What to Read During Pregnancy and Early Parenthood – A Tip Sheet

It’s incredibly easy to get sucked into the overload of information, on pregnancy, birth, and all things parenting. Understandably, as in tune and caring parents we all want to make sure we’re embarking on parenting in the “right” way. Finding out as much information can give us a deeper understanding about our situation, and evoke empathy for ourselves and for our little ones. But it does also have the potential to create anxiety, guilt, and countless worries.

So how can we find the right balance of information ingestion, as we weave through our parenting journey? Here are 4 tips to help guide your choices.

Disclaimer: This is in no way a “do this, don’t do that” post. There is enough of this type of information out there. Parenting is about finding your own truths and your own path, taking what feels right from a variety of sources and ultimately, believing in yourself.

Reading materials

1. Opt for a few, high quality books that resonate with you.

The amount of prenatal, birth and parenting books lining the shelves of bookstores, and on the internet, is endless. We don’t need to read everything, to feel confident and be prepared. A couple of high quality books are enough.

When choosing your books you might want to consider these questions:

  • Is the book up to date? There are some great ‘older’ books out there that have been updated successfully. But many older books just have not translated well into our current parenting times. It’s safe to say that while leggings, neon accessories and plastic scrunchies, are back in style, we can ditch any dated literature. 
  • When flipping through it, does it immediately feel right? If words pop out at you and make you smile, or strike a chord, it’s a keeper. If not, let it go. 
  • Is it humourous? Humour is a major parenting asset. Anything that can make us laugh, while offering useful advice, is worth reading. 
  • Are there practical examples? Theory and facts are amazing. But we need to see some of this theory in action, to really understand how to apply it to our own lives. Do the examples feel real and relatable? Are they sugar coated and “perfect”? Or can you see the imperfections of parenting shining through? 
  • Is it easy to pick up and put down?  You’re time will be limited on this parenting journey. You’ll want to be using all of your seconds wisely. 
  • Who recommended it to me, and do I align with their parenting style? Really consider this point. You and your family are unique and won’t align with everyone’s parenting style. Recognizing this early on is hugely beneficial. 
  • Is the book applicable to your partner? Can you share it with them? If you have support people in your life, it’s important to get them involved as much as you can, from as early on as possible. Some reading materials can help spark great conversation and outline your goals as parents.

You can check out a list of my personal favourites here.

2. Choose online groups that truly support you.

Just like books, the world of online support groups is vast and does have the ability to be extremely supportive and reassuring. Groups can also be specific and suit your unique needs. Additionally, they can often lead to local parent meet ups.  

However, these groups can also point us in directions we just did not know were possible and frankly, did not want to venture in. When considering your groups it’s worth considering these points:

  • Be picky. Try to avoid joining every group out there or you’ll likely be overwhelmed. 
  • Don’t be afraid to leave groups that no longer support your values. 
  • Turn off notifications for groups or posts, when you need a break. 
  • Try to take social media breaks. Carve out parts of your day, or even an entire day (I know, I know, this is H-A-R-D!) where your social media is turned off. This can help give your mind and psyche a break.

3. Be mindful about your time spent on search engines.

There is no denying how useful search engines can be. They lead us to blog posts, products, local shops, and can help bring peace of mind around many of our concerns. However, they also have the ability to lead us down the rabbit hole of worry. When browsing the internet try to be mindful of the following:

  • For anything medically related your first point of call, should be your doctor, health care practitioner, or a Telehealth type service. 
  • Find blogs that truly speak to you and your parenting style and disregard the rest. 
  • Limit your search to reputable sources. Look for cited evidence and read the bios of any of the authors. 
  • When searching for parenting and health practitioners (sleep support, lactation consultants, chiropractors etc.) look for personal referrals, as well as online presence.

4. Trust yourself and your baby.

While all of the above areas have their merits, there is nothing like trusting in yourself and your children. You have grown these tiny humans. You truly do know how to read yourself and your baby best.

You’ve got this, mama. Choose reading materials that deeply support and nourish you, and leave the rest up to you and your children. You’re body, mind and soul know much more than you think.