Another query for Design Mom:

“I have an anonymous question: can you recommend any books for new or soon-to-be mom’s? I’ve looked online at everything from the What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Dr. Sear’s… and it stretches from pregnancy know-how to cookbooks to pregnancy planners. It’s crazy!

Anyway, from a mother of five, I’d love to know what you recommend (or not recommend). And can you keep this post anonymous? I’m only four weeks pregnant and literally no one knows.”

First of all, BIG CONGRATULATIONS! There’s nothing like that first pregnancy. It’s all you can think about. When people are talking to you, you nod and mumble agreement, but the whole conversation you’re thinking, “Wow, I’m pregnant. I feel funny. I wonder if that’s the baby or indigestion? I’m so hungry. I’m pregnant. There’s an actual baby growing inside me. I wonder if I’m showing. . .”

And you’re right that there are a million books out there. I can’t even pretend to keep up. But I have a few I’d recommend. Although I hesitate. Every book about pregnancy and childbirth and raising children I own has at least a few pages that make me cringe with disagreement. There’s a lot of crazy stuff out there surrounding this whole process. So what I’m going to recommend are books that I hope will help you take part in the whole pregnancy/childbirth conversation — not necessarily books I endorse or agree with.

1) What to Expect When You’re Expecting
This is the pregnancy bible for a reason. Lots of answers. Very reassuring. Major portions of the book are about special circumstances, so if you’re having a run-of-the-mill normal pregnancy, you’ll skip lots. I also own What to Expect the First Year. I haven’t looked at it in a long time, but I remember I found it helpful.

2) Husband Coached Childbirth, the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth
Whether you go natural or not (I’ve done it all), you’ll be glad you know the lingo. Try to ignore the part where Dr. Bradley refers to breasts as sweater decorations. There are other books on natural childbirth, but this method seems to be the most widely read among my friends.

3) The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, the La Leche League
Not a leaguer myself, but again, throughout your pregnancy, you’ll hear lots of references from this book and about the La Leche League and you’ll be glad you’re familiar with the contents. Irritating title, but some people love, love this book.

4) Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana
This is an excellent baby naming reference and is pretty darn fun to read. It’s in it’s bazillionth edition. When Ralph was born it was only called, Beyond Jennifer and Jason.

5) Magazines:
Fit Pregnancy, because it might inspire you to excercise and that’s always a plus, but mostly because it always features an excellent selection of maternity clothes. Cookie, because it gets you excited for the baby gear and makes you feel hip. I posted about Cookie earlier here.

6) Baby Wise and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
BabyWise is something you should read before the baby is born in case you want to use this sleep training method, because the method begins when the baby is like a week old. Healthy Sleep Habits method begins when the baby is about 4 months. Whether you choose to use either of these methods or not, you’ll want to be familiar with what’s inside.

7) Lastly, I use this website to track the size and development of my baby week-by-week.

That makes a pretty good pregnancy reading starter kit. And again, I don’t necessarily endorse anything in these books. But, they should help you feel like you’re in the know.

Design Mom readers, help us out. Without advocating any particular type of childbirth or method of feeding (there are plenty of sites better suited for such conversation), please recommend your favorite pregnancy reads.