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Favorite Shower Presents

by Jocelyn Smith

One of the common questions posted on the Gentle Christian Mothers message board is, "Help! I'm going to a baby shower and want to give them a book-what should I buy?" This column is going to look at three of the most commonly suggested books.

The first, The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Childcare, is by Dr. William and Martha Sears. This book is fantastic for opening doors for discussion on parenting. More than one mom has commented that when she first read it (before her baby was born) she thought it was too permissive, or just not for her, but after the birth of her baby she re-read it and started to be more open to the attachment parenting ideas presented in its chapters.

A bonus is the prologue, which features a fictional couple who take a parenting class at their church similar to the Babywise or Preparation for Parenting classes by the Ezzos. This fortunate (or, since they're Christians, blessed!) pair has wise advisors to steer them clear of the pitfalls in the controlling parenting curriculum from which they're learning. The make-believe dad is extremely clueless, which might be a little offensive to those real-life dads who read the book. Overall, however, it's an effective, gentle rebuttal to the Babywise program. Also, it's a great way to start your friends on their journey to gentle discipline, as later in the book there is a chapter on the topic.

A great secular book, appropriate for both Christians and non-Christians in my opinion, is Attachment Parenting by Katie Allison Granju and Betsy Kennedy, R.N. Sassy in tone but very well-researched, this book will have the reader exclaiming, "Yeah! Why don't more people parent this way?" Some Christians might find the references to evolutionary theory as support for the attachment parenting ideals offensive. These are not too pervasive in the text, however (mostly in the bolded quotes used to introduce topics). I particularly enjoy reading the chapters on breastfeeding, especially the section entitled, "Breastfeeding isn't better, it's just normal." It introduced me to a whole new way of thinking about formula vs. breastmilk!

Of course, no attachment parenting library is complete without The Baby Book, by Dr. William and Martha Sears. This extensive reference (subtitled Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two) has been worn to shreds in my house! From medical advice to attachment parenting plugs, this book really is an all-in-one course on parenting the attached way. Its index alone is worth the price. Even if you already have The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Childcare, I recommend purchasing The Baby Book because the information in the latter is far more in-depth.

Finally, it's always wise to remember older siblings of a soon-to-arrive baby at a shower. If you choose to get a book for the children, We Have a Baby by Cathryn Falwell is an excellent choice. It is suitable for children ages 1-4 and does a great job with simple text. Also, the baby is breastfed, which is always a great thing to show possible older nurslings.

Jocelyn is a student and sahmama to her spirited son, and her wee daughter is due to be born any day now! You can visit her website at http://www.angelfire.com/tn2/highneedbaby/index.html.

Copyright 2003
Article first published in the December 2002 issue of Gentle Mothering

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