My Top 12 Resources for New Parents

I just found out that a good friend of mine is pregnant. Well, technically his wife is pregnant. But as soon as I found out I immediately wanted to create a list of resources for them so that they wouldn’t have to go through the heaps of conflicting and confusing information out there (unless they really want to).

I know my friend and I are aligned on many topics, but within about five minutes of talking with him it was clear that he was about to embark on a whole new world (parenting) that he has never really researched before.

So, here’s my list of the top twelve resources I recommend for new parents. I used these all myself and include an explanation about why I trust the resource or what I like about it.

Here goes:

1)     Baby Center’s Pregnancy Calendar: Although Baby Center is a pretty mainstream resource and includes some information that isn’t completely aligned with my attachment parenting and natural lifestyle I still really enjoyed the pregnancy calendar. I could go there and see how my baby was developing week by week and read about the miracle that was happening inside my body. Fun fun fun!!!

On a not so fun note, Baby Center also has a miscarriage support group. Miscarriage happens more often than is generally believed and women who experience it need to seek immediate support from friends, family, counselors, and support groups. If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, please don’t go through it alone. Reaching out for support can be hard, but it’s crucial to the healing process.

2)    Movie: The Business of Being Born Although this film was somewhat disturbing to watch, I think it’s important to realize how and why birth in hospital has become the norm in America and to recognize that there are other choices out there. And if you do choose a hospital birth, I hope you’ll know your rights so that you aren’t forced into any procedures or medications you don’t actually want. This one is an eye opener for sure.

3)    Birthing class: Hypnobabies I loved my hypnobabies class SO MUCH and it really helped me with the pregnancy and first two stages of birth. The affirmations were incredibly uplifting and the daily practice of self-hypnosis is a wonderful way to unwind and relax. I still use some of the techniques I learned in this class! And even if Hypnobabies isn’t for you, definitely take a class about birth. You’ll be glad you did.

4)   Consider hiring a midwife and/or doula. If you’re planning a homebirth I highly recommend hiring both a midwife and a doula. And even if you plan to birth at the hospital, a doula is a must. A doula’s entire job is to be there for emotional support for the birthing mother. This has multiple benefits from decreasing pressure on dad to helping mama remember what procedures and medications she does and doesn’t want. I would not want to birth without this crucial support.

5)    La Leche League is a wonderful organization committed to helping women breastfeed successfully for as long as they wish. There are local groups all over the place and they’re mother led (no “expert” telling you what you’re doing wrong). I found the group meetings very encouraging and connecting and my local leader was available by phone to personally answer all my questions. Do beware, this organization is all about breastfeeding, so conversations about using formula might not go over so well.

6)    I also HIGHLY recommend Kelly Mom dot com for really great research based information about breastfeeding. I was on Kelly Mom all the time in the first few months of breastfeeding and continue to use it as my #1 resource for all things breastfeeding related.

7)    If you’re having a boy, you’ll have to decide whether or not to circumcise him. I sincerely hope you’ll chose to leave him intact. Here’s some information about why: http://www.intactamerica.org/learnmore and if you do leave him intact, you’ll need to know how to properly care for an intact penis so definitely check out this article about the importance of NOT retracting the foreskin.

8)    Even before your baby is born you’ll have to decide whether you want to follow the recommended schedule for vaccinations (since they’ll offer you the Hep B vaccine at birth). I found Dr. Sears’ book on the subject “The Vaccine Book” incredibly informative and well balanced.

9)    Dr. Harvey Karp has developed a theory about the missing 4th trimester that really makes sense to me. And his techniques for calming fussy babies really work. While I don’t recommend calming your baby using these techniques all the time (babies do need to express their feelings just like the rest of us), there are times when I think Karp’s 5 S’s were the difference between peace and rest and hours of purple crying for us. I read the book and watched the DVD but I think viewing the DVD once or twice will give you all you’ll need to use these techniques when you know your little one is needing help to relax and rest. Oh, and our local library had it, so see if you can check it out before you run out and buy it.

10) Although I know she’ll cringe when she sees that I’ve recommended her right after the above, Janet Lansbury is a fierce advocate for infants and toddlers. She shares practical information about how you can be there for your child without interrupting or overpowering their innate desire to learn and grow naturally. And after reading her articles you’ll be left with a greater respect and awe of infants than you ever thought you’d have. And you might also realize that parenting an infant doesn’t have to be as all consuming as popular culture would have you believe.

11)    Dr. Laura Markham is a wonderful resource for parents. She supports parents in using respectful and developmentally appropriate responses to the challenges of parenting young children. Every time I read her stuff I’m left thinking, “yes, yes, and yes.”

12)  And lastly, Hand in Hand Parenting is one of my greatest inspirations. When I first witnessed a friend holding space for her child to feel his big feelings I was left speechless. Recognizing that tantrums are a cry for connection has completely shifted how I respond to my own daughter when she freaks out. And I think this work has also deepened my own commitment to feeling and expressing my feelings, no matter how unpopular they might be.

OK, so there you have it. These are my top 12 resources for new parents. I just realized I didn’t include any books, so I’ll have to do another post on my recommended parenting books another time! I hope you’re all having a great week and I would love it if you’d add any important resources I’ve forgotten to the comments. Thanks!

Love, Shelly

 

 

2 comments
MeaganTaylorGreenough
MeaganTaylorGreenough

Love this list, thanks for sharing!  I just checked out Janet Lansbury's blog.  What a great resource!