Pregnancy books:

From the Hips is the best pregnancy book out there. It also has stuff on labor and delivery and raising an infant as well, which is totally great.

 I recommend the Mayo Clinic's guide to pregnancy. It is technical, but helpful. A kind of by-the-book Western medicine approach, but a good reference guide. A good Western/alternative mix is "The Whole Pregnancy Handbook: An Obstetrician's Guide to Integrating Conventional and Alternative Medicine Before, During, and After Pregnancy" by Joel Evans. But all of these books have tremendous overlap, so if you have three different books, you likely have all of them.

One really helpful book was the "The Eco-nomical Baby GuideDown-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet" - borrow this one from the library. Its a fast read, and a lot of it is common-sense, but it gets you thinking in the mindset. And take their advice! Babies don't need new (except for cribs and sometimes carseats) and they might grow out of it tomorrow or hate every piece of gear you get them. Much better to borrow, hit Craigslist, or find a mom's group you can swap stuff with. That book in particular is also a good explainer on types of cloth diapers.

 A fun read that I totally recommend is "Baby Catcher". It is the experiences of a midwife, who worked during the generation before us. But it is still really relevant in some ways. And makes being a little bit off the beaten path seem not at all extreme. Its also just nice to have a light book with stories and somewhat of a plot in the mix of all these information manuals.

 Okay, and last one, which is just interesting: "Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives" – A friend recommended it to me after she read it for a grad school class on early childhood education. It just lets you know things that might affect the baby during pregnancy without making you wig out. Probably the only thing I changed because of it was that I added a DHA pill to my regular prenatal multivitamins. But it was super interesting to learn about cause and effect of so much stuff - and the history of civilization through pregnancies.

 

Child-rearing books:

No Cry Sleep Solution is almost the opposite of On Becoming Baby Wise in some respects, which is all about timed periods of sleep and wake. I checked it out from the library. We still use some of her no-cry suggestions for Soren's bedtime. I think this is probably the book I used the most for his sleep, long-term. Lots of info about routines, etc. The one most important to thing to know is that the daytime order is Sleep, Eat, Play – NOT Eat, Sleep, Play.

 

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – I ordered this at midnight one night for overnight delivery I was so desperate. It is a fantastic resource from day one through weaning. Every breastfeeding mother must have this for reference.

 

Nursing Mother, Working MotherKind of old, but good info about pumping and breastfeeding with an 8 hour+ workday. Acknowledges some realities that the Womanly Art book doesn’t.

 

How Eskimos Keep their Babies WarmNot a parenting manual per se, but an interesting book about the way different cultures view child-rearing, written by a journalist mother. Super quick read. Covers things like baby-carrying via the anti-stroller society of Kenya, potty-training in China (all 18 month olds are potty-trained), child-led play in Polynesia, etc. I'd definitely recommend it.

 

Take advantage of your reading time while you have it! Though you'll also have one-handed time while nursing.