As the saying goes, it takes a village. These days, most of us don’t have that kind of support in our lives. Maybe your family lives too far away or you don’t know many other parents. Maybe you and your partner both have to work full-time to make ends meet. Whatever your situation, you likely will need to go out and get the help you need. I think PEPS is the best resource for the new parents, but there are a few others worth mentioning, too.
I can’t speak highly enough of this place. It has a class or support group for just about everything, and the instructors are the best of the best. During pregnancy and after Gus was born, I took several classes here, including cloth diapering, EC, and Music and Play for Babies. They keep offering more and new classes on so many topics, you’re bound to find something you need.
I also spent a lot of time there in support groups. During our breastfeeding trials, I went to their weekly Breastfeeding 9-1-1 group every Friday. They have a regular sleep group, too, as well as age-specific groups support groups. The fees are very reasonable and the people are fantastic. I don’t get to go there anymore due to work, but if you have the time, it’s worth getting out of the house for one of their First Weeks groups.
Birth and Postpartum Doulas
Doulas can play a valuable role in your birth experience and postpartum adjustment. A birth doula can help you and your partner stick with your plan, advocate for you when needed, and generally just be a huge support during an awesome experience. A postpartum doula can help with laundry and chores, meal preparation, and also with newborn care and new mama care. Either or both would be a worthy investment. Check out dona.org for help finding a doula in your area, or get recommendations from friends, healthcare providers, or any of the resources listed here.
My Best Books for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenthood
These are the books that I will keep in my collection forever (though if you want to borrow one, just ask!) I think they are the most well balanced and informative books for all stages of the parenthood adventure.
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: One of the authors of this book, Penny Simkin, is my hero – we took her childbirth preparation class, and she is amazing. This book provides all the information and tools to make informed choices about your birth experience.
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: A collection of touching and awesome natural birth stories, followed by a practical guide to a rewarding natural birth experience. This book helped me make a lot of decisions about Gus’s birth.
- The Birth Partner: Another Penny Simkin book, this one focuses on the role of your partner in the childbirth experience.
- Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method: If you are going to have one thing in your childbirth toolbox, this is it. You don’t have to get all new age crazy to appreciate the relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to help keep you relaxed and focused during childbirth.
- The Sears Baby Book: It’s an encyclopaedia of newborn baby information, and being Sears, it is heavily weighed towards Attachment Parenting.
- Baby 4-1-1: Really easy Q&A book for all those questions – red flags for illnesses, what to do with a fever, what’s normal and what’s not. I used this book constantly!
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: The book on breastfeeding. I can’t even count the number of times I heard someone recommend this book to me. So now I’m recommending it to you!
- The Happiest Baby On The Block: There is a video that I heard is good, too. This has great techniques for calming your newborn. Make sure you have those extra large swaddling blankets!
- And finally, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems: If you haven’t heard of Ferber yet, you will. I found this book to be thoughtful and appropriate for our family, and it helped us through a lot of sleep challenges during the first year.
- Kellymom.com - the only breastfeeding resource you will need.
- Peaceful Parenting – really lovely blog about Attachment Parenting.
- Wholesome Homemade Baby Food – great info on preparing your own baby food, food charts by age, and easy recipes.
- Babysteals.com – daily deals on quality items. I bought my new Ergo here for 50% off retail price.
Just for Fun – blogs and other internet goodness
- Some things you may not want to know about pregnancy and childbirth – funny, funny, funny – this always cracks me up!
- Sex, Lies, and the Postpartum Years – very helpful – moms and dads should read this! Sex is such a difficult topic postpartum, and this article really put things in perspective for me.
- Ask Moxie - a useful site with parenting advice.
- Pregnant Chicken – one of the funniest blog on the subject of pregnancy and parenthood.