Written by Kate von Schellwitz, Registered Physiotherapist
Why in the heck am I talking to you about this? Well I’ll say this here and then I’ll say it in every other post that’s seemingly unrelated to pelvic floor physiotherapy. If I can help you somehow make parenting easier- that is going to be helpful for your pelvic floor. Hands down. Removing stress, creating space for rest, possibly preventing in some small way burn out… or yelling… all these things are helpful for your pelvic floor. I am in no way a parenting expert but I am a parent- and these things have helped me.
You’re going to get approximately one million recommendations on books to read in preparing for parenthood. I remember being pregnant with my first and a well-meaning family member gave a stack of- quite seriously- at least 20 books (almost all of which were, of course, outdated). I read exactly two of those books and got a few more of my own from my own research- so I’ve compiled what I hope is a manageable [not overwhelming] list of what I have found most relevant and valuable.
First off, start at the beginning. Don’t read about how to parent a toddler just yet. You’re going to forget in the chaos that is having a baby. Just put one foot in front of the other.
I think the only book I would recommend reading with regards to pregnancy would be this one:
Expecting Better- Emily Oster - I strongly encourage you to read this one if you’re newly pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Let’s dispel the myths around coffee while pregnant etc and get you the ACTUAL information.
And then these ones I would read before baby comes:
Crib Sheets- Emily Oster – this is her follow up book. Also fantastic. It talks all those controversial parenting topics and what the data actually says re: SIDS, Breast vs Bottle, screen time etc.
Happiest Baby on the Block/ Guide to Sleep- Dr. Harvey Karp - I found Dr. Karp’s information on sleep very very valuable- particularly in understanding the science of baby sleep.
And then these ones are for a little later in the game:
Before you introduce solids- if you’re at all interested in baby led feeding this was a super helpful guide:
Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be- Dr. Becky Kennedy. All that stuff you hear about “gentle parenting”… okay but what about when your child is actually kicking and hitting and spitting and screaming etc etc etc…? And now maybe you are introducing a sibling and a baby actually needs you right this second and your other one is losing their mind- how do you “gentle” parent in that situation? Dr. Becky is where it’s at- her whole thing is not “gentle” but “sturdy”. I had/have what one might call- a feral toddler. He’s now a preschooler who is developing into an incredible human – but he’s wild and spicy- and Dr. Becky makes me a better parent for him. And it is not all hypothetical situations, she really gives you the nitty gritty on how to execute.
Early Bird Learning—Okay not a book, but a parenting resource that I think is INCREDIBLE. I actually know the founders of Early Bird and happen to think they are wonderful humans but objectively their content and their app is just SO amazing and helpful. I have never felt like a natural parent… comforting them yes, snuggling them yes… but like what do I DO with them? I had no idea what activities to do with my kids- this app has saved me… COUNTLESS times.
I’ll update this as time goes on but these are the things I’ve found to be the most helpful so far. Also- if you're in the thick of parenting or working or both and truly feel you absolutely do not have time to read books at this stage in your life; audiobooks are where it's at. I'll typically listen on my commute or while I'm doing laundry etc.
Hope this helps you in your journey too.