when I first got pregnant, I was torn about reading baby books. I thought I would just ask my friends who had babies what they did and what worked, instead of spending time ready books. quickly, I realized, that every single baby is different (and thus, my friends' opinions and what they did with their children were very different.) and eventually, my baby would be different.
I was starting to get confused from all the conflicting advice.
SO, I decided to just read some of the books that were recommended by friends and draw my own conclusions. everyone is going to pick out bits and pieces they find helpful or convincing. no two people read the same book and have the same takeaways.
what I've found out is that while, yes, the books give you practical tips to use when your little bundle of joy arrives, it's less the practical tips (because who knows if you'll be able to apply those to your baby), it's more so just reading about different situations that are possible. a lot of the books share stories of real families who struggled with issues (like colicky babies) and it's comforting to learn about all the stages of a baby's early days, weeks, and months - and what can possibly go good/bad.
I basically have zero experience with babies. my sister-in-law had a baby two years ago and I got to spend some time with the baby, but then they moved out of the area, so we ended up not seeing the baby nearly enough. I've only held three babies in my entire life and I have absolutely no idea to expect - until I started reading! at the very least, reading has made me think of various scenarios and taught me more about what to expect from the baby.
one of the things that bothers me most is when someone with kids says, "oh don't waste your time reading the books!" it really bugs me, because whatever way helps you prepare for your baby should be the way you proceed. don't let anyone tell you what to do or not to do in your pregnancy - if it comforts you to read (like it does for me), then do it! besides, they're not the ones that are going to be up with you all through the night for those feedings!
the books I'm reading now
Real Food for Mother and Baby - this was recommended by my friend Julia over at The Lemon Stripes. I was actually looking for a book about the importance of eating healthy during pregnancy and about how to introduce foods into your baby's diet when I saw her recommendation. I'm only a few pages in! although solids are months and months away, I still want to know as much as I can so I can build my own plan for the baby.
Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old - this was recommended by two of Lu's friends that have had success with it. I still don't feel comfortable with this whole idea of getting your baby to sleep and I'm confused by when is too soon to start instilling sleep patterns in your baby, so I'm looking forward to reading this one, since I haven't yet read any books on sleep training/sleeping in general.
the books I've read already
Bringing Up Bébé: this book is more of a memoir-style book, about an American woman who moves to Paris for work and her and her husband have their children there. they notice the stark differences between parenting amongst the French and Americans. I absolutely loved this book. it was a great read for those looking for a less practical read and more of a read about 'philosophies of parenting.' Lu and I are totally on board with the "the baby enters your lives, you don't enter the baby's life" mentality and this book was ALL about that. plus, the main doctor is the one who founded our potential pediatrician's practice!
Happiest Baby On The Block: this was a great read and was full of so many practical tips and stories about babies. after reading it, I was like, "I think I can handle a crying baby!" it definitely fills you with confidence. it's all about how to soothe a crying baby - it talks of the 5 S's. I can't recommend it enough - and I'll let you know if it 'works'. ;-)