Wednesday, November 30, 2011

on baby books

To continue on with the birthing topic this week, I thought I would share with you a list of the books I had found most helpful during the course of pregnancy and during that first year. I do think that on the topic of birth you can never be too informed. It is a special time and one not entirely in our control. 

After two natural, straight forward, but incredibly painful births, I wanted to aim for something different with the third. Reading helped me to change my mindset which in turn did give me the outcome I was hoping for.  Here are my favourite titles. Of course, I did not always agree with absolutely everything written, as I think all writing is best taken with a grain of salt. I believe that you take the information that is useful to you, your baby, partner and your instincts.

Active Birth - This classic explains why upright birthing is so much better for the birthing process than lying on a bed. Details of positions and exercises to practice.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - I honestly thought this was a bit "out there" at first, but this book really changed my whole outlook on the process.
Very highly recommended.

The Natural Way series - (scroll down the link page )babies, pregnancy birth - Great reading for a natural approach and an Australian perspective.

Birth Right - written by an Australian midwife, I picked this up at a discounted shop, but it was really well written and informative.

Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering (not pictured)  - though I borrowed this one from the library, this one was also very informative. 

The Happiest Baby on the Block - Practical and revealing on the topic of newborns, colic and adjusting to the outside world.

The Baby Book - Big on attachment parenting and covering a wide range of topics on babies first two years. A great reference on the developmental stages.

What were/are your favourite titles?


  1. Great list! As we prepare for our second birth, I have been reading Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin... It's the same copy my mum used when she had us six kids, and very battered and at times dated (VERY hippy - as were my parents!).

    But despite the, as you put it, 'out there' stuff (and some of the phrases they use), it's really like solid gold! Those midwives really knew what they were doing. I just hope that some of it comes back to me during my labour as some of the techniques they use sound brilliant...

    Thanks for these recommendations, I'll be hunting some of these down in our local library :-)

  2. I had Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery when my kids were born (27 and 24 years ago), and I loaned it out so many times that it ended up having to live in a plastic bag because the pages were all falling out! It comes across as so out there cosmic hippy but it works. Both my births had complications so I was glad to be in a hospital, but they were drug free, and an awesome experience, right up till the babies were born.

  3. That's a great collection you have there! I have lots of science, midwifery and research related books and a few books like this. Spiritual Midwifery is one of the best. It's the perfect book for transforming beliefs and attitudes. I also love Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. For something different, I would recommend the Orgasmic Birth DVD. The title is a bit offputting for some (it makes me giggle!)...but it's an inspiring documentary. I can't say that I read much when I'm pregnant. I tend to listen and trust my body and feelings more...and perhaps because of my's much better for me to relax into this space instead of filling my head with more knowledge.

  4. Spiritual Midwifery was one my most favourite books too. I had quite a collection of pregnancy/birthing books when I studied to be a Midwife...gosh that seems like such a long time ago now, but gifted them on when we moved to OZ. Ina May, Janet Balaskas and Sheila Kitzinger are probably my favourite authors on these subjects.
    Having experienced both medicated (through complications) and drug free labours, drug free are by far my easiest experience as you are more in control.
    I agree that any info/advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt :)


  5. I really loved 'Active Birth' and all the books by Naish and Roberts (although I did not agree with everything they said). But the best book I found was 'Labour of love' by Gabrielle Targett. (Once you get past the swimming with dolphins part!)

  6. Ooh, I do love a good birthing story! That's a lot of reading you got there and it's good to know that it has helped you, I don't think you can ever get to much advice on this particular topic! I never read anything other than my week by week, step by step pregnancy/birthing book I bought when I was first pregnant with my now 13 year old son. I had one of those typical textbook pregnancies but the birth itself was like nothing I had expected and nothing I could have prepared myself for. Complications and medications but luckily in the end a good outcome for all. Maybe in hindsight, a bit of research may have helped me relax a bit more!!!
    So, I'm a bit of a "Wing it" kind a girl... All of my births have been completely different experiences, I did do a bit of research about visualisation on the internet once and I think that has given me a little more control over the whole situation. My labours/births are pretty uncomplicated and quick these days with the last one 'popping' out within the hour. I'm a bit scared about this next one, Anything in those books about delivering your own baby?

  7. Highly recommend Robin Grille's books - Parenting for a Peaceful World and Heart to Heart Parenting - fantastic resources on how to bring up emotional inteligent, well attached children...and how to deal with your own emotions as a parent from birth and beyond!

  8. I've been very fortunate to have two natural and drug free births. The second one - only 7 months ago - was far too quick to even think about pain relief, it was less than an hour and a half from the first contraction to the birth and she was very nearly born in the hospital carpark. However, I did do quite a bit of research and preparation the first time around to reach this goal of drug free natural births. I used the Pink Kit which was a fantastic and very practical resource from New Zealand. I was skeptical of some parts but in the end those bits were the most useful. I also read 'Having a great birth in Australia' as I had been bombarded with other women's horror birth stories and needed some positive ones to even the balance (why do some women insist on telling these stories to other pregnant women, esp first-time pregnant?) Finally I'm a Pinky McKay fan, especially Heart to Heart Parenting.

  9. sears was my saviour after bub arrived. having a mum give me a scary sleep training book i winced and quickly found the baby book. never looked back! spiritual midwifery is on my list for when number two is planted! x ashley

  10. top of my list is 'Spiritual midwifery' by Ina May. Also, 'Childbirth without Fear' by Grantly Dick-Read (really old book) was the first book I read -while pregnant with my first - that opened my eyes to the fact that birth didn't necessarily have to be anything like the media portrays :)
    my 4th birth was wonderful as i decided to really FEEL each contraction, go right into it and with it (as if i had to try to describe what it felt like to someone else) and honestly it was SO much less painful. almost painfree in fact. YAY!!



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