Books: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, BabyWise, No Cry Sleep Solution

During the drive this weekend and while I was too tired to do anything in the first trimester, I got to reading and here is what I have so far:

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
by Ina May Gaskin
This has been a very reassuring and empowering book to read. The first half of the book is all birth stories, which are all very different but in each, the mother expresses positive emotions about the physical process, despite the pain. The second half goes through describing how a woman’s body prepares and goes through the birth process. Also discussed are complications to the pregnancy, how they are dealt with in the hospital/medical world and how Ina May has dealt with those safely in the natural birth process. I borrowed this book from the library but I think that I am going to buy my own copy because I would like to re-read those birth stories as I get closer to my due date.

On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant The Gift of Nighttime Sleep
by Gary Ezzo

Yes, we realize how controversial this book is. We purchased it on audiobook so that we could listen to it and discuss how we feel about it. Christian has done the research on the main web site for the opposition to this book, and during our date night one week, he gave me a good summary of the viewpoints discussed there. We have not finished the actual audiobook yet, still in process. We tried listening to it on our trip this weekend but the narrator of the audiobook has such a soft, sleepy voice that we kept either falling asleep (me) or tuning her out (him). While we agree with some of the tenets of the book, I can see how some of the things they claim might be a little extreme (“People will stop you on the street to comment on how pleasant your baby is”…really?! I mean, I am new to this, but even I don’t have those unrealistic expectations). To balance out this book’s viewpoint, I am also going to do some reading from the perspective of Attachment Parenting proponents, so that we hear both sides before we make decisions.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
by Elizabeth Pantley and William Sears
This book was written by fans of the Attachment Parenting model. Strangely, there are a number of areas in which they agree with Ezzo. I have completely finished this book, it was easy to read. Mostly because it outlines a plan for putting a baby on a schedule gently and gradually and I don’t have a baby yet so I got to just read it without taking any action. I like how it goes over all the possible things that could be keeping your baby from getting good sleep and offers solutions for all of those things. It focuses a lot on being patient and not making the baby do anything that is uncomfortable for it – exactly what you’d expect from attachment parenting model, I guess. But I do like that it is gentle because I think it’s gentle on the parent as well. This is helpful for me to read now, so that I can try all of those things when the baby is here, to make sure it is in a good environment for sleeping. We bought this book also, and I am glad because I do plan to refer to it later.

So there you have it. I have a bunch of other books I want to read but will always take suggestions from anyone else who has kids or knows people with kids who have loved certain books.

Baby update: We went for our first real prenatal visit today and heard the heartbeat again! This time they found it right away, no trouble at all, and it was 163 bpm, whatever that means.

6 thoughts on “Books: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, BabyWise, No Cry Sleep Solution

  1. Elizabeth Wickland says:

    For what it’s worth… =D

    We used BabyWise and really, really liked it. Ellie was, is, and always has been a schedule baby (on her own), even before she was born. So we started BabyWise and she picked it up immediately, the day we came home from the hospital. She started sleeping through the night (7 hours) at 3.5 weeks, on her own.

    In the sleeping department, she was an easy, easy baby. That being said, though, she did cry herself to sleep most nights. I am convinced that she was just a crier. She has never (realistically, I can think of only 2 instances) fallen asleep in someone’s arms. She does not like to be held while she’s sleeping. We did swaddle her for 7 months or so, and she needed that to sleep, but still cried for about 2 minutes before falling asleep every night, every nap. It was part of her routine, and I really think she just needed it. She didn’t cry a whole lot any other time, just right before she went to sleep.

    So… from one who didn’t ever want to let my daughter cry it out, who had a daughter that apparently just needed to cry before falling asleep… don’t beat yourself up if you get a crier. I really think some children are just like that and need that crying to trigger whatever it is in their brains that lets them sleep. =D

    You didn’t ask for my opinion, but I did a lot of the same research you are doing, and then learned that sometimes the kiddo needs something different than you were willing to offer based on your research. Every kid is different, and will have slightly different needs.

    Okay… unsolicited advice over. =D Take it or leave it as you like. =D

  2. Elaine A. says:

    Two books that I would recommend are The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy (so funny and REAL!!) and The Baby Whisperer which has tips on many things, including sleep habits, etc. I don’t have the authors off the top of my head but if you search on Amazon you’ll find them quickly.

    Baby Wise was too stringent for us but we found a happy medium with The Baby Whisperer.

    How many weeks are you now?

  3. J says:

    Thank you so much for the recommendations! I know someone who has the “Girlfriend’s” book I can borrow it from and I will look that other one up!

    Today finished my 13th week! So I guess this is starting the 14th!

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi Jenny! So glad you’re reviewing all these books. I read almost all of them too. I have strong feelings about Babywise and I’ll give you my opinion (though it’s unsolicited!). We totally agree with the eat, wake, sleep routine, but are so not on board with crying it out, especially for a newborn. I’m sure ya’ll have read studies of how crying it out at as a very young baby isn’t good. We’ve always let him fuss for 2-3 minutes, but never 20-30 minutes!
    And as for sleeping through the night at just a few weeks of age, I strongly recommend you listen to your pediatrician about that stuff. We had to make Kyle eat every 3 hours round the clock up until he was 9 weeks old because he wasn’t gaining enough weight.
    For us, the first 3 months were ‘survival mode’ and I thought I was going to lose my mind, but it all naturally falls into place and your sweet baby will naturally get into his/her routine.
    Just remember, they are sweet, tiny babies that need you guys for everything…trying to force them into a routine when they’re so young just may not work.
    I actually gave up reading the books b/c I was getting too worked up that Kyle wasn’t fitting the ‘guidelines’ of any book I read! I finally just had to tell myself that he has his own needs and he gives me the cues.
    Enjoy this time!

  5. Sandra Bembenek says:

    Thanks Jenny for this thoughtful post. I just finished Babywise and was dissatisfied by the condemning tone of the book. We’re about to deliver and want to find a balanced approach to parenting. Your options for reading are great ideas.

    Just FYI, I thought the Baby Whisperer (by Tracy Hogg) was a more flexible, “doable” approach. I’m totally going to check out your book on Attachment Parenting though!

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