Six Postpartum Books to Read Today!
As part of the DONA International certification process candidates are required to read 13 books from across 10 categories. Some of these books came from that list, some were my favorite postpartum reads, and some that I found as I was just devouring all things postpartum. Here are my top 6 post partum reads.
Of all the books on the DONA reading list this was the one I was the most eager to dig into because of its many included recipes. Ou provides insight to the ancient Chinese practice of zuo yuezi, a period of confinement following birth providing rest and recovery for the new mother.
This book provide cultural insight as well as practices Western mothers are deprived of as we encourage them to get "back to" life before baby. But there is no longer life before baby. Ou's book teaches us how to honor and nurishing this physical, emotional, and spiritual change.
Of course my favorite part was the recipes. As someone who primarily eats and cooks Western foods, I was nervous seeing "Slow-Braised Pig Trotters" and "Fish, Papaya, and Peanut Soup" among the titles. I am however very excited that I gave them a chance because they were delicious and opened my palate to a whole new variety of foods good for the postpartum mom. Her recipes include broths, congees, bowls, smoothies, teas, sweets, and even some self-care goodies. Her recipes focus on warmth and nutrition and are perfect for your post partum plan.
As I read this book I had 2 recurring thoughts. The first was, I wish I had this when I was having my daughter. Maybe then I wouldn't have been so nervous about breastfeeding and wouldn't have cut our journey so short. The second was, I can't believe that as I am gaining all of this information, it feels like I am just listening to a friend.
The authors achieve this by inviting you in to what feels like a written La Leche Leauge International Meeting. Le Leche Leauge international was found by 7 mothers in Illinois in 1956 who wanted to create a support network for breastfeeding mothers because it that time it was not being encouraged by the medical establishment. Since then they have grown worldwide, holding physical and virtual meetings with local breastfeeding leaders to arm women with the information they need to have wonderful breastfeeding journeys.
Sprinkled throughout the book are anecdotes of parents from the 50s through recent years sharing their struggles, joys, and experiences. This book is a wealth of information and troubleshooting. Personally it answered a fun fact about my daughter. I learned that the reason she as a formula fed baby made a sour face every time she was trying a solid food was because her formula lacked the variety in taste that breastmilk would.
In France at your 6 week postpartum visit as long as you are healing properly you are given a referral for a pelvic floor therapist. In the US many women are never even told they exists. It comes as no surprise that American women have higher numbers of prolapse, pain, and leakage. While this book does not replace a pelvic floor therapist it is a succinct yet comprehensive guide that all expectant parents should read.
Torborg provides both the reasoning behind and actual steps to help you with returning to exercise, returning to sex, optimizing scar tissue, learning breath work, and working on postpartum posture. At under 75 pages, this book while a quick read provides vital information about how your body has changed.
As a new parent as soon as you think you have your baby figured out they suddenly change leaving you wondering "Why are they like this?" It turns out there is an answer! This book teaches about the cycle of development that babies go through in the first 20 months. Researches found that there was an overlap between fussy and clingy babies and leaps in brain development. They further found that these cycles were actually predictable based on the child's age. For reference the weeks here are from the child's due date not the date of their birth.
This book not only tells you when to be prepared for "stormy" or "sunny weeks" it also includes suggested activities to foster where your child currently is in their development. In addition to the book they have created an app available on Apple and Android, that will help you keep track as well. Personally having the insight as to what is going on with my child made me so much more patient and allowed me to share with friends and family why she may have been having a hard day.
I preface my review of this book saying that the personality of your child will determine if this works for you. My daughter loves a good schedule, a trait she gets from her father. From birth she seemed to enjoy having little cues surrounding transition of activities. Because of her personality this book was my rock.
Written by two nurses this book covers everything from sleep and feeding, to routine and safety, and even when to call the doctor or what to have on hand. In addition to the book they have an app available on Apple and Android as well as an online class and consultations. Personally the book was sufficient enough for us.
Like I mentioned earlier my husband also loves a good schedule. For him he liked having an idea of what to expect with our daughter. Their routines vary by age, but also take into account that you have a real life. The indicate which feeds or routines you should prioritize being on time on crazy days. Because of this my daughter is now an alarm clock for 4pm and 6:30pm. She knows she is due for a bottle around that time.
They even had a routine for when the baby wakes in the middle of the night. Learning this routine allowed my husband to be the one to get up if she was just startled or needing a change and to bring her to me if she needed a feed, allowing me to get some extra sleep.
While a book can't provide the same emotional and physical support a doula can, this one does an excellent job at providing education on what to expect for yourself and baby in those first few months.
Easy to read with bullets, lists and illustrations, Goodwin provides an excellent reference manual for new moms. What I like most about her book is that it is easy to get the information you are looking for with out reading paragraphs and pages of other information. In those early months you need an answer or suggestion and you need it now, she makes it easy to find. If you didn't get around to reading about postpartum until you were in the thick of it, this is definitely the book for you.