first feeding a breeze. This is a lifesaver for any new parent, so make sure you order ahead of time (and consider purchasing a standalone freezer for all the frozen meals and breast milk you’ll be storing in the near future).
Share Your Favorites
Did we miss any of your favorite go-to baby products, websites, or reading material? Share them with us in comments.
Note: some of these links go to our Amazon store. Thanks for your support in clicking through.