Since the birth of Little L the amount of time I spend reading has definitely diminished. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done any reading though. I have of course found some time to read up on infant development and even squeezed in a little pleasure reading, too.
When I was pregnant with Little L, I pored over two pregnancy books in particular – Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel’s What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler’s Your Pregnancy Week by Week. I loved these books – I was practically addicted to them, constantly reading and rereading passages.
So after Little L was born, I thought I would be just as into reading the “sequels” to those books – What to Expect the First Year (Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway) and Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week (also Curtis and Schuler).
However, that hasn’t really been the case. I have no criticism of these books, it’s just that Little L came six weeks early, so he hasn’t hit his developmental milestones at the same time as a so-called “normal” baby. Not that any baby develops at exactly the same rate as any other. It’s just that tracking his development the same way I tracked my pregnancy doesn’t really work. I do have a hand-me-down copy of Your Baby’s First Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics from my sister that I do refer to, knowing that I have to subtract six weeks from Little L’s actual age to adjust for where he should be developmentally.
It has been a good solid resource filled with all the basic, practical information a new parent can use, and a new edition just came out last month.
Because Little L was born prematurely I found myself turning to two books in particular during the first month or so after his birth – Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies by Dana Wechsler Linden, Emma Trenti Paroli, and Mia Wechsler Doron and The Premature Baby Book: Everything You Need to About Your Premature Baby from Birth to Age One by James, Martha, Robert, and William Sears. Both of these books helped me understand what I might experience over the next few months with my baby and how best to care for him. These books are very detailed and full of important information.
Let me just say here that Little L has always been very healthy. He did have to stay in the NICU for his first three weeks, but that was just so he could learn to eat on his own and put on some weight. My husband and I are so grateful and feel so blessed that he has not had to endure the difficult journey many premature babies do.
However, even though I found both of these books extremely helpful and would recommend them to any parent of a premature baby, I couldn’t always bring myself to read them. I especially had a hard time opening them up during those three weeks Little L was in the hospital. It’s a difficult thing to leave the hospital without your newborn, even when you know he’s doing fine and is being cared for by excellent doctors and nurses. On more than one occasion I broke down in tears while reading these books. I hated being separated from my little boy, I felt bad that he had such a rough start to his life, and I felt so, so sorry for those parents of other premature babies having to deal with the major complications and health problems described in the books.
It was at those times when I couldn’t bear to read another sentence about sick little babies that I met a new literary friend – Sookie Stackhouse. Yes, instead of moping and feeling blue, I read about Charlaine Harris’ young waitress, her vampire boyfriend, and their supernatural adventures. I know this series may seem like an odd choice for my situation, but sometimes you just need an escape, and the Sookie Stackhouse series definitely fills that need. I’ve only read the first three books in the series so far, but I’m totally hooked.
Oh, and one more title that any new parent can use: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.
Even though Little L is not a fussy baby, it isn’t always easy to get him to sleep. This is another book recommended by my sister, whose own son is a year and a half older than mine. She’s been a great resource for me. Weissbluth gives down-to-earth advice on how to get your child to sleep better, and even though my husband and I have not been perfect about following his instructions, this has been a great guide. The book is broken down by age, with tips for each level, and Weissbluth does address prematurity and how it affects sleep development, which I appreciate.
Remember – it is possible for a new parent to fit in a little reading, and I highly recommend it for maintaining your sanity!