Parenting Resources – What Do You Recommend?

by jessicaturner on May 16, 2008

In addition to getting our condo ready for little Elias, I am trying to acquire a good library of books and magazines that will help Matthew and I as we embark on the roller-coaster ride of parenting. (I realize this is counterproductive to our efforts to get rid of clutter in our house, since being married to an author= books everywhere, but oh well. We both love books and Elias will too!)

This is what I have so far – what else would you recommend?

I registered for a few books too – What to Expect The First Year, Deceptively Delicious and a few others.

I am also getting a few parenting magazines, though the only one that is memorable and that I LOVE is Wonder Time. It is like Real Simple, but all about parenting. I LOVE it.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I’m a regular reader, first time commenter. Just wanted to encourage y’all to look a bit further at whether “Babywise” is worth the effort.


Chatty May 16, 2008 at 12:26 pm

As far as parenting books are concerned, I used a few as a reference point, but opted to have our Pediatrician on speed dial. I do love “Just tell me what to say” because it covers a lot of areas that parenting books generally don’t address (serious illness, death in the family, sibling rivalry), but really it’s designed to help parents of children ages 2-6 years.

The one book I have found INVALUABLE is the Nursing Mother’s Companion. If you plan on breastfeeding, it could be worth your while to pick this one up.


Matthew May 16, 2008 at 1:18 pm

I have to agree…Baby Wise had my wife and I sleeping through the night in just 6 weeks with both kids. It’s worth the effort. If you can, find a group who’s going through the book at the same time. Some churches will call it “Growing Kids God’s Way”


Anonymous May 16, 2008 at 3:06 pm

If babywise is the book that says to let your baby cry for up to 45 minutes to help them learn how to fall asleep by themselves, I don’t think that is what God would wants us to do. I read that book and It felt so wrong to me. My mother’s heart could not leave my newborn to cry. When a baby cries it is for a reason. Whether they are hungry, need to be changed, tired, or just want to be comforted we should be there for them and not ignore their cries, especially newborns. I nursed all three of my babies whenever they were hungry. I did not follow a schedule. As an adult, I am not hungry or thirsty every 3 hours. Sometimes I eat before or after the “time” I am supposed to eat. After a few weeks they pretty much had a regular schedule except during a growth spurt. That book just rubbed me the wrong way. I’m glad I read it but I know I couldn’t enforce their ideas. I loved sleeping with my babies and picking them up when my heart was tugged by their cries. Letting them cry for a few minutes because you are attending to something else is different. After a few months I did let them cry for a bit to fall asleep if they were having trouble but not for that long. Sometimes I actually miss those sleepless nights because that season in my life is over. My babies are 7, 4, and 2 and they are not sleeping in my bed or spoiled in any way. I don’t think you can spoil a newborn. If I were you, I would read it but I would pray about it and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. The Lord will guide you in your parenting style. Sorry this is so long!


Jill May 16, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Jessica – I would highly recommend “Spiritual Growth of Children – Helping your child develop a personal faith” by John Trent, Rick Osborn and Kurt Bruner. It’s a Focus on the Family Book. It is a great book – and is even very applicable for parents of a newborn. I think you would enjoy reading this a lot. :)


Stacy May 16, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Jessica, you don’t know me, but I have been a faithful reader of your blog and found your blog through the Smith family. I’ve never felt a need to comment, since we don’t even know each other, but your request for book titles required a response from me. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. was the ONE book that I highly recommend to ALL parents. Our pediatrician quoted us to many families after telling her about the book, and I just purchased it for her to use with her newborn. You can’t go wrong with this book. Good luck!


Jen May 16, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Wondertime is the best magazine, I agree! It’s so relaxing for me to read when I have some free time.

As far as parenting books – I can’t recommend any. I acquired quite a few before Liam was born and never read one of them! I did skim some, but we found that our instincts were usually right. It takes time to learn what personality your baby has and what works for them. Patience, and taking time for yourself are what I’d highly recommend!


lisa May 16, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Hey Jessica,

Here per your request via facebook to recommend books!

First, I have to echo the questioning sentiments regarding Babywise. I read it and then researched it, and it’s pretty controversial. It’s actually been condemned by the American Academy of Pediatrics because it’s been linked to moms having low milk supply and babies failing to thrive. The biggest reason is his recommendation that you wait three hours between nursing; for some babies that’s often enough, but for others it’s not (Anastasia, for instance, nurses every two hours at least, when she’s not in a growth spurt!). So if you’re planning on breastfeeding, that’s the part you definitely need to take with a grain of salt. Definitely do not try to get your baby on a schedule until he’s older if you’re breastfeeding, because the first few weeks and months they’re establishing your milk supply and the baby nurses a LOT to stimulate your milk. (Anastasia nursed round the clock at first, but after a couple of weeks she put herself on a schedule without me ever having to worry about it.) Also letting the baby “cry it out” to get to sleep is a pretty controversial practice…there haven’t been a lot of studies done on that yet, but some are indicating that it’s really not healthy for babies, especially when they’re young. If you want to train your baby to sleep through the night, I suggest you wait till he’s at least four months old. The first few months they’re just so little and helpless; they need everything we can give them and more!

My favorite book so far on that subject is The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Korp. GREAT techniques for calming fussy babies (they seriously work like magic), and he also explains the concept of the first three months being kind of a “fourth trimester” when the baby still needs a lot of, well, babying. :-) It helped me understand Anastasia a lot more.

Another book I haven’t read yet but have heard great things about is The No-Cry Sleep Solution. I’m planning on trying it soon. It has gentler methods for getting babies to sleep longer.

I also highly recommend The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears. I don’t know if you’ve started researching vaccines yet, but you should definitely look into them before you have all the shots done! The current schedule is pretty intense and sometimes has pretty scary side effects…and of course there was a case recently where the MMR was linked to autism. We are delaying all Anastasia’s vaccinations till she’s reached some developmental milestones, and we’re not doing all of them (chicken pox, for example, seems a little silly to me).

And…not to sound too hippie!–but hey, what can I say, I am a hippie!–but the other book I strongly recommend at least checking out is The Diaper-Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. I know, I know: diapers and babies are synonymous for most of us! But in cultures that don’t have diapers readily available, babies start going in the toilet from as early as birth…and they’re usually toilet independent by around a year old. We started with Anastasia at two weeks, and I am addicted to this now–it’s awesome! I know it sounds like a lot more work but really I think it’s a lot less (I hardly ever have to clean up poopy diapers!), and it’s very easy to do part-time as well, even just once a day or on the weekends. Basically it helps the baby maintain its natural awareness of bodily functions, instead of training them to go in a diaper, which makes toilet training a LOT easier later.

Whew! Sorry so long! Look forward to talking with you on the phone about all that and sundry!


lisa May 16, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Ah, I forgot to say the most important thing about books! My number one recommendation about books is this:

The books are wrong and you are right.

:-) You are the mother; follow your instincts and listen to your baby! No “expert” knows as much about your baby as you do. You’ll have carried Eli in your womb for nine months, and your body does everything perfectly to take care of him…after he’s born, your instinct and your heart will tell you exactly how to take care of him perfectly too, if you just listen to that and not a bunch of so-called experts.


Julia May 16, 2008 at 6:06 pm

A few of my “new mom” friends have started a blog

God hasn’t blessed me with any babies of my own yet…but these girls really seem to know their “stuff.” :)


Kendra May 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Hi Jessica, I am also a regular reader that you do not know. A totally different book that I loved with both our boys is “Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week”. I know that all babies develop at different rates, but it gives you ideas of what baby should be doing or might be doing at each week – physically, mentally, emotionally. It gives you new play time ideas and games every week. It also covers solid foods; teething; common illnesses, symptoms, remedies and when to call the dr; sleeping; I could go on and on. I buy this for every new mom now and they all LOVE it!
Congrats on the new baby and thanks for all your great posts. I love scrapbooking and seeing all the great ideas on your blog and some of your favorite blogs also.


Amy Nabors May 16, 2008 at 10:01 pm

I used baby wise to an extent. Not to the extent that i let him cry for 45 minutes, but 5 and then would check on him and by 10 minutes he would be out. i still rocked him, just didn’t rock him to sleep.

sheperding a child’s heart is also a great one also.


Marla Taviano May 17, 2008 at 1:04 am

Changing Your World One Diaper at a Time (A Reflective Journey Through Your Baby’s First Year) by me. :)

Did you get the copy I sent you as a thank-you for sharing your hubby with mine on his podcast?

It’s definitely not a how-to, just lots of laughs and encouragement.

Have a great weekend!


Jerbecca May 17, 2008 at 1:12 am

I looked into Babywise and Growing Kids Gods Way and its got some good stuff in there- however in can seriously be taken to the extreme. We really love Mike and Debi Pearl. They write great marraige and parenting books. Created to be His Help Meet is great book on being a wife- To Train Up a Child is an excellent book on parenting. Check out
They only use KJV bible-so I have to read thise verses and then go back and read them in my NASB to understand them!! Haha!!


steele family May 17, 2008 at 1:32 am

I am a new reader from the Smith’s blog. Congratulations, what an exciting time for you!

I have 3 children and have gone through some books!! My absolute favorite is “Touchpoints” by Dr. Brazleton. It has been accurate 100% of the time with each of my children and really speaks to the emotional, social and developmental aspects of children.

My second suggestion is “The Nursing Mother’s Companion.” This may seem obvious to you, but it wasn’t to me – read it before your baby is born! (Also, have a lactation consultant visit you in the hospital even if everything seems great.)

My third suggestion is “Healthy Sleep, Happy Child” by Marc Weissbluth. It is a little hard to read, but well worth it.


beck May 17, 2008 at 4:32 am

I have to agree with the naysayers on Babywise. I read it before having my first (and only, so far) baby who is now 14 months old. I found the approach to be “just follow this formula and it’ll be perfect.” Kids are different; if they all could be marched through a formula and respond perfectly, then great but I find a log of kids who just don’t fit the formula Babywise wants them to. Also, the main feeling I got coming away from the book was that nursing was strictly for feeding only. Whether or not they intended to portray that or not, that’s how I felt. Nursing is so much more – it’s bonding and comforting (for mother AND baby) and isn’t just about a transfer of nutrients from mom to child.
While the Ezzos didn’t help me much with Babywise, I did find some of the things they had to say about parenting really helpful (in the Growing Kids Gods Way curriculum.) So I’m not ALL opposed to them… =)
Just make sure whatever you decide to do is right for your family. And pray. Pray a LOT. =) Congratulations on the little guy – hope labor is a breeze. =)


Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years May 17, 2008 at 4:52 am

First…only read *any* of it if you have a really confident filter.

Babywise only works if the baby reads the book too. lol.

Pearl books are to be avoided if you can’t bear to take 15% and leave the other 85%.

Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart is good, even if it isn’t specifically geared for infants.

Is this your first? Just listen to your instinct–you’ll do better than you imagine if you’ll just delight yourself in the Lord during this sweet season. (And the first baby really is the sweetest season of all.)

The Lord bless you…


Carrie May 17, 2008 at 4:52 am

You’ve got to love the adventure of embarking on parenthood! And … all the advice. God created us each so differently … and because of that … we just don’t all like the same stuff :) I LOVED the combo of Babywise and The Baby Whisperer. I have 2 boys (Joshua 2 and Eli 6 months) … they were both sleeping through the night at 8 weeks and 10 weeks. Baby Whisperer was really about the same as Baby Wise it just was a bit more mellow when it came to the baby crying. Like … going in after they’ve been crying for 5 minutes to reassure them everything is okay, etc. I really liked the idea that the baby comes into the world and they like to know what’s coming … that they are going to be fed, that they are going to sleep … they actually LOVE a routine/schedule. If they are confident that the basics are being provided … they have little need to FREAK out and that … it music to you ears!

Happy exploring … fun to get everyone’s opinions. You and Matthew will have to figure out what works best for your personality types! God simply desires that Elias be LOVED like crazy by you and Matthew … and from seeing just a glimpse of you from your friendship with Angie … Eli will be blessed to have you both as parents!


Kelli May 17, 2008 at 11:39 am

The Baby Whisper is a less strenuous alternative to Baby Wise, I’d read both though :) I thought TBW was my answer to everything sane when I didn’t feel like I understood munchkin and he wasn’t getting me either :)

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Trip is my other Rec :)

ps…I have to chuckle a little about all the uproar on Babywise…
I think it’s so interesting when it’s a THEORY…and there are plenty of them out there that you may or may not agree with. You and Matthew have to do what’s right for your family :) That’s my 2 cents. Read it all and then decide…you may find that Elias needs no book at all and is a complete dream :)


Amie May 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm

I also loved The Nursing Mother’s Companion.

As a mom of five I have actually learned to avoid the “how to” parenting books.I really can’t think of even one I would recommend. Instead I have a general parenting book by Focus on the Family (Dr. Sears has a great one too) that lists milestones, symptoms, pictures of rashes ect.

Congrats on your baby!


Olivia Michal May 17, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I have a tip first. Read all the parenting books that you can while you’re still pregnant. It’s tough to find the time once the baby is here. If you want a good laugh while not feeling like you’re the only person in the world to have issues while pregnant or parenting, read “Belly Laughs” by Jenny McCarthy. It’s fantastic. S he has a parenting book follow-up but I haven’t read it yet. I’ve used “Taking Care of Your Child” a lot. It has a lot of medical tips for children and all the common diseases as well as some not as commong ones. The Girlfriends Guides are also good. AND, you may know quickly if you have a “strong-willed child” like I did and then I recommmend “”The Strong-Willed Child” by Dobson.


Lisa May 17, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Congrats on your baby to be. I am a reader,not typically a commenter! I used to be in a great mom’s bible study and we read The Five Love Languages of Children…very nice as Elias grows. God Bless you and your growing family.


Dollymama May 18, 2008 at 12:48 am

I would also encourage you to be extremely cautious about Babywise and anything else by the Ezzos. Many new parents at our church were into this stuff about 10 years ago. It caused a lot of divisive attitudes (basically the Ezzo way is the “godly way” and everything else just isn’t), one family was underfeeding their failure-to-thrive baby, and ten years later it seems that every one of those families looks back on their Ezzo years with embarrassment, regret, and rolled eyes. I’m a mother of six and the Ezzos have not one single thing I would recommend to anyone.

Nursing Your Baby was he first breastfeeding book I ever read and is still one of my favorites.

The Baby Book by Dr. Sears has many good things, but I would not recommend feeling burdened to do everything he says.

Frankly, I think you’d be best off without reading any how-to books about having a new baby. Educate yourself about having a healthy birth, breastfeeding successfully, read up on issues like immunization, and then have your baby and follow your heart.


Dollymama May 18, 2008 at 12:55 am

I just thought of one other thing. The single best parenting resource I have ever been through is Parental Guidance Required by Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner. We had a small group from church go through the book and DVD series a few years ago. It is great to watch when your kids are little, and then go through it again every couple of years. The emphasis is on so many of the larger, more permanent results of the relationship we build with our child. SO much more important than endless debates about baby schedules and naps and potty training.

You can find this resource here:


Jessica May 18, 2008 at 1:27 am

I didn’t read too many parenting, baby books…we have done what we felt was right for ourselves and our little ones. You’ll be the “professional mom” so just have confidence in your abilities and walk alongside others also parenting little ones. That’s the biggest place of help for me…listening to other moms about what they have tried with feedings, and sleeping, etc.
Once He gets a little older I would recommend the, “Boundaries” books…great for grownups and in learning how to develop appropriate interactions with your kids.
In the meantime, don’t fret! You guys will do a great job…it is the most amazing experience. You’ll learn more by “hands-on”…way more than you could ever learn from books.


The Kahler Family May 18, 2008 at 1:31 am

I didn’t read any of the previous comments, so I don’t know if they have already been suggested… Tim Kimmel and Kevin Leman are great Christian authors and have some great child focused books.
The best advice I ever received was to raise my children to love the Lord and to seek Him for answers. He won’t steer you wrong!


Paul & Angela Jenkins May 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm

I’ve been a reader but this is the first time I’ve commented. I tried to read all the comments and didn’t see my advice written but forgive me if I’m repeating something already said but missed. The one main piece of advice I have is read what you can and choose the method that fits YOUR family best. I read so much (while pregnant is best b/c there’s no time later) and tried various theories but ended up realizing that I need to parent out of my strengths and not my weaknesses.

I’m a scheduled, organized, type A personality so a laid back “baby directed” parenting approach just didn’t work. No matter how hard I tried. SO what I did is choose the method that closely matched my personality and tweaked it further to fit me. I chose Babywise b/c it had more structure which is what I needed. Now if it seemed to rigid or anal I just brought it back to fit my taste.

Line parenting up with what you are and 9 out of 10 times your child will be like you or your husband. I have 1 child that is just like me and the other just like her dad SO to parent the child/ren I follow our personalities and what works for us.That’s the best way to parent.

Lastly I used message boards online if I had questions that I couldn’t find in a book like how to get my 2 year old’s feet to stop stinking, or how to wash cloth diapers kind of thing. There is a whole wealth of info message boards just waiting to be found. Enjoy and if you have questions just ask on your blog and we’ll all answer.


Paul & Angela Jenkins May 18, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Ooh, I forgot to mention one more thing. Take LOTS and LOTS of pictures and journal everything. I’m a fellow scrapbooker and my children LOVE their scrapbooks. They get so giggly when they see them or see me working on it. Sometimes they ask me to sit and read it to them. Wish I had done more journaling.


angela May 18, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I would recommend “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Marc Weissbaum MD. We truly have a happy child and I think it’s partly due to recognizing his sleep signals and needs.


Leanne May 18, 2008 at 11:30 pm

I recommend Mommy Diagnostics by Shonda Parker…actually, anything by her!

I bet your counting down the time till Elias is born.

What a wonderful name for your firstborn baby son!

Leanne in Longview


Leanne May 18, 2008 at 11:33 pm

PS: Babywise is AWESOME!!!!!

Babywise is about not letting your child parent you. It’s about having a baby that’s not spoiled.

I read the comment from the person who was down on it, and i have to strongly disagree with that comment.

(I have 6 kids)

I did Babywise for all of them.

They’re happy, loved, well adjusted, and they get plenty of snuggling and loving!



Anonymous May 18, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Just happened on your blog thru a series of others…I receive a child training and family magazine from http://WWW.NOGREATERJOY.ORG. It is my absolute favorite magazine…beating out Real Simple, Domino and other girly mags!! I read it from cover to cover when it comes out of the mail…and I really never got into other parenting magazines. Oh, and the best part is you sign up online and it’s free:). My husband reads it too…hilarious because he is not much of a reader.


Anonymous May 19, 2008 at 3:23 am

First time reader but just had to comment and suggest some of the best parenting books we have read — we have 2 boys, 3.5 yrs and 14 mo. both “babywise” babies and good sleepers, nappers, etc. It IS worth the ‘work’ especially for your marriage if you ‘train’ them to put themselves to sleep, etc. If you never ‘let’ them cry it out or are always nursing them or holding them when they cry, hubby will start to take a back seat — not a good thing. Anyhoo, won’t go on about that. Here are some killer parenting books:
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman
Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas


John Ross May 19, 2008 at 3:55 am

Wow! I just found your blog,but had to comment that ‘The baby Book’ by dr. sears was a wonderful book to read and prepare during pregnancy. It is everything you need to know in one book for the first year!!! Plus it is written by a pediatrician!!! But like others said, I used it for information and then trusted that as a Mommy I knew best for my little one! God Bless Your journey!


blondie May 19, 2008 at 4:11 am

Have to agree with Kelly….don’t know what all the hating on BabyWise is about. Honestly, I practiced BabyWise with both of my VERY different kids and it worked great for me! But that isn’t to say that it is going to work for everybody.
There are so many different thoughts and theories on child-rearing out there. All you can do is expose yourself to whatever you can and make the decsion that is right for you.
BTW, I loved breastfeeding as I practiced BabyWise. It was in no way just “feeding”….incredible bonding took place between me and my babies during that time.
I know some have mentioned this one already but it is worth repeating….”Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” is a great book also!
Good luck!


Joy May 19, 2008 at 5:21 am

I had a few books and I cracked them open a few times, especially when the babies were sick. And I am an avid reader. In the midst of being spit up on and being pooed on and trying to find sleep… I just never got around to it.

I do like “Baby Week-by-Week” because you can devote one night of the week to learning about baby’s development and milestones! I found that one at for less than $15.


As You Wish May 19, 2008 at 11:48 pm

I wanted to second the earlier recommendation of “Touchpoints” by Dr. Brazelton. The advice in this book really felt right to me, and that would be the best suggestion to you. Read through all the books you can now while you have the time and non-sleep deprived brain to take all the info in, and follow what feels right in your heart.


Maria Hanson May 21, 2008 at 3:15 am

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, is THE BEST!


Jasmin May 22, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Hey Jessica, I should probably introduce myself…I’m Jasmin, Mike Morrell’s wife, I think our husbands are friends, or at least, mutually addicted to books and publishing. He showed me your blog today, and first off, congratulations on your upcoming arrival!

Our daughter Jubilee is about to turn one (man, the time flies). One book that I really loved during my pregnancy was “Great Expectations” (not by Dickens, but by Sandy Jones and Marcie Jones). It’s a little like the “What to Expect” series except it seemed like they were giving a little better/more educated information.

Anyway, all the other books that I’d recommend have already been suggested, so I won’t repeat them, but congrats again to you!


mamachristina May 23, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I love the book creative corrections by Lisa Whelchel. She is an amzing writer and has awesome ideas for toddlers and up.


mamachristina May 23, 2008 at 7:44 pm

sorry I wanted to comment on lisa’s comment. When in doubt read her comment again. No child is generic and a book is based on expieriences and can give insight but always go on your instincts.


Hi, I'm Amber. June 1, 2008 at 4:04 am

If you buy no other book, please buy “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Marc Weisbuth. This book will save your sanity… I promise. My first baby didn’t sleep for the first six weeks. Then I found this book… wow. Just by following its guidelines for maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, I now have a 3 year old and a 1 year old who sleep 12-13 hours solid every night. I’m telling you… it’s the best money you’ll shell out in your baby preparations!!


Hi, I'm Amber. June 1, 2008 at 4:14 am

And one more thing… I combined “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” with the daytime routine outlined in Babywise and it worked well for us. I think BabyWise is a great book with great guidelines, but I always used it as a “fall back” resource to creating a schedule that fit my children and my family. I think the principles behind it are good and Biblical. I’m all about books that focus of Biblical parenting, right? Oh, and “Creative Correction” by Lisa Welchel is awesome when Eli gets a little older!


Anonymous June 11, 2008 at 3:27 am

I know so many mommies who Babywise has made crazy. I’m so glad I never opened it when I was a new mommy– I was warned too many times about it! Babies need their mommies when they are brand new– not to be left to cry. Well, that may be more opinion then you were wanting, but I will tell you the book I loved. I think someone else has mentioned it here– “Happiest Baby on the Block” was the best book! It made total sense to me (but be warned, it’s the complete opposite of Babywise, which is maybe why I loved it!). It really just depends on you and the parenting style you want to adopt (and your personality). Since a natural delivery is very important to you, I would guess that you would go the “Happiest Baby” route as opposed to the “Babywise” route, but I could be wrong. In any case, good luck!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: