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I am a professor of 18th-century British literature and a mom.

Fanny Harville follows:

Beyond What to Expect When You’re Expecting: A list of intelligent, thought-provoking books about pregnancy and child-rearing

  • Our Babies, Our Selves: How biology and culture shape the way we parent by Meredith F. Small. A comparative study in “ethnopediatrics,” looking at Asian, African, and Western cultures. Really eye-opening!
  • The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears (I like all the books they’ve done, including The Pregnancy Book, The Sleep Book, The Discipline Book, and The Family Nutrition Book). This is a very useful resource for baby’s developmental milestones, advocates breast-feeding and “attachment parenting,” especially carrying baby in a sling. Our mantra during the first months, “his desires are his needs,” came from this book. Good to have on hand for baby illnesses and general information.
  • Raising Baby Green. By Dr. Alan Greene. An environmentally conscious guide to pregnancy and baby care.
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. This is a guide to comforting crying (“colicky”) newborns. The techniques are very helpful; I recommend watching the video rather than reading the book (the book is very repetitive).
  • Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How our Children really learn and why they need to play more and memorize less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Diane Eyer, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff. I imagine you’re probably not planning to quiz baby with flashcards anyway, but this book is a very interesting summary of lots of studies and experiments showing what babies learn and when and how they learn it.
  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish. I love this book for dealing with toddlers. Worth reading now when you have the time!
  • Mother’s milk : breastfeeding controversies in American culture by Bernice L. Hausman. Interesting academic book about why Americans are so weird about breastfeeding; same with the next one.
  • Breastfeeding : biocultural perspectives by Patricia Stuart-Macadam and Katherine A. Dettwyler, editors. [in ZSR library]
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. If you care about sleeping through the night at some point, this book may be helpful (though I’ve come to the conclusion that sleeping through the night is over-rated and an American fixation – that’s what I tell myself any way!)
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
  • The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
  • Transformation Through Birth by Claudia Panuthos
  • Active Birth by Janet Balaskas
  • The Familial Gaze edited by Marianne Hirsch
  • The Unschooled Mind by Howard Gardner. Another fascinating book about how little kids learn.
  • Montessori from the start: The child at home from birth to age three by Paula Polk Lillard
  • The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-reliant Children by Wendy Mogel
  • Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
  • Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age by Dan Kindlon
  • Living Simply with Children: A Voluntary Simplicity Guide for Moms, Dads, and Kids Who Want to Reclaim the Bliss of Children and the Joy of Parenting by Marie Sherlock

Interesting Websites:


  • Babies (2010)
jan 13 2012 ∞
may 2 2013 +