I'm not sure if this is strange, but I really miss school. Well, graduate school at least. I got my M.A. in Child Development in 2005. I loved grad school, because I was studying a topic that I'm fascinated by, and I was there because I wanted to be! In my family (I'm sure in most U.S. families), it is an expectation that one will attend college (and I did love my college experience, if not all of my classes), but grad school was a real pleasure. One of my favorite classes was called "Infancy." Doesn't that sound nice?
I still love to read about topics in child development, and motherhood has given me even more motivation to do so! Especially the "little details" I didn't learn much about as a student, like pregnancy, infant feeding and sleeping (which have actually turned out to be huge details. These issues consume the life of parents everywhere!).
When I was pregnant, my favorite resources were Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Regarding breastfeeding, the essential book to have is The Nursing Mother's Companion: Revised Edition
. I still use this book for reference on a regular basis! I found it particularly helpful to read some sections of this book before William was born- it dispels a lot of breastfeeding misconceptions, taught me how to get a good start, and helped me feel prepared for the challenges that can arise. It also has a short discussion on the introduction of solid food, which to sum it up was "take it slow," especially if you are trying to continue breastfeeding past the six month mark. kellymom.com is also a wonderful resource for breastfeeding issues.
Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense
is my feeding bible! I bought it when William was approaching six months, the time when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends trying to start solid foods. I wish I had it before William was born, as it addresses bottle and breastfeeding as well. Ellyn Satter looks at the feeding relationship as one that develops from birth, and as a dynamic one. Both parent and child play a role in the relationship, and Satter stresses that parents need to "maintain a division of responsibility in feeding." This is not in regards to who feeds the baby, but rather what roles parent and child should hold to have a healthy, successful feeding relationship. She asserts that "parents are responsible for the what, when and where of feeding; children are responsible for the how much and whether of eating." This simple concept seemed to me to be a great way to approach the introduction of solid foods to William, as it echoes the approach I've always taken with him and breastfeeding ("on cue" rather than scheduled nursing).