I was pretty lucky when it came to baby books, I didn't go out and buy 100s to them like a few, I was given some fabulous recommendations from friends, went out and bought just those and loved them. Gina Ford being the one I took to the most. I had never heard of her and when I googled her there was immediately controversy around her name. I had 4 good friends and my cousin who swore by her but them lots of opposition to her on the internet, saying things likes 'how can someone who has never had a baby write a baby book'. The point is she is a midwife and has helped raise 100s of children and help countless parents with feeding and sleeping issues by going into their homes and solving bad habits. A milder version of her system is the Tracy Hogg's Baby Whisperer....any more on these below.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE EXPECTING by Heidi Murkuff, Arlene Eisenberg & Sandee Hathaway - this was like a manual more than a book. Chapters are divided into Months of your pregnancy "The First Month, The Second Month etc...) Each month outlines the development of your baby, and what symptoms you might be having and also addresses some more common concerns mother's have had in the past. Some of the sections are QUESTIONS....eg a question posed by a mother and then the reply. I used to put a star next to any symptoms that I was having. It's funny looking back at it now as there is a red star for Isabelle and a blue star for Sebastien and you can see how different pregnancies can be. At the back there is a section on notes for each month, it's fun reading those again too. Chapter 14 covers labour and delivery, Chapter 15 looks at the first week after birth, and Chapter 6 looks at the next 6 weeks. Chapter 17 is for dads. MAKE YOUR PARTNER READ THIS !! The last few chapters looks at things like illness during pregnancy, what if something feels wrong and also preparing for the next baby.
THE NEW CONTENDED LITTLE BABY BOOK by GINA FORD: she's written a whole host of books, the best one to read whilst pregnant is this one. This book is all about setting out the routine for your baby in the first year. She covers principles of sleep, how much and when to feed your baby. The whole idea behind the book is to have a baby that feeds enough during the day, and sleeps the correct amount during the day (the focus being not to let a child sleep more than the recommended hours for his age at daytime) to ENSURE that your baby sleeps through the night as soon as possible. On her routine Isabelle was sleeping through the night at 9wks and Sebastien at 12 wks. She does use controlled crying to instil good sleeping habits (ie a child that doesn't beed a sleeping aid like being rocked to sleep, given a dummy etc). And she does say that you have to limit a child's daytime sleep to ensure they sleep well at night (and this does mean waking up a sleeping baby when nap time is over - hence some of the controversy around her system). I swear by her however.
THE COMPLETE SLEEP GUIDE by GINA FORD - this goes into more detail about sleep. Problem areas tend to be early morning waking, middle of the night waking, difficulty with the lunch time nap and she addresses these in detail with case studies. They really helped me, I had early morning rising issues with Isabelle and when she recommended reducing the lunch time nap (which didn't seem in any way related to me) suddenly the problem stopped. HONESTLY IT WORKS !
THE CONTENDED LITTLE BOOK OF WEANING by GINA FORD - again in this book she covers the details around weaning, how to start in the first few days and weeks and how it all relates to their sleep patterns. With Gina Ford there is always a 10.30pm feed and she guides you through how once weaning is fully established you can drop this 10.30pm feed. Up until this stage your baby will be sleeping from 11pm to 7am. IT IS AT THIS STAGE WHEN THIS 10.30PM FEED IS DROPPED THAT YOUR BABY WILL SLEEP FROM 7PM TO 7AM !!! and it works !
SECRETS OF THE BABY WHISPERER by TRACY HOGG. Hogg has a softer approach to schedules but nonetheless also believes that children thrive on routine. I loved this book and found it so much more gentle than Gin Ford, having said that I followed Gina Ford's schedules but with some of Tracy Hogg's principles; and to both I added what worked for me, which really is what it's all about
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD IS SICK by PROFESSOR MIDDLETON, DR RATCHFORD, DR MACKENZIE, DR SMITH. This book is great as a fast reference at home. The first chapter gives you some basics on anatomy & physiology; basics on how the body works. I didn't really use this book much in the first year; instead I ran to the doctor at the first sign of anything. Eventually however you will use it. It covers all the basics as well as a good CPR section.
HE'S HAVING A BABY by JACK O'SULLIVAN. This book is just a bit of fun for dads. It lets them have something on their bedside table too even though it won't match your pile. It's not a detailed book but skims the A-Z surface. Everything from early planning, to spotting labour pains right through to how to deal with a tiny new baby & nappy changing (lots of photos !!).
WHAT TO EXPECT THE FIRST YEAR by Heidi Murkuff, Arlene Eisenberg & Sandee Hathaway . This is from the same "what to expect' series. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE EXPECTING covers you up to the birth. This books covers the first year month by month much in the same style and ....
WHAT TO EXPECT THE TODDLER YEARS by HEIDI MURKOFF covers you for the toddler years. This whole series is a great manual on all the basic principles; no one's system, just some plane facts on growth, development, illness you name it.
THE CONTENDED TODDLER YEARS by GINA FORD and POTTY TRAINING IN A WEEK by GINA FORD are great for toddlers. She expands on the routines to cater for your toddler AND the potty training method she employes also works. I started Isabelle on it quite young; she was 18 mths old when we started and given that she was so young it actually took us 10 days and not 7 days. When we went out we still used pull ups (which Gina Ford doesn't agree with on the basis that you can't tell a child they shouldn't wet themselves and then have occasions when they are allowed to because they are in pull up - mixed messages that they are not old enough to process. She teaches potty training on the sole basis of deciphering wet from dry). However we did still have occasions we used pull ups and whilst they were dry 90% of the time we had occasional accidents. By the time Isabelle was 20mths old we had lost the pull ups too and she was FULLY potty trained
THE CONTENDED BABY WITH TODDLER BOOK by GINA FORD. This book was a godsend. I remember thinking 'good lord now that I am pregnant with baby two I have to go through Gina Ford's baby schedule and merge it with her toddler schedule and somehow make it all work.....AND THEN I SPOTTED THIS BOOK. It sounds very silly but honestly it was one of the best days ever! The relief that someone else had done the hard work was overwhelming. And true to form it works and we still follow it.
SECRETS OF THE BABY WHISPERER FOR TODDLERS by TRACY HOGG. Again another wonderful book by Tracy Hogg on toddler sensibilities and how to deal with them without pulling your hair out. Better than this for me was
NEW TODDLER TAMING by DR CHRISTOPHER GREEN. I really loved this book and still use it as a guide with Isabelle. It was recommended to me by our wonderful paediatrician in London Dr Stanley Rom who is a total gem by the way
www.contentedbaby.com or www.contentedtoddler.com - you can join with an annual fee and access a multitude of case studies to help. A god send. Highly recommended.
www.babycenter.com - you can register for free and they will send you a newsletter each week on the progress of your pregnancy or even after the birth on the progress of your baby (what to expect type stuff) I loved receiving their emails !! Highly recommended