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Top 10 Pregnancy + Parenting Reads

Anyone who knows me knows my Type-A personality has the tendency to get a little anxious and a tad controlling. You know what doesn’t help that? The Internet. Like the time I searched “pain in my right side 20 weeks pregnant,” and ended up diagnosing myself with death. (Oops.) At that point I made the wise choice to ditch the Googling and switch to books instead.

Full disclosure: I haven’t finished all ten of these yet. Blame pregnancy brain, but lately I’ve had a hard time starting something and actually finishing it. There’s also a few on this list that are about baby’s first year, but I’m focused on making it through labor before I get to those. All of these books have some sort of central theme that is really important to me like plant-based eating, Montessori Education, natural childbirth and keeping life more simple. Sure, you can pick up “What To Expect When You Are Expecting” but I guarantee you that this list of books will knock your socks off. Enjoy!

The Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone

“A simple guide to supercharged fertility, a radiant pregnancy, a sweeter birth, and a healthier, more beautiful beginning.” What more do I need to add really? I was already pregnant when I started reading this book but I love how Alicia talks about “cleaning up your baby house”. She does talk about foods I had never heard of, but it turns out a trip to the Asian Market sorted that out. I have enjoyed all the nutritional information that focuses on a plant-based diet and includes information about water, vitamins and the hot topic, sugar. I am looking forward to reading the chapters about birth, diapering and baby food. The pictures of her family are also just gorgeous. That’s a bonus.

Common Sense Pregnancy by Jeanne Faulkner, RN.

“Splurge on activities over stuff, because the toys will break but the memories you create together as a family will be there for a lifetime.” Sounds like such simple advice. That’s because it is. This really is one of the most down to earth pregnancy and parenting reads you can find. It feels like I read this book so long ago (in February I think? Thanks Ensley!!) but have all sorts of good stuff highlighted throughout the book. “Somewhere along the line, we became the child-centered, consumer-driven society we are today, and marketers discovered that parents will buy all kinds of crap thinking they need it to raise a superior child.” #micdrop

Among other things, this book talks about finding care providers, choosing where you want to have your baby, your pregnant body, labor, medical bumps along the way and postpartum healing. It was great skimming through it again this week as I wrote this post. I can’t say enough good things about this book. So simple and sweet.

Many people recommended this book to me and I finally got my hands on a copy (thanks Lindsey!) and am almost half way through! The first half of the book is woman’s birth stories from women that have delivered with Ina May on her farm in southern Tennessee. These are fascinating accounts of the many ways that babies enter the world. Woman are warriors, however their babies came to rest in their hands.

I’m looking forward to finishing it up (hopefully this week!) with Part II “The essentials of giving birth.”

Positive Discipline, The First Three Years by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy

My husband, Daniel, and I have been reading this one aloud and it took quite a while to get into but push through the seemly long introduction chapters and get to the good stuff guys. It’s definitely worth it. Parenting honestly sounds like something I want to do when I read this book. I know it’s not always going to go perfectly but these scenarios are so helpful for giving you a great vocabulary to use when problem solving with your child. This book covers so many topics from dealing with tantrums, understanding age-appropriate behavior, and food issues to sharing and finding quality child care.

I absolutely loved using some of the Positive Discipline techniques in my classroom as an elementary school teacher. The children responded so well and I couldn’t believe I had ever taught without it.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey

Make It Happen is the story of how I surrendered my fear, took the leap, and got a life. In my case, a perfectly imperfect, fulfilling life as a mama, a working woman, and a grateful wife. This is the story of how I chose to make ‘it’ – a greater purpose than mine- happen, and how you can too.”

Rachel gave me this book (thank you!) and I am so excited to read it. Yes, I haven’t started this one yet but I wanted to keep it on this list because I am going to get to it. I think I just need to finish up some of the others that deal with birth…one step at a time. I don’t read a lot of ‘Christian’ books (besides the Bible, lol) but I absolutely loved this description of the book and and know I’m going to be encouraged along my new journey to motherhood as well as a blogger and potentially teaching yoga. Boom!

Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley, M.D.

I’m SO excited for Daniel to be my “birthing coach”. We met because he was my field hockey coach in college and has coached me in golf and tennis since. He is an amazing support and loves me and this child, so naturally he is the perfect person to do this. I love his strong arms (Kendra stop here before you go too far) and his comforting pat on the back relaxes me instantly. We have enjoyed reading this one aloud together, even though it takes double the time it would take for me to read it by myself. I’m looking forward to having him right by my side every step of the way.

Montessori From The Start by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen

I absolutely LOVE the Montessori method. Dr. Maria Montessori was a groundbreaking Italian physician and educator. Her advocacy of hands-on-learning and self-discovery led to an education philosophy that is as successful today as it was in the 1890’s. I am so grateful to have been introduced to the Montessori method here in Charlotte through being a teacher assistant and lead teacher at Chantilly Montessori. I love the emphasis on tactile, differentiated learning and I am excited to use this book to implement similar principles here at home with baby from birth to age three. I have so much highlighted that I might as well have just dipped the whole book in yellow paint.

I know you can google names but there is nothing quite like paging through names by decade and country as well as alphabetically with name meanings. I loved circling names, looking at variations and meanings and mixing first and middles for unique combinations. There are over 60,000 names and I probably only circled 8 boys names total. Haha. Girls names, no problem: I had tons.

The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

This is not your typical “pregnancy and parenting” read at all, but I absolutely loved reading it for my yoga teacher training certification this summer so it’s on this list too. It’s made me a better wife so I know that will help me be a better parent. I won’t spoil it by telling you the four agreements, you just need to read these for yourself. It’s a thin, quick read and the messages are so simple, but so easily forgotten. I need to write the four agreements down and stick them on my fridge. They’re that simple and that good.

Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock, M.D. (Updated  and revised by Robert Needleman, M.D.)

I really love that Dr. Spock revised his books to note that a plant-based diet is favorable for everyone, including children. I’m looking forward to reading more of this (after I conquer all the pregnancy ones) as baby grows and develops. This is the opposite of “The Four Agreements.” This is 1000 pages of the smallest writing I’ve ever seen in my life. But, a great reference for how to handle feeding, crying, sleeping, diapering…and that’s just some of the topics covered in the first three months. Whew.

What parenting, pregnancy, and personal growth books have you enjoyed? I’d love to add to my library!

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Hi, I'm Kendra

I am a qualified Montessori teacher and yoga teacher up to my ears in diapers, toy cars and the best kisses a mama can handle. I am passionate about connecting with moms and supporting each other on this journey of motherhood. I share family-friendly recipes, my pregnancy, postpartum and parenting journey, Montessori inspiration, and products we loveI am a South African living in the US with my hubby and two boys.

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