Here are a few books that have played a huge part in my parenting journey.
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This is a good book to read if you have already decided that you want to breastfeed. I love the quotes from moms and dads from all over the world telling about their experiences. I remember sitting on my couch and reading one mother's quote about how breastfeeding is a "bodily pleasure," and it's one that no one talks about. It was in that moment that I finally let go of a lot of tension that I had around how to breastfeed, and what was right and wrong. I started to enjoy it because hey, if that lady could enjoy it then so could I.
I bought this book shortly after my second child was born. The baby couldn't even talk but my kids were already rivals. They both wanted me. And they both seemed to not like the other about half of the time. This book made SO MUCH SENSE to me. There are actual examples of rivalry and how different parents handled different situations. One mother had a child who asked her, "Mom, what if we were all on a sinking boat and you could only save one of us. Who would you save?" She had the best answer. It was something like, "I could not imagine life without you or any of your siblings." Then she proceeded to tell her child all the wonderful ways in which she contributes to the family. Sometimes, just listening to everyone's side helps to dissipate a fight. Just knowing that someone is listening helps to calm us down. Amazing.
I really enjoyed taking an infant massage course with my first baby. In Italy, infant massage courses are part of new parent care and covered by the public health system. I realized the power of massage by reading one passage in this book about a mother who couldn't understand why her baby cried during their entire massage, every time. The author asked about her baby's daily routine, and found out that she and her baby spent most of the day apart. The mother said, "But her childcare providers say that she is so happy all day long. She only cries with me." The author explained to the mother that the massage helps her baby to release the tension accumulated during the day. She cries with the mother because the mother is her safe place (awww.. yes I might have cried while reading that part.)