Best reads for gentle pregnancy and parenting – and a giveaway

I have a bump! 28 weeks pregnant  and I finally have a bump. It took a while to arrive and then, aided by several Christmas dinners and a few weeks of festive chocolates left in the house, it burst on to the scene, knocking into things, rendering my clothes unwearable and making the poking of my bellybutton (of which I, er,  have a slight phobia) irresistible to my daughter!

Suddenly I feel veeerrrrry pregnant. Every morning begins with the Beetles anthem for tired souls – “No, don’t wake me, please don’t shake me, leave me where I am! I’m only sleeeeeeping!” Even my knees creak as I walk around. I have had to change the start of my maternity leave from 2 weeks prior to my due date to 6 weeks prior because I am just so weary! GAH, being pregnant with Ramona wasn’t like this, I was a (probably slightly annoying) energetic bundle of glowing hormones.  It is partly having a rambunctious toddler, I guess, and also partly to it being cold, old January. I think everyone is a bit exhausted just now.

I am still nursing Ramona, and we have good days and bad days with that. I see so very many benefits for her still, so aim to keep going, and some days as I  snuggle on the sofa with her and we lock eyes as she nurses I love it as much as I did when she was a new born. And other days it is, as one mama put it, like getting a “30 minute long wet willy” – that classic, sloppy saliva finger wedged in your ear hole trick, eeep!

Of course, I love this baby growing inside me already, and I love parenting Ramona, and can’t wait to have both here on my lap. But sometimes I need a bit of a boost, reminders about why I am parenting peacefully, I need some comfort in shared experience.

I feel so fortunate to have a stack of books and online resources to help me get through some of these more sleepy, short-wick, big emotion days. It is always good to read of other people dealing with similar things, getting encouragement and ideas, and being part of communities that aim to parent in similar ways.

So. I thought I’d share my list of where I find this!

These are my favourite off line and online resources for parenting and pregnancy and birth.

I’d love to hear your own faves though- the books and blogs you rave about when you hear someone has a scrumptious new bun in the oven.

BOOKS

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. The BEST book. Oh my days. It covers SO much but in a really readable way. It is, without a doubt, the book I would recommend to every newly pregnant couple.

Hypno Birthing by Marie Mongan. I am a massive fan of hypnobirthing, primarily because of the complete faith it bestows upon women’s bodies. I am sure that reading this book in pregnancy created the gentle birth I had with Ramona.

The Science of Parenting. This was probably the first parenting book I read and I devoured it in one sitting. It covers babyhood to older childhood and brings, er, you may have guessed, a bit of science into it but in a super accessible way. It covers cosleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding and gentle parenting.

Playful Parenting. This is the manifesto for parents who want to have relationships with their children that bring joy and freedom, for those who want to move away from punitive, tension filled parenting. It is story after story of how play can restore our children and our relationships. Brilliant.

How to Talk so Kids Listen and Listen so Kids Talk. I read this book over Christmas and it has given me this pair of specs that I can’t take off! I feel like I see every adult-child interaction in a new way, a way that reveals where children are coming from. It has such incredible power to help parents understand, and respond to, their children.

ONLINE

The Green Parent. This is a WONDERFUL magazine, but also an online site with forums. These forums got me through my first few months of motherhood!  The community of people on there are so helpful and inspirational.

Kellymom. What breastfeeding question has Kellymom NOT answered? None. Nope, not one.

Mothering.com The articles on Mothering stretch my mind with potential, often full of creative and reflective stories on motherhood. There is a lovely community of mamas in the forums too.

Attachment Parenting UK Facebook group. I really like being part of this group! They post encouraging quotes and blogs and posts and generate alot of discussion.

The Natural Child Project. This site covers so much with the most simple, story based articles. From Elimination Communication to Unschooling it challenges main stream philosophies with really practical examples.

La Leche League. This is an incredible breastfeeding support network to tap into. Jampacked with resources, but also access to support lines and groups to help in the most hands on way.

The Mule, Baby Calm, Little Hearts, The Other Baby Book, Hobo Mama, Analytical Armadillo, Uncommon John and Aha Parenting are all blogs that I love -along with about a billion others-  and will often delve into their archives for inspiration and research on attachment, peaceful parenting. You have to follow these peeps too!

GIVEAWAY

A few weeks ago I was in an Oxfam Bookshop and found four of the above books in pristine condition, two each of Hypnobirthing and The Science of Parenting. I already have one set myself,  have given one to friends who are expecting so for the final duo I am giving them away on this ‘ere blog.

To win The Science of Parenting and Hypnobirthing (with CD)

Please leave a comment! That’s all folks!

However…

For an EXTRA entry you can follow this blog through email (see below to enter email address and hit subscribe button) or through Facebook (let me know in the comments)

And for a THIRD entry you can share this post either on Facebook or Twitter (again, let me know in the comments)

Winner will be chosen on Friday 1st February at 9pm. Winner will be drawn at random from all the entries. UK entrants only, unless you indicate that you’d be willing to help out with postage.

******WINNER ANNOUNCED******
Thank you SO much everyone, and especially for your beautiful and lovely comments. The winner was MrsXpat- congratulations! Thanks for entering everyone, and I’ll have another giveaway soon I’m sure!

Thank ye, my friends, and good luck!
PS I’d hate for you to miss a post… enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. I won’t be spamalot, promise!


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35 Responses to Best reads for gentle pregnancy and parenting – and a giveaway

  1. Valerie says:

    I think I may have read them ALL, every parenting book IN-THE-WORLD haha. You might like these thought.

    1What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing by Naomi Stadlen
    2The Attachment Parenting Book (Sears Parenting Library) by William Sears and Martha Sears
    3The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart by Jan Hunt
    4You are Your Child’s First Teacher Rahima Baldwin
    5The Gentle Birth Method: The Month-by-Month Jeyarani Way Programme by Dr. Gowri Motha, Karen Swan MacLeod
    6Women Who Run with the Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman
    Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Not parenting really, but good just the same lol)

    I would be loaded if I stopped shopping on Amazon lol.
    V
    xxx

  2. Kate says:

    Ok shamelessly leaving a comment to hopefully be in with a chance of winning! Sometimes I feel odd following your blog and reading parenting and pregnancy books when I don’t have children BUT I am SO interested in alternative simple natural lifestyles and I am VERY interested in people. Having been in quite intense therapy for just over a year now, I have learnt a lot about the unseen and the unknown and how they can affect us at each stage of our lives and I want to put a stop to ignorant accidental reactionary panic parenting. I’m sure I will get it wrong and I’m sure I will pass things to my kids that I don’t want to but I want to be intentional and aware and I think my children and my husband deserve some research and time and effort. I love your blog, Lucy, and I’m so thankful that you are brave enough to share and write so honestly and authentically about yourself and your family etc etc. it has given me hope and some fresh air to breathe. I often feel ‘wrong’ for thinking differently about many things and it’s people like you who help people like me be brave and strong and true. Anyway, rambling over!! Thank you, keep going and hold on to hope – and we (your readers) will too!

    Kate x

    • Lucy says:

      Hehe WHAT! That isn’t shameless – you are MEANT to! :) Thank you for your lovely comment. It is nice to know others who ask questions and have some different ideas, eh? I know that early on in my mothering, if it wasn’t for places like the Green Parent forum, I would have struggled beyond measure.
      Hope to you, my friend xxxx

  3. Umm Yahya says:

    Well I’m gonna try my luck as well!

    I read the books not only to learn to parent gently with my son but also so my replies to nonsupporting people packs a punch ;) It’s good to put a little science in there. I feel in my heart that it’s right and don’t need the science really but it helps to sound educated when relatives or friends challenge you.
    Just wanted to leave a longer reply than trying my luck… :D

  4. Hi Lucy – Lovely post. I have some of those lovely books in my collection too and also follow some of the same blogs. It’s an ever-growing challenge to find the time to read them all ;0) It’s so lovely to come across like-minded people and not feel so alone in our pursuit of a gentler, more conscious way of parenting for little ones. I know I don’t get it right a lot of the time, but just know I want to see the bigger picture and remember how it felt to be so misunderstood as a child but only wanting acceptance and love without conditions. Although I have the Hynopbirthing book (I used this with my youngest), I have 2 friends who are training to be midwives and know they would really benefit from this great read. I’d personally love to read The Science of Parenting and add that to my lovely book collection. Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy lovely lady. I love reading your blog, follow you everywhere (FB & Twitter). You could call me a stalker ;0) He He xx

  5. lally young says:

    okay, I will have a bash at this as well! tee hee allie Jane xx

  6. Emma says:

    Thanks for the list. I am 32 weeks so I’m trying to get some reading in. I am doing Natal Hypnotherapy which I’m finding very useful and hoping for a calm birth. I have just finished The Continuum Concept and Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby as I wanted to read about both ends of the scale so I could make my own opinions.
    Emma recently posted…5 Things To Make Pregnancy EasierMy Profile

  7. Claire Wills says:

    I am entering too! I am going for the whole shebang and subscribing via email/sharing post on twitter. That is purely because, as I have told you before, you have opened my eyes to a completely different way of parenting, and when our little one arrives in August, I plan to implement everything to gain a better life for both me and my baby. So any literature you say helps with this is obviously worth the read!

    Claire x

  8. Hollie says:

    Shared and shared! Not with the hope of winning the giveaways (although love this idea, go you!) as I have the Hypnobirthing book so would love someone else to win to benefit from it. However if it opens the door for some other mummies-to-be and mummies-who-are to your blog and recommended reading then that’s a BIG tick for me. I follow a few of the links above and have found them HUGELY beneficial as is your little patch of land here at http://www.lulastic.co.uk in my parenting travels.

    p.s Eagerly awaiting the arrival of your newest addition and looking forward to hearing about your adventures as a 4 :)

  9. Ooh, this is the second time in two days that ‘The Science of Parenting’ has been recommended to me, so I’d love to enter!

    Either way, I’m putting together a list of books to read during my maternity leave, which starts in a few weeks, so this blog will come in very handy for that! Thanks for sharing!
    LondonHeather recently posted…Grace and TruthMy Profile

  10. Rebecca Jones says:

    I followed a link on AP UK to you, and I love a good blog! I NEED a copy of “How to Talk”, and have heard it recommended by a lot of people who have a similar parenting style to me. Three year olds are HARD!

    Thanks for blogging; it’s lovely to hear that there are so many of us that follow a different way of parenting, and that we’re not alone.

    P.S If I ‘magically’ manage to win, I’m donating the books to my breastfeeding group. We have a little library of various books that link with breastfeeding/babywearing/co-sleeping/natural parenting, and it sounds like these books would fit in well. ;)

  11. Nadine says:

    I had a very odd conversation with a guy in a bar (I was having an abstemious Sprite while my husband enjoyed a beer or two), who – on hearing I was pregnant – asked what kind of birth I was going to have. I thought that was a strange question from a 70-year-old male stranger in a pub, but hey ho!

    I said I wanted it to be as natural as possible, and preferably in water. He tutted, and said, “I don’t get women nowadays. In the olden days the only labour relief you got was biting down on a piece of wood, and 100 years later, you’re all turning your backs on epidurals in favour of biting on pieces of wood again. I don’t get it!”

    I can understand why people might think going drug-free it’s a crazy idea, to be honest, so did I until I was pregnant. But when my sister-in-law, Hollie (from a few comments above) said she would go through her labour (using hypnobirthing techniques and a birthing pool) again tomorrow, I realised none of my friends who’d had “traditional” births and epidurals had ever said that.

    So – all going well with our pregnancy – I want to learn more about hypnobirthing, and it being a gentle and positive experience, in the hope that six months from now, I’ll be able to tell people that I would go through my labour again tomorrow, too.

    I hope the energy fairies find you soon, and then visit me. I’m only 13 weeks, and still feeling the first trimester exhaustion. Typing this has probably been the longest I’ve been gone without snoozing in weeks ;-) Well done for keeping me awake!

  12. Tania Watkins says:

    Its posts like this that reaffirm that i am normal.

    Also recommend Babycalm and baby led breast feeding.

    Oh and anything by Sears or Pantley!

  13. Jane says:

    Lovely blog :)

  14. Charlotte says:

    I had a terrible time getting breastfeeding established shortly after my daughter was born and someone lent me The Food of Love by Kate Evans. Man, that book was a shining beacon, a friend that held your hand and would tell you that everything was going to be ok. The breastfeeding advice is top notch, there’s plenty of advise of pretty much all aspects of parenting and it’s also funny as hell which is just what you need when all the birthing hormones have left and all you want to do is curl up in a ball in a dark room and cry (I know not everyone experiences the baby blues, but I did and the book really did help me a lot, and even if you don’t experience the blues, this book is still brilliant and I still pick it up now).

    Oh, and Dr Sears is always interesting. I like the Baby Book. It’s a bit of a manual, but incorporates attachment parenting with major developmental milestones and teething charts. And other things too. It’s a really useful book!
    Charlotte recently posted…Some snowmen and women of EnfieldMy Profile

  15. Jill says:

    I’m patiently waiting for my ill bump to appear (18wks) and for the vom-ing to cease…..so some reading would be fab :)

  16. MsXpat says:

    lovely post i’m having problems with my toddler and his behaviour towsards his baby sister a mate recommended How to Talk to your kids i plan to start reading it today… enjoy the rest of your pregnancy :0)
    MsXpat recently posted…My phunny pholourieMy Profile

  17. Hi Lucy,

    What a wonderful blog post! Thanks for alerting me to those books, some of which are new to me. I frequent most of those websites too… They’re fab, aren’t they?

    I would love to share with you a book that I published recently. It is a charity anthology of art, poetry and prose, about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. All royalties are going to La Leche League GB. It is entitled ‘Musings on Mothering’ and The Mule recently reviewed it here:

    http://www.the-mule.com/2012/11/mule-yule-great-big-motherhood-giveaway.html

    I think you would like the book and I think you would find the prose piece in it entitled ‘Twice as Nice? My Tandem Nursing Journey’ by Helen Cooper, very interesting! Her writing is so beautiful, honest and real. There are also many stunning works of art, and gorgeous poems too…

    I’ve got a Jan. sale on at the moment, please do check out my site if you’re interested.
    http://www.mothersmilkbooks.com
    With thanks and best wishes,
    Teika
    p.s. I’ll go onto your Facebook site too, but I’m not really here to win, just to alert you to another lovely book that affirms your gentle mothering instincts. Thanks!

  18. Camille says:

    Thanks for sharing these books and links! I know and have read a few of them, eager to have a look at the rest! We have recently moved to a new province and into a community where babies are reared by nannies who pushes them around the park in prams all day while moms get on with ‘the more important stuff’, leaving all our awesome friends and attachment parenting community behind. Online communities and books and blogs have really become my lifeline so I really appreciate your post! Thanks!

  19. i came for the shampoo experiment i stayed for the beautiful writing :))

  20. Janine says:

    Alright here’s my comment! I had a very fast, intense labor last time and didn’t get to use any of the natural methods I’d practiced. I’d love to learn more about gentle birth this time, and have always wondered about hypnobirthing!

  21. Janine says:

    I now follow you on Facebook as well as Twitter. :)
    Janine recently posted…Mama Style Must-Have: TunicsMy Profile

  22. Raych says:

    Im ashamed to say I haven’t read any of those books from your list!I have read many ‘parenting’ books&always regretted it as really haven’t agreed with what they have said.Instinct is all we need!Xx

  23. Mary Firth says:

    Lucy you’re such an inspiration when we gentle mums are feeling a bit ungentle! I totally agree with those books in your list that I’ve read, and will check out the others. I wanted to recommend a book I’ve recently read that I reckon is one of the BEST books ever published on parenting, called Parenting for a Peaceful World, by Robin Grille. It’s not a manual, more of a sort of historical, psychological study on parenting through the ages and all over the world, culminating in a very hopeful future when the environment will be saved and peace on earth prevail due purely to the magic of attachment parenting! But really, it sounds stupid when I put it that way but it’s actually brilliant and so encouraging too. he’s a family psychotherapist so is coming from a reassuringly scientific angle. Anyway, keep up the encouraging work! xxx

  24. Sarah says:

    I don’t want to enter your competition (I have every book on your list so don’t want to take the chance away from somebody who hasn’t!), but just wanted to say thank you for the recommendation for the BabyCalm blog, it’s so lovely to be in such fab company.

    Sarahx

  25. HannahB says:

    O0h would love to read the science of parenting. Thanks for the recommendation.
    HannahB recently posted…Thrifty eco shopping.My Profile

  26. Circus Queen says:

    I’ve heard lots of good things about The Science of Parenting. Lots of good reading there. Have you read What Mothers Do? I’m reading it right now and it is giving me such strength.
    Circus Queen recently posted…If this is what a baby is like…My Profile

  27. Jill Paxton says:

    Lucy,

    I have been meaning to contact you anyway so now (with the offer of winning some books) seems like the perfect time! I’m pregnant with my first (28weeks) and I am so so glad I found your blog. My friend sent me a link to sign the petition against boobs in newspapers and ever since then I’ve been hooked. I’m a manicure-loving, vintage fashion, trashy tv watching girl, but since being pregnant a hippy has risen violently to the surface of my being!! I spend my life being laughed at by everyone for even considering having a nappy-free baby and defending my decision to have a home-birth as though I want to kill my child! I was totally uneducated about such things and just always assumed I’d do what is “normal” so thanks for giving me faith that there are other options…

    I’m currently reading diaper-free baby and homebirth, a practical guide which are both great. Am hungry for more!!

    P.S. long before a baby was ever in the cards I used to joke with people that I wouldn’t put nappies in my baby or use a pram, having seen how mums do it in Uganda. I meant it as a joke and it was taken as a joke but in the back of my mind I was thinking “their way is totally better though!” Just didn’t know it COULD be done in our society. I am overjoyed to learn that it CAN be and is being done more and more in our society. Hurrah! Back to basics! Xx

  28. These look fabulous – count me in. I’m working on creating baby number 2 so these would be so handy in a few months time (I stupidly gave all my books to friends after I had Dexter) x
    Gemma Mills / Chamberlain (MyMillsBaby) recently posted…I’m a Britax MumbassadorMy Profile

  29. Following on Twitter and Facebook too (@MyMillsBaby) – and just about to sign up to emails… x
    Gemma Mills / Chamberlain (MyMillsBaby) recently posted…I’m a Britax MumbassadorMy Profile

  30. What a great list! I’ve got loads of fab books at my sling library and would love to add this one too for parents to be able to read and borrow!
    I’ve shared this competition on the South London Sling Library facebook page (www.facebook.com/southlondonslinglibrary), liked your page, am following you on twitter and have retweeted the comp there too (@SLSlingLibrary)! Thanks for letting me know!
    Emily xx

  31. Gilly says:

    you have some great book and website recommendations, thank you!

  32. Dita says:

    Would LOVE to win!!

  33. Tanya fisher says:

    What a great list! My fingers are crossed that I win!

  34. Candice says:

    Thanks for these great reads and resources. I love reading your blog. Please can you enter my name into the competition. Also I just subscribed to your site.

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