Pregnancy Book Must Haves

Pregnancy Book Must Haves

Pregnancy Book Must Haves by oykristen // 1. The Birth Partner by Patty Simkin // 2. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin // 3. Active Birth by Janet Balaskas // 4. Birthing from Within by Pam England & Rob Horowitz // 5. Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize // 6. Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan // 7. The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg // 8. Babywise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam // 9. Raising Baby Green by Alan Greene // 10. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp // 11. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman // 12. The Honest Life by Jessica Alba //

Pregnancy Book Must Haves.

I might have over-read in preparation for labor/delivery. But I was so curious to know everything I possibly could about all the different methods, techniques, schools of thought, and others' experiences in having babies. What can I say. My nightstand was littered with these reads for months, and I am still reading a few of these now. The pregnancy is over, the baby is here, and oh my, there is much more to be learned!

These are some of the standout books I read while I grew a baby in my belly. Most were compelling, some were monotonous, a few were funny, a few were too serious, but all of them helped me prepare for my intro to labor, delivery and motherhood. I should note that most of these books have a natural approach, meaning they were based around the conviction and case for an un-medicated birth experience. I've included notes for a few of them, now that I've actually HAD my baby and can speak to what was helpful in properly preparing me for the unknown. If you are expecting, I hope this reading guide will help you as you prep for your little one!

1. The Birth Partner by Patty Simkin

This wonderful read was recommended to Stevie by our doula, Liz. She is so rad. I didn't read this book, because it was for him, but he actually read it. And sometimes read it out loud to me. Which says a lot.

2. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

This lady. Is the original hippie midwife. This guide to childbirth tells story after story of pain-free, fearless natural childbirth experiences from real women. It kinda gets you all jazzed up, if you're interested in pursuing a more natural route for labor and delivery. I'll admit, some of it is a bit too crunchy-granola for me, but I still appreciate the heart of this woman. She's pretty fierce.

*Note: This book ended up being my favorite pregnancy read and I would recommend this to anyone seeking an un-medicated birth. It was encouraging, yet realistic, and offered so much helpful information about how to have a natural childbirth.

3.  Active Birth by Janet Balaskas

Hahhaha this is a classic, natural childbirth book, naked pictures and all. My big sis lent me this one. This book focuses on a few different breathing techniques that are useful during labor, and provides a full pregnancy stretching guide, as well. It's a bit 80's, but another great supplemental guide and case for natural labor/delivery.

4. Birthing from Within by Pam England & Rob Horowitz

This is by FAR the crunchiest of all childbirth books. But I loved it! Yes, there might be a few too many encouraging assignments to create "birth art" with your partner (you know, coloring pictures together of your birth-related hopes and dreams.) But there are also a ton of emotional/mental healing exercises for women who have had previous traumatic pregnancy or birth experiences. I really got a lot out of it, even though this is my first baby. If you're interested in going natural but you have some fear about pursuing it due to your past experiences, this is an excellent, positive, helpful read.

*Note: There is a lot of interactive emphasis encouraged in this book. If you are a hands-on learner, this is a great choice for you. Be prepared to engage in art exercises, journaling and out-loud processing with your birth partner.

5. Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize

This woman has had a bunch of kids. She hasn't had pain in any of her childbirths. She outlines the reasons she believes that every woman can have the experiences she's had - she provides her stories, biblical scripture to back up why she believes what she believes, and some prayers at the end of the book that you can utilize during pregnancy/labor/delivery. Again, it might seem far-fetched, but this woman has LIVED these experiences. Can't argue with someone's experience.

*Note: This book could set unrealistic expectations, as I came to learn.  

6. Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan

Oh hypnobirthing. This is the method that I used to prepare for my labor/delivery process. Basically, Hypnobirthing teaches women how to expel all pre-conceived fears they might have about giving birth. It particularly focuses on retraining the way you think about childbirth (hence, the "hypno"), utilizing specific breathing techniques and empowering a "birth partner" as your support person in the labor/delivery room. The "hypno" part seems to freak a lot of people out, but it shouldn't. It's very focused on training oneself to deeply relax.

Note: We also took a hypnobirthing course, which really helped us activate the tools outlined in the book. I also feel compelled to mention that I didn't really find myself using these tools once I was actually in labor, but I believe all the prep work we did with this method made a big difference in my experience, so I definitely recommend it.

7. The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg

This is an awesome, up-to-date baby name book. It doesn't just give names and their meanings, it also gives rank of popularity, where the name has been trending in pop culture, and similar/related names. We already had Everett's name picked out, but there were some great contenders listed that we considered.

8. Babywise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam

I started it. I haven't finished it. But apparently this book is like, a really big deal.

9. Raising Baby Green by Alan Greene

This isn't a pregnancy book, but a lifestyle guide on how to raise, well, a green baby. This book is THOROUGH. It covers everything you need to know about raising a baby in a toxic-free, organic environment. Cleaning products, types of paint to use in your home decor, cribs and gliders and lunch boxes and baby food blenders and recipes and clothing... I could go on and on. It's all in this book.

*Note: This book can be kind of annoying. But it is a super thorough guide so I had to include it.

10. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

LOOOOOOOVE. This book is so great. Got a crying, colic-y child? Have no fear. This book is here. And it's not just a guide on how to shut your child up. Excuse me, I meant, quiet the precious gift from God. But it also references tons of research on why this method works. And for someone like my husband, who trusts the words/advice/research of a Doctor above all, he really appreciated Dr. Karp's reasoning behind his method.

*Note: This method WORKS. At least with our baby.

11. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

This is just a funsie. This New York Times author moved to France and had a baby, then realized that French children are infinitely more polite and better behaved than American children. So she sought to discover why. It's a fun and interesting read. And a nice break from some of the more serious child-rearing books out there.

12. The Honest Life by Jessica Alba 

Seriously, Jessica Alba has GOT to stop stealing all of my money. Her company, The Honest Co., is a line item in our budget these days. We are such suckers. BUT. It all started with this read. This book outlines her journey in pursuing eco-friendly, healthy, non-toxic choices for her personal life and her family. Yes, she's an actress with a business (insert critical emoji of your choice.) But her story is one that I connected with - don't we all want the best for our children? This book is a great guide on how to make healthy, clean, organic choices for your family - included are kid-approved recipes, seasonal food guides, eco-friendly cleaning tips & recommendations, organic hair/makeup/skincare routines - and it's all easy, NOT super time-consuming and affordable.

Any books that you would recommend to someone who is expecting a baby? Include in the comments section below!

Noel: Gift Guide For the Homebody

Christmas Gift Guide: For the Homebody

Christmas Gift Guide: For the Homebody by knhale // 1. Anthropologie Mr. Boddington's Pride and Prejudice // 2. Capri Blue Volcano Candle in a Jar // 3. Origins Lavender and Vanilla Body Souffle // 4. Scoutmob Coexistence Flower Art Print // 5. Anthropologie Amethyst Crystal Lamp Base // 6. Fortnum and Mason Royal Tea // 6. Scoutmob Pink Himalayan Bath Salts // 7. Free People Border Print Robe // 8. Kate Spade New York Larabee Road Coffee Pot // 10. Williams Sonoma Agate Gold-Rimmed Coasters // 11. Horchow Sferra Emma Pointelle Throw // 12. Piperlime Sabine Emerald Green Pave Stud // 13. UGG Ansley Women's Mahogany Slippers //

For the Homebody.

This gift guide is for that lady who chooses to (or needs to!) hibernate when the weather gets chilly. If you're ridiculously busy with all the reasons in the world that you have to stay busy, it's time for your reality check (and bubble bath!) Put down the iPhone and the to-do list and aaaaaaaaaallll the other excuses you have to NOT relax. And just take a moment for you.

If you know someone who needs a good vacation from the mind, this guide should steer you in the right direction. Your secret santa could use a relaxing soak in the tub with a classic read, a decadent candle and absolutely nothing on the calendar.

Happy gifting!

October Delights List

October List

October List by knhale // 1. Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good Cookbook // 2. Trader Joes Autumn Mums // 3. Urban Outfitters Staring at the Stars Cardigan // 4. Capri Blue Mercury Glass Candle // 5. Urban Outfitters Midi Chain Ring // 6. Kate Spade New York Cedar Street Maise Handbag // 7. Origins Plantscription Serum // 8. Anthropologie Petite silk pants // 9. Paper-Source Gold Confetti Thank You Notes // 10. Christian Dior Miss Dior Fragrance // 11. Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick //

Oh October. 

I really love this month because Autumn begins to set in and I get to celebrate the birth of some of my absolutely favorite people. First my mother in law (she's pure joy, people, seriously) and then both of my gorgeous, talented sisters. It's an absolute thrill gift-shopping for all of them, because it's so much fun to shower the ones you love with treasured surprises. And when you're doing it on a budget, you have to be selective and really think about what they want... which leads to discovering things you kinda want, too. This list is a compilation of a few things I've pick up here here and there and a few things I'm dreaming about. 

With all the wonders of fall comes one not-so-wonderous occurrence: dry skin. I've been using (7) Origins Plantscription Serum and it's really doing the trick. I am no stranger to Origins products, but this one is an especially magical elixir. In excitement for fall, I decorated my outdoor space with a bevy of these (2) fun fall mums in several colors and I ordered a sample of this (10) Christian Dior Miss Dior Fragrance from Sephora (we shall see how it goes, I'm pretty selective about my perfume choices.) I'm getting motivated to start cooking healthy again, so this (1) Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good Cookbook is on my list to buy. My adorable god-daughter got me my first Kate Spade bag for my birthday (does that little gal have excellent taste or WHAT?) so it's caused me to stumble over to their site and start drooling over maaaaaany of their gorgeous creations for fall, like (6) Kate Spade New York Cedar Street Maise Handbag. My sweetheart-of-a-sister-in-law got me this truly deliciously-scented (4) Capri Blue Mercury Glass Candle for my birthday, and it's been making my house smell like a masterpiece. Well, actually, it smells like Anthropologie, and that's pretty much my idea of what Heaven smells like. Score. And I might have treated myself to a few little things, like these (5) Urban Outfitters Midi Chain Ring and an old favorite, (11) Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick, but those were just for funsies. And since I've been writing a fair share of thank-you notes this week, these (9) Paper-Source Gold Confetti Thank You Notes have definitely gotten the best of me. They're so delicately pretty it's dangerous. The rest are dream items. Although I'm not totally sure how well I could rock those slouchy silk (8) Anthropologie Petite silk pants (but they are just so darn cute.)

Keep dreaming of lovely Autumn things, dear Oy-sters. The weather is just right for dreaming.