Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Book reviews

Here's what I've been reading lately:

Great Expectations by Sandy Jones and Marcie Jones

We were given this book from friends. It is our go-to guide for pregnancy. We have others, and definitely consult What to Expect when we have questions, but Great Expectation really seems to have everything we need in a very straight-forward manner. It also has a very nice section on childbirth that explains what is happening in your body, the stages of labor, and the various medical interventions that are typically done, why the interventions are done, and the pros and cons of each intervention. Then there is a very nice and concise section on new born care, and a section on breastfeeding. It's a great book that I would definitely recommend to anyone.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

This book was recommended by our Birth Works instructor and was read by many people we know. I think it was a useful book, all about natural childbirth. It's not big on details as much as convincing you that you really can do it. The first half is various birth accounts that of births mostly performed by Ina May on the commune that Ina May lives on (The Farm). Sometimes you feel like you are reading a long advertisement for The Farm, reading about how women were repeatedly mistreated until they found The Farm. You start to think, well that's great, but I'm not giving birth in TN, so... But the general themes seem to be the power of positive thinking, the importance of being somewhere that makes you feel comfortable, and the importance of being surrounded by people who support you and that you trust. All in all, I think it was a good book to read, but not the most amazing book ever like some people seem to think.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League

This book was recommended by La Leche League (no surprise there). It's got some really useful and practical information about breastfeeding, so I've learned a lot from it. But sometimes I feel like I'm reading a book from the 1950's. It's continually stressing the importance of the birth mother/child bond, barely mentioning the partner at all. In the chapter on housekeeping there is a paragraph about getting dad to help out. There is a lot of talk about going back to work if you have to, but basically it would be better if you could stay home because the baby needs you, and there is no mention at all of the partner staying home. Also, it's continually stressing that fresh milk from your breast is much better than pumped milk, so it seems to be saying 'don't pump unless you have to'. The way the book is written seems like it would add to a lot of mother's guilt to some women when they do choose to go back to work. I've learned a lot about breastfeeding from it but I don't think I would recommend this book to anyone else. I'm sure you could get this information elsewhere.

K is reading The Birth Partner by Peggy Simkin, recommended by our Birth Works instructor and friends of ours. She's also reading about the basics of child care - Caring for Your Baby and Young Child Birth to Age 5 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (a hand-me-down from my sister) and The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears (a gift from her co-worker).

Up next on my list are Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor and Kathleen Huggins (recommended by The Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington and by friends), Vegetarian Baby by Sharon Yntema and The Vegetarian Mother and Baby Book by Rose Elliot (both hand-me-downs from a friend).

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