Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our fav books, apps, and websites for all things "baby"

I have some pregnant friends who have been asking about what books and resources we use for pregnancy and beyond. Kyle and I agreed early on that I would the research on any given baby-related topic, and he would support my findings and decisions. (He's ended up sticking his nose in a few of the books below, though!)

Here are the 12 books and 1 iPhone app that we are/will be using.

  1. The Power of a Praying Parent: I was given the Power of Praying Wife from a dear friend before Kyle and I got married. The Power of Praying Parent is formatted in the same manner, and both are fantastic for the Christian woman who struggles to remember to pray, or struggles with what to pray for (both me!). Both books have 30 chapters - which coincide perfectly with how many days there are in each month (give or take). A chapter a day, that's easy! Each chapter is 2-3 pages containing a short story, a scripted prayer, and some memory verses. I have both books (Praying Wife and Praying Parent) by Drew's rocking chair, and I read them each day when I find myself sitting with Drew before one of his many naps. Some days I have time to read the whole chapter from each book, other times I barely have enough to read the chapter title and I just go with my own prayer for that day based on the title. Either way I find myself constantly lifting my husband and son up in prayer, and the added benefit is that I get that extra one-on-one time with Jesus each day. 
  2. Pregnancy Day By Day: This book has LOTS of pictures, and it's fun to treat it like an advent calendar. Except at the end, instead of it being Christmas, you get a baby! 
  3. What to Expect When You're Expecting: a true classic. This was my go-to book during my pregnancy. I also signed up for the weekly e-mails from their website, and had the app on my phone. You could say I'm a fan. I also subscribed to the Baby Center e-mails, but always found I preferred the What to Expect e-mails. This book covers well through delivery and postpartum care, although I didn't pay a ton of attention to those chapters. As Drew's delivery approached, I massively defaulted to my doctor to walk us through everything we needed to know. As for postpartum care, I took it day-by-day and only looked up the things I needed to know. That helped me to not over-think the whole birth experience, or get overwhelmed by postpartum life.
  4. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: I was given this book at one of our birth classes. It is similar to the What to Expect book (except it's a little outdated), yet contains more in-depth information. I'm keeping it because it's a good reference book to keep me from Googling symptoms on the internet!
  5. BabyWise: This book explains how to implement an "eat, play, sleep" routine with your baby, with the goal of helping baby to establish good sleep habits. In my opinion, the book is not organized very well, but the general idea is there. I use this blog more than the book, at this point. We are seeing great results with this method!
  6. BabyWise II: The second book focuses more on months 5 and up, as solid foods are introduced. It has really practical suggestions for getting started on solid foods, so even if you aren't a fan of (or aren't familiar with) the general Baby Wise method, this is still a great book to use when starting solids.
  7. What to Expect the First Year: another classic. Covers all the basics, very straightforward, and easy to read. Helps me to know what's coming next! I also continue to get the age-appropriate e-mails from their website.
  8. Wonder Weeks: I didn't read the WonderWeeks book, I just downloaded the app at the advice of a friend. After weeks of using this app, I can attest that it's pretty accurate! The book is based on the premise that babies go through development leaps during specific weeks, and obviously the more you know about each leap the easier it is to help your little one develop through that particular leap. Whenever Drew seems extra fussy, sure enough he's usually in a Wonder Week.
  9. Play: I know there is no shortage of blogs on Pinterest that have pages and pages of ideas on how to play with babies. I also know I have a brain, and have the creative ability to figure out how to play with my baby. Yet, I still find myself sitting around with Drew wondering what on earth I should be doing with him during our free time. I keep this book by the couch and love that I can just grab it whenever I'm drawing a blank. It's grouped by age, and has great photos to illustrate different activities. Once I get a few pages in, my creative juices always seem to come back to me and I am able to think of other activities to do that aren't necessarily in the book.
  10. The Growing Child: this is a book I received from the family I was nannying for while I was pregnant with Drew. It's more a collection of articles, arranged by age. The articles are short, sweet, and "no frills". It's a fun change of pace from the onslaught of information contained in most other baby raising books.
  11. Baby Sign Language Basics: This is mostly just a book of signs, with some explanation of how to implement. We also have a little chart in his room above his changing table (because before I teach him any signs, I have to know them myself!). We only plan on doing the really useful ones: more, all done, please, thank you, get the idea.
  12. Gospel Powered Parenting: I had to read this book when I was going through the deacon process in the Kids Ministry at our church. I highlighted almost every page (ever read a book like that?). This book reinforces the idea that our job as Christian parents is to show our kids who Jesus is through our words and actions; that our job as parents is not to be the best mom and dad in the world, but to show our kids that we all already have a perfect father. Kinda takes the pressure off a little, which I welcome!
  13. Shepherding a Child's Heart: I confess, I haven't actually read this yet. But it's very popular among our friends and family. I know it will be a good resource, based on recommendation alone, so it automatically makes the list.
Giving it grace: Let me preface this list (can it still be called a preface when I'm saying it after you've already read the list?) with the one book you wont see pictured above, but I refer to the most: the Bible. With the endless pages of research and opinions out there, we cling tightly to the word of God on how to best raise and care for Drew. That also reminds us that no author knows more than the Author of Life, and that's good news for us! That means if I read the wrong book, read the right blog now but apply it wrongly, or don't read the right article because I wasn't glued to my Facebook feed - God is still sovereign, and His perfectness covers all our human errors. A good parenting resource is hardly half the equation; we always rely on prayer and Godly counsel when making decisions about how to raise, care for, love and instruct Drew. A steady steam of prayer and Godly counsel from family and friends has calmed my first-time parent nerves in ways I never though possible, and I rely on it daily (and I openly admit I'm not above praying for him to poo when it's been seven days with no sign of life in his diaper!).

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