Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pregnancy Book Reviews

I typed up some information for a newly pregnant friend of mine, and figured I would post some of it here, too. This list is about Pregnancy / Breastfeeding books that I read.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week

 Charlie and I read this one together every Sunday when I reached another weekly milestone. I loved reading that book – it was a nice ritual and was very informative without being scary. I liked the weekly measurement numbers and the “what is your baby doing this week” sections. It was nice to be able to follow along on the development track every step of the way.

The Complete Organic Pregnancy

This book has a lot of great information for those of us who are interested in natural living. It's presented in an easy-to-read way and includes information on both macro and micro levels - from the chemicals in our environment to the food that we put in our bodies. I enjoyed some of it, especially the recipes and the section on food, but it's a little over-the-top in terms of what it tells you to avoid. I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to recarpet and repaint the entire house :)

What to Expect When You're Expecting

I know this is one of the most popular and well-known books for pregnant women. I remember seeing my aunt’s copy on their coffee table 15 years ago when she was pregnant with my cousin. I bought a copy at a used book store and returned it a few days later – I hated it, though. I thought it was pretty alarmist and ended up stressed out about things I didn’t know I needed to be stressed out about. Apparently they recently released an updated version, so maybe that one is better. If you’re only going to buy one general reference guide I would go with the Week by Week book, instead. (as a side note, what is with the pregnant lady graphics on these books? you've got the crazy frumpy hat in Week by Week and this lady looks like one morose mofo)

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy

This book has tons of practical information, but it's very funny, I would almost call it light reading. Vicki has a great writing style and is brutally honest about the good, the bad, and the really really ugly about pregnancy and the whole labor & delivery process. I learned more about the reality of pregnancy and birth from this book than any other. (She also wrote The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year and The Girlfriend's Guide to Toddlerhood, both of which I also recommend.)

Baby Bargains 

This book is a must-have for picking out baby gear. It includes ratings and information on all of the brands who make baby-related products. They release a new edition every so often so that they can keep you up-to-date on changes to products and manufacturers. I learned a lot about the differences between brands and lines in terms of materials and quality. They grade every company that makes every product you can imagine and have a section that talks about exactly where products fall on the need vs. want continuum. They maintain a blog for updates between additions and notifications on product recalls.

Magazines – There are two free magazine subscriptions that you can sign up for – American Baby and Baby Talk. They’re both just kind of average, but free is free, and what pregnant lady doesn’t love reading about pregnancy and babies?

So That’s What They’re For

I would recommend reading this before your baby gets here. Actually, if you're planning on breastfeeding I would recommend getting your hands on as much information as possible before the baby gets here. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that when it comes to breastfeeding, the more information you have, the better. Everyone assumes that it’s something that comes naturally and should be easy, but it’s not. I learned a ridiculous amount of information that I never knew before. Even though BFing didn't work out for me and I had to EP I still used it as a reference for breast issues. It also has a lot of good info on the benefits of breastmilk, which inspired me to keep EPing even though it sucked sometimes.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

 This book also had a wealth of knowledge, but I liked the style of So That’s What They’re For a lot better. This one wasn’t as easy to read, and I liked the informal, almost jovial tone of the first book. This one was a little too serious.

The Milk Memos

This one is about working, breastfeeding mothers at IBM (?), who share a pumping room and start a journal where they write notes back and forth to each other about how to deal with being a working mom and how much pumping at work sucks (no pun intended). It was a good read, but I wasn’t able to relate to it all that much, maybe because I don’t work in such a serious corporate setting and because my company is so much smaller. There were A LOT of things that didn’t apply to me. Not a ton of practical info, more good to have for the feeling of not being in it alone.

The Happiest Baby on the Block

This one helped a lot for us. GREAT suggestions for calming pissy babies! The 5 S's work like a charm on Baby Charlie. He loved being swaddled. We had a few of the SwaddleMe wraps, 2 lightweight ones and a fleece one for when it got colder. Once he was done with the swaddle I was still too paranoid to put a blanket in his crib, so we bought Halo Sleepsacks - they're wearable blankets (he does have a blanket in his crib, now!).


  1. My mom bought me a 2005 copy of What to Expect from a garage sale, I'm glad she only paid a quarter for it, I did not care for it. I second the Week by Week book and Baby Bargains, I still use Baby Bargains, that thing is the bible of everything baby. If there is one thing everyone should do before buying any baby stuff it should be to read Baby Bargains.

  2. My favorite pregnancy/breastfeeding books would probably be:
    * Raising Baby Green
    * The Vaccine Book
    * Mama Knows Breast
    * The ABC's of Breastfeeding
    * Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method

    I also like "The Business of Being Born" DVD and "The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD.

    I have yet to find a pregnancy guide that I can wholeheartedly recommend...



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