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Health-Related Books for a Growing Family

My friend Nat, whom I met in Grade 6 and despite a rocky start, became best my friend and roommate through our university years, described me recently as having a ‘curious mind’. It’s true, I devour information and, even in this digital age, I prefer to read an actual paper book. I get comments all time in airports about carrying my paper book around. And beach-reads are often books on business, parenting, herbalism, anatomy, and health. I really can’t get enough!

A list of some of my favourite evidence-based health-related books for growing families.

PREGNANCY

Pregnancy, for me, brought a huge desire for knowledge. I read everything I could get my hands on, and there are books I would recommend and others I wouldn’t bother with. I am a HUGE proponent of books that are empowering and celebrate the inherent strength of women.

Birth Matters and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, both by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin is a certified professional midwife and if she isn’t a named national treasure, she should be! She has been a midwife for more than 30 years at The Farm in Summertown, TN. She has a 96% success rate of babies being born without medical assistance and has led the way in the conversation about women’s strength and ability to birth their babies without fear.

THUMBS DOWN – Despite its ubiquity, I DO NOT recommend What to Expect When You’re Expecting – I find that book very fear-based and, at least the copy I had, outdated in its approach.

POSTPARTUM

THIS is a topic I can’t get enough of and my biggest wish is for a new mother’s well-being to be a much larger priority! Some of my favourites include:

Natural Health after Birth by Aviva Jill Romm

Aviva Jill Romm, M.D. is a doctor, a certified professional midwife, practicing herbalist and mother of four. This book dispenses practical wisdom, herbs, yoga, and nutrition to help you recover physically after birth. If ever there is a woman that embodies the strength of being female and the turning points that change your life forever (like I explore on our Ripple Effect podcast – seriously, CHECK OUT HER BIO) – Aviva’s website is also a treasure trove of advice for wellness.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. This is a tome!

Best used as a reference book during the postpartum period (you won’t have time to read the whole thing), but I highly recommend you DO read it cover to cover at some point (I finally got through it around my 40th birthday, it covers a lot of very helpful peri-menopausal information.

BABY

Hand’s down: The Baby Book by William Sears M.D., Martha Sears, R.N., Robert Sears, M.D., and James Sears, M.D.

A comprehensive reference book filled with everything you need to know about your baby’s development and care from birth to age two. It’s a classic, evidence based, and uses gentle parenting approaches. Plus, the Sears’ have 10 CHILDREN, they have the practical experience to back it up! Also visit their website or use their apps for great pediatric resources, as well.

The Attachment Parenting Book by William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N.

This book explains the benefits – to both you and your child – of intuitive connection and gentle parenting techniques. This book put into words the kinds of parent I wanted to be but didn’t have the vocabulary to explain. A must-read!

TODDLERS

There’s only one: The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.

This book changed everything for me in understanding why toddlers have such tantrums. Spoiler alert: it all stems from unmet needs! I hold this book responsible for improving the emotional intelligence of everyone in our family and I recommend it often. Believe me, these techniques work for pouty teenagers and adults too!

ILLNESS

When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate, M.D.

I feel strongly that this is a must-read! If you are not familiar with Dr. Gabor Mate‘s work, he is breaking new ground on the basis of addiction being rooted in emotional trauma and how emotional memory affects our cells – it’s some deep quantum physics thinking, the kind of stuff I can’t get enough of . And given our society has us all stressed by default, it is a great book to really make us think!

Let me know some of your favourite books, and why! I’d love to read them!