Parenting/Child development books

With the ETA on our first kid ticking down, I figure I better put some effort in preparing for parenthood beyond buying overpriced baby crap and rushing through my games backlog. So does anyone have any good recommendation for parenting books? Preferably those, uh, practical and scientific? Or anything you’ve found useful, really.

My top 2:

Sears & Sears, The Baby Book.
Huggins, The Nursing Mother’s Companion.

It’s been a while but the “What to expect…” series were popular when we were having kids and helped build the illusion that we were prepared. I think it is useful to absorb a broad set of advice and experiences, but don’t get uptight about finding and adhering to the One True Way of parenting. Wanting to do your best and not panicking over your mistakes should be plenty.

More child development, but What’s Going on in There? was highly recommended by my geeky overeducated friends who are parents. Ten years old, so some of the information may no longer be current, but probably more up to date than a lot of the “Homespun Wisdom” stuff out there.

I second collecting a variety of viewpoints, because you might think you are going to do things one way and discover that your little person has entirely different needs.

+1 for What’s Going on in There?

In general, I prefer child development books to parenting books. I’ve found that knowing what is going on in their brains makes it easier to be understanding and respectful during difficult/weird/loud parts of development.

To paraphrase the utterly hilarious-but-useful Poo Bomb, read many multiple sources of parenting advice. If they all say the same thing, lend it some credence. If they all say something different, do what feels right to you – because everyone else is grinding his own axe, and you know best.

That said, my wife and I found Heading Home With Your Newborn which is a no-nonsense book written by two practicing pediatricians to be a useful and comforting read in the days before and after we took our little one home for the first time.

Thanks everyone, I’ll definitely check out all the books mentioned. On the child development front, are there any other reputable books to go along with What’s Going on in There?

That was one of the required reading books in my Newborn Care Specialist certification course. I like that one as well!

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was recently recommended to me, and I’ll second the recommend.

(I’ve come to realize that newborns not only feed on mother’s milk/formula, but also on the sleep of their parents – the baby needs your vital sleep energies to develop properly. Note: this theory is not in the above book, but it should be)

Happiest Baby on the Block (available on DVD for the sleep deprived!). Its simple, you don’t even need to read the whole book, quite frankly it could be a leaflet. It’s awesome though.

The Baby Owner’s Manual. A quick reference guide, handy to have lying around for those panicky moments where you can’t remember how to do something. Humorous, useful, no need to read it all the way through.

I very strongly second the suggestion from the poo bomb article, of finding your own way. A million people are going to start questioning your parenting choices, offering unsolicited advice, and possibly even judging you. Ignore them. Do what suits your baby and you.

I bought about twenty different child development books (inc What’s Going on in There) and never finished reading any of them, because I appear to have developed some kind of maternal ADD.

I’m the opposite. I’ve been reading about pregnancy, labor, and parenting nonstop. I even picked up a vintage Spock book… but that one, I just haven’t had the heart to open.

Also strongly recommending this one. The only child development book I read that was actually interesting. You may end up deciding to take you baby for a spin in an office chair every day though after reading it.

Dr. Eliot has another book called Pink Brain, Blue Brain which is pretty great if you’re interested in gender development at all. Dispels a lot of recent myths about sex differences as well as covering a lot of general development topics. It’s probably worth mentioning this book does spend a lot of time shooting down other people’s crackpot theories, which is interesting but won’t teach you much.

Yeah, this has some good advice, but good lord does it repeat itself.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is popular due to its promotion of hysterical, irrational fears during an emotionally uncertain time for expecting mothers. It is roughly 8,000 pages that suggest that if the child’s mother’s feet are slightly swollen, or if she’s experiencing minor headaches, she might have any number of rare and lethally deadly conditions…(but probably doesn’t.)

Despite its popularity, the book is built more on preying on fear than on useful, concise advice. Avoid.

“What to Expect” is a terrible cover-to-cover read. However, I found it to be a very good reference-type book.

Ha, I don’t recall picking up on any “Another 100 Things That Will Kill Your Baby” type stuff from What To Expect, but that’s exactly the kind of thing I’d ignore or forget. Like stepsongrapes says, it was convenient for flipping open randomly and reading for a few minutes at a time.

I’m a few chapters into “What’s Going on In There” (my wife’s reading The Baby Book for a more practical education.) It feels like I’m going to have to help my baby grind for stats. Daily baby massage, maybe some chair spinning for vestibular stimulation…never any good drops…

I haven’t read the whole thing, but I recommend this book on the grounds that Winnicott is, IMHO, one of the great psychoanalysts on the C20th, and the book is on the general topic you’re looking at. FWIW.

We’re also expecting our first. Somebody recommended and then gave us The Gay Uncle’s Guide To Parenting (link). It’s pretty hilarious but also offers what I would consider to be good advice from somebody who spent a lot of time working with children. Oh yeah – my wife’s cousin, with 2 kids, claims this is the best parenting book that she read.

Some excerpts:

In reference to a friend who never goes out anymore but that the author and his boyfriend manage to drag out:

“Well, that twenty-minute monologue you delivered while we were waiting for our drinks? It was an annotated history of Seymour’s recent bowel movements.”
Ever the polite one, Tal perked up. “Not that it wasn’t interesting. Really. I never knew that thing about the protective enzyme around corn kernels that keeps them from being processed by our digestive system.”
“It would have been more interesting,” I said, “if we weren’t eating corn salsa.”

… and on talking to parents, just met …

… Our friend Bridget says it’s easy to find parents to talk to about superficial things – like her son’t school schedule or his tantrums in the grocery store – but that when she tris to open up, saying things like “I kind of miss the occasional bump of cocaine,” people tend to put their hands up in surrender and back away…

Ok, maybe it was funnier when I was reading it, but it’s definitely straightforward and honest, it’s an easy read, and it does have some solid advice for dealing with difficult problems.