Essential Resources for New and Expecting Parents
It may be cliche, but it’s no less true: it takes a village to raise a child. But let’s not forget the parents — they grow and evolve just as much alongside their babies.
Support is important, whether it’s to tackle the thousands of questions that come up with a new baby, or simply to have an understanding ear to hear your woes. Fortunately, nowadays there is more than one way for you to find the right information, whether it’s in-person, online or via books.
Since there are seemingly countless books, blogs and websites for all things baby, we took on the tough job of boiling it down to a handful of essentials (in our eyes). There are selections to cover everything from preconception and pregnancy to postpartum and parenting.
At every stage there’s a plethora of information — it can be overwhelming! Some tips:
- Take it one stage at a time. Stay in the moment and learn as you go.
- It’s a good idea to identify a few main concepts or ideas that you feel are a priority. Maybe it’s a medication-free childbirth or laboring at home or exclusive breastfeeding. Focus on those first, and whatever else you can add is simply a bonus.
- Keep in mind that you can dive deeper into anything — from diapering to daycare — but not everything. Plus, you don’t have to follow all of the “rules” for any given method.
So read, learn and listen...and then find what works best for you. Here are some of our favorites!
Sometimes it’s nice to simply turn the page of an “old fashioned” book, right? Now might be the time to brush off that old library card. Even if you’re more of an e-reader type, many libraries now provide access to electronic copies of books that you can check out and download. Also, check out local kid consignment sales. They often have a book section where you can find these titles second hand. For many more on a variety of subjects, check out our local page: http://www.euphoricbirth.com/resources/reading-resources/
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin: Whether you are planning to do a natural childbirth or not, Ina May’s guide is at the top of many women’s list. A midwife who has attended more than 3,000 childbirths, May uses this guide as a way to teach women to trust their bodies in order to have the best birth experience possible.
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin: Another leading name in the birth world, Simkin uses her experience as a physical therapist and doula to provide comprehensive information on the different phases an expectant couple will encounter.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin: Another top recommendation by Simkin, The Birth Partner helps those that will be alongside the pregnant woman feel engaged and empowered to help. Great for partners, doulas and family members that will be there during labor and the weeks beyond.
The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm: If you’re aim is to have a natural pregnancy, childbirth and recovery, this guide will help provide valuable information as to the best herbal and nutritional choices.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International: The La Leche League community has helped countless women during their postpartum period regardless of what their breastfeeding goals are. Their guide covers almost everything you could think of — from blocked ducts to exercise to herbal supplements.
There are countless blogs covering everything imaginable. Use them to learn and experiment with different parenting styles or simply get a good laugh from the latest mommy meme.
Lucie’s List: Need to make a registry but not quite sure where to start? Lucie’s List has extensive reviews and even excel sheets with recommended products. You may not need every last washcloth or infant toy, but it’s a great place to start. Plus, the blog grows with your child — with posts on everything from teething to babyproofing and beyond.
Pregnant Chicken: A little humor can go a long way when it comes to the stress of preparing for a new baby, not to mention the ups and downs of postpartum. Fortunately, alongside these laughs is some truly helpful info.
Mothering: This natural magazine has been around since 1976. Now, it’s online resources provide the latest news and advice about “natural and eco-conscious living.”
The Leaky Boob: Created in 2010 by Jessica Martin-Weber is a blog and social platform dedicated to breastfeeding support sharing personal stories and experience along with educational information while providing a safe space for open discussion.
Classes & Community
No matter how many books or blogs you read, there’s nothing quite like the support of a real person. Can’t find the perfect course in your community? Now many are online, making it easier for you and your partner regardless of location and schedule.
Birth Without Fear: This inclusive community urges you to “find your village.” Through birth stories, blog posts, social media and in-person events and conferences, the founder aims to educate women on all of the choices they have in childbirth.
Birth Boot Camp: A mix of childbirth education and doula programs, the Birth Boot Camp practices “mother-friendly childbirth” in order to have an amazing labor and breastfeeding experience. The organization provides both in-person and online classes to inform mom and birth partner.
Spinning Babies: If you’re getting close to your due date, you likely know the anxiety that comes with determining the position for your baby. Spinning Babies aids women in improving baby’s position as they prepare for labor through exercises and support.
Parenting Support Groups: Many communities now have several avenues that bring together new moms in the weeks and months following childbirth. Looking for one in your area? A good place to start is your birthplace — many hospitals and birth centers either have their own programs or can point you in the right direction. Additionally, local kid-friendly business — like boutiques or play areas — may offer ways to bond with baby and other parents, like mommy & me yoga or play groups.
Google is truly a blessing and a curse for many new parents, but these websites can be a go to for many of your questions. Find your favorites and keeping going back.
Bradley Birth: A common method touted by many, the Bradley Method is a 12 week extensive education with the aim to prepare you for natural childbirth.
International Cesarean Awareness Network: One in three births are cesarean sections, according to this organization whose mission is to reduce preventable c-sections and help women advocate for VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean). Many difficult births end in surgery, which leave new mothers to recover both physically and emotionally — but this group aims to help.
La Leche League International: For more than 50 years, the La Leche League has supported breastfeeding women through education, advocacy and recourses. Local chapters can provide individualized support and a place for new parents to meet others through their monthly meetings, as well.
KellyMom: Any new mom nowadays will likely find themselves searching for answers to dozens of questions at all hours of the day. KellyMom provides evidence-based information, mainly focused on breastfeeding, on many of the questions that you’ll find yourself asking,
HypnoBirthing: Another increasingly popular pain management technique for childbirth, HypnoBirthing, or the Mongan Method, uses mental training to maintain relaxation and calmness during labor
Podcasts, Social Feeds and More
There’s nothing quite as lonely as pumping at 3 am, but having a social feed filled with empowering motherhood messages can help. Whether you’re prepping for childbirth or already in the throes, these are awesome outlets to check out.
The Birth Hour podcast: One of the best ways for pregnant women to reduce the anxiety around the unknown is to hear birth stories first hand from others. This podcast provides an outlet for women with a variety of experiences — both planned and unplanned — to share with others about their labor, delivery and postpartum period, along with what they learned from it so that others will benefit.
The Business of Being Born: A powerful film that opens your eyes to different birth options beyond the traditional hospital. A must-see for any pregnant woman and partner.
4th Trimester Bodies Project: As their website states, the project “celebrates the uncensored beauty of motherhood.” Through platforms like their blog and Instagram pages, powerful stories are told that tackle the, many times, hidden aspects of women’s lives.
Respectful Parenting: Janet Lansbury Unruffled podcast: Focused on respectful parenting and the ideas of Magda Gerber’s RIE parenting model, this podcast takes you through a variety of scenarios you’ll likely encounter as you raise your child — from tantrums to sleep issues.
Euphoric Herbals: From Facebook to Instagram to our blog, we aim to provide valuable information to help women feel engaged and empowered. Join the conversation with thousands of fellow mamas like you!