Like most first-time mum-to-bes, when I found out I was expecting I went through all the usual emotions of joy, fear, elation, fear, delight and well, fear again! It wasn’t that I was scared of becoming a parent, but as any first-time baby bandwagoners will understand, the idea of growing, delivering and then looking after a miniature human can seem a little daunting. As an avid bookworm my way of handling this trepidation has been to get my hands on a range of parenting books. From nitty-gritty texts about pregnancy, to birthing and breastfeeding titles, I’ve looked for the answers from an army of baby experts. Unfortunately the vast majority have either been scary, patronising or both, and none have made me feel more prepared for the arrival of my daughter in January.
So instead I decided to call on Dubai’s best-known parenting bloggers to quiz them about the baby bibles they swear by. Read on for their recommendations.
Parenting books: Siobhan Farrell is a mum of three and the founder and author of www.workingmumindubai.wordpress.com
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
By Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Have you ever felt like your kids don’t listen to you? Tired of nagging? Feel like a ‘helicopter’ parent? Unsure how to teach your child how to deal with their feelings? This is the book for you! I often need to remind myself that I don‘t always know best, I can‘t make my kids happy all the time or resolve all their concerns: we need to find solutions together. The techniques described in the book encourage parents to acknowledge children’s thoughts and feelings with a view to teaching them how to communicate, cooperate and attain a positive self image. Ultimately How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk goes a long way to finding joint solutions to daily frustrations and I think it will be a well-thumbed-through staple for any parent.
Parenting books: Heidi Raeside is a mother of two and the founder and author of www.tuesdayschild.me
The Contented Little Baby (‘CLB’)
By Gina Ford
Before I got pregnant, I remember thinking that I would be a ‘go-with-the-flow’, mother. I watched two of my best friends plan for their imminent births; one who was fastidiously making lists and spreadsheets in preparation for the arrival, the other was super chilled out. I was, I thought, definitely going to be in the latter camp!
Then when their sons were born, something interesting happened. The former’s baby settled in to a routine and was sleeping through from 7pm to 7am by six months. As an advocate of CLB she was able to bring her ‘contended’ baby out for lunch and looked amply rested to boot. The latter friend on the other hand had a near breakdown. Her baby had no routine and as a result rarely slept for long periods at a time. She quickly morphed into a frazzled mess with a tired, cranky baby in tow.
I was sold and immediately bought a copy of CLB and read it over and over, annotating it and making little notes on routines etc. It taught me what I needed for the nursery, how to make the baby’s bed, clean baby equipment, breast feeding techniques, how to soothe baby, how to wean and how to get baby to sleep at night, alone in the quiet and dark, for twelve plus hours. The list goes on…
I wouldn’t have even known what to do with my baby the day I arrived home from hospital without this book. Admittedly it’s not for everyone as some of the daily plans are extremely prescriptive, but for me it provided a routine and genuinely gave me one of the most contended babies I’ve ever come across!
Parenting books: Jemma* is a mother of three and a blogger at www.housewifeindubai.com
Pregnancy for Dummies, 4th Edition
By Joanna Stone, Keith Eddleman & Mary Duenwald
Unlike a lot of ‘pregnancy bibles’, this plain-speaking, soft-back book from the ‘Dummies’ series doesn’t dazzle you with birth pictures in glorious Technicolor, or bombard you with photos of unrealistically yummy mummies locked in soft-focus love-hazes with their newborns. It also doesn’t pander to the paranoid first-time mum’s insecurities by describing every tiny pregnancy ailment that could potentially lead to disaster. Rather, it’s full of sensible advice, is well organised, and the simple diagrams are perfectly descriptive and informative. I dipped into it time and time again throughout my three pregnancies and always felt reassured. A definite read for any mum-to-bes who want the facts without the frenzy.
Parenting books: Faye Bartle is a mum of one and the founder and author of www.babydrool.me
The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year
By Dawn Dais
“Now that you have a new baby, you won’t be sleeping for a very long time” is just one of the brutally honest gems that can be found in Dais’ warts-and-all guide to the first 12 months of motherhood. The author, who has two children, totally nails the grizzly moments that seem to consume your life as a new mum, from messy birth stories and uncontrollable crying fits to the ugly effects of aforementioned sleep deprivation. Chapters entitled ‘Your Life is Officially Over’ and ‘Having Pets Did Not Prepare You For This’ give you some idea of what to expect. If you read this while you’re pregnant you’ll probably dismiss it as the ramblings of a woman who’s had a rough ride because it’s the sort of thing you can only appreciate once you’re ‘living the dream’. However, it is hilarious and definitely one to have on your nightstand for when you officially become, as Dais refers to it, a Mom on the Front Line (MOFL).
Parenting books: Emily Liden is a mother of two and blogger at www.dubaioursandbox.com
Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers The Wisdom of French Parenting
By Pamela Druckerman
New Yorker Pamela Druckerman married an Englishman and moved to Paris with him, where she had a baby, closely followed by twins. While in Paris she discovered a strange world of motherhood; a world where babies sleep through the night from two months, eat at adult meal times, often attend nursery from nine months and enjoy a sophisticated diet that doesn’t involve food ending up on the floor. How do they do it? According to Druckerman it’s a balance between ‘extremely strict and shockingly permissive’. I really enjoyed this book because it was fun and easy to read, but unlike a lot of parenting texts it doesn’t seek to give advice, rather it simply describes the author’s experience, struggle and triumphs within two methods of parenting – French and Anglo-Saxon. Ultimately I think it’s perfect for anyone who is up for an easy read and interested in the French approach to raising kiddies.