Recommended Reading and Skipping

Recommended Reading: If You Can Only Read FOUR Books…!

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman
    This book is a definite must-read for anyone planning on having a baby. It talks about natural birth, all the many benefits of breastfeeding, infant latching and attachment, breastfeeding troubleshooting and problems, support and answers to many breastfeeding questions, infant sleep habits and hormones, introducing solids, and more. There also is a great toolkit resource in the back of the book with topics on laid-back breastfeeding (Biological Nurturing), breastmilk storage, and (my favorite) what it means if your baby is gulping, grimacing, or not gaining as much weight as she should.
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley, MD (2009)
    This is one of my favorite books! Written by one of the biggest names in the natural childbirth field, this book offers a beautiful analysis of natural childbirth with thorough documentation from the scientific literature. She covers topics like pregnancy and birth hormones in mother and baby, parenting, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping.Natural Childbirth the Bradley® Way by Susan McCutcheon, AAHCC (1996)
    This is a great resource for moms to learn about preparing for and successfully achieving a drug-free birth. It’s full of information about The Bradley Method®, including the difference between Bradley and Lamaze, pregnancy exercises for childbirth, nutrition in pregnancy, the harm of common hospital interventions in labor, laboring and birthing positions, breathing, relaxation, and visualization. This book (although originally written and illustrated back in the 1980s) offers a great “how-to” for achieving a fulfilling, natural birth.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler (1999); or, A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth by Murray Enkin et al (2000)
    Both of these books offer great information based on the medical studies and scientific literature about cesareans, ultrasound, gestational diabetes, breech babies, inductions, intravenous fluids, electronic fetal monitoring, artificial rupture of membranes, epidurals, doulas, and more.

Recommended Skipping: Books That Do More Harm Than Good

On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam
Please read this article entitled “‘Babywise’ Linked to Babies’ Dehydration, Failure to Thrive” by Matthew Aney, M.D. Originally published in AAP [the American Academy of Pediatrics] News (Vol. 14 No. 4 April 1998, p. 21), the full-text of the article is available  from Peaceful Parenting’s website, DrMomma.org. As a side note, please avoid ANY book that tells you to not listen to the advice of medically trained professionals (Babywise warns its readers to not trust or research the professional opinions of Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultants, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, your own motherly instincts, and others.). Please always research both sides–especially if one side is telling you not to listen to the ther side! Further information is provided at Ezzo.info and DrMomma.org.
The What to Expect series by Arlene Eisenberg et al
These books are full of almost every pregnancy and birthing complication (ones you will probably NEVER have), preparation for and adoration of highly-managed pregnancies and medicalized births, and medically unsound breastfeeding and early parenting advice–including how breastfeeding has no benefits past a year and how mothers should let their babies cry (both of these statements are not true according to the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics). Also, none of the author’s advice is backed by scientific documentation, and their claims are frequently inaccurate and often unnecessary. Reading these books give you a big serving of the mainstream baloney that creates a fear of natural pregnancy and unintervened birth as well as a distrust and distaste of natural and gentle mothering.