Three Must-Read Books for New Moms

Last night we attended what we thought would be a low-key birthday party for our longtime friend, Uncle Lee, who is not actually anyone’s uncle. He and his wife, Mandy, pulled off a quick little last-minute shin-dig at the Davenport Lounge. After hugs, kisses and a few high-fives, Lee whipped out his phone and showed us a favorite picture… a sonogram of their first child. This wasn’t just a birthday party. More kisses, more hugs, more high-fives and few added tears of joy.

Lee and Mandy are that couple everyone prays will be parents someday because everything they bring into the world is always good.

While I’ve learned over the year to offer parenting advice only when asked, there are a few things new parents don’t typically think about while marinating in gestational bliss.

There is a reason you hear so many mothers joke/lament about the last time they actually read a book. And since you have some time before baby arrives, try to get in as much reading as possible because you will soon be tired and hormonal and your brain will turn to mush.

Here are three books every new parent should read before giving birth.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

The most valuable thing you can wrapped your head around before baby arrives is the importance of sleep and it’s direct impact on the cognitive development of the young, developing brain. Sleep training is the first real parenting mountain that you must climb because it involves allowing your child to be uncomfortable (cry), albeit only temporarily, so that healthy sleep habits are established. Healthy sleep = happy child. Every child is different, of course, but if you understand the science behind sleep as it relates to babies and children, you will be ahead of the curve. This is one area you don’t have to learn as you go. Arm yourself and start thinking about how you feel about all this sleep training stuff. And be warned: sleep training is a hot topic in the parenting jungle. You will find very strong opinions with every approach… and there are many. Take the time to figure out where you might fit into the conversation.

bright from the start

Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3

Again, we’re talking brain development. If you don’t think screen time directly impacts your kid’s long-term ability to think, learn, focus, sustain, communicate, relate, or stimulate, think again. For the “normal” child, apps and videos are babysitters, not educational tools. They do not help your child become smarter no matter how you slice it. Accept that and move on. This book with help you set your kid’s brain up for success.

belly laughs

Belly Laughs, 10th anniversary edition: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth

Long before launching a worldwide crusade against vaccinations, McCarthy actually used to make us moms laugh so hard we’d pee, which, by the way, happens more and more once you have kids. So do your kegels. If you can’t laugh about it, what’s the point? Find the humor and enjoy the ride.

5 Tips For A Great Gender Reveal

Gender reveals have become an exciting new way to celebrate your pregnancy in addition to a baby shower. I for one love this new craze! So, what is a gender reveal?

A gender reveal is an opportunity for expecting parents to share the gender of their baby with family and friends in a creative way. This could be done at a party, a photo announcement, or both! Here are 5 tips on how to host a memorable gender reveal party.

hireaphotographer1

Hire a photographer – Your event is going to fly by but pictures will last you a lifetime. If a photographer is not in the budget, ask a close friend with a nice camera to take some shots for you (what a great gift!). Just make sure to get yourself (and your bump) in front of the camera and smile. Trust me, after the baby comes most of your time will be spent behind the camera so for now, take part in the fun. You can also use your pictures for announcing the gender to family and friends unable to attend your event. This way, everyone can have fun finding out whether it will be bows or bow ties.

thinkoutsidecake2Think outside of the cake – Pink and blue inside a beautiful cake is not the only concept for a gender announcement. Try incorporating elements that are special to you and your significant other, your relationship, hobbies, or things that just make you smile. That way the reveal has a personal touch. If you are an artist, plan something with paint. If you’re a writer, use your gift of storytelling. If you love to dance, plan a flash mob to make the reveal! There are only two outcomes to the reveal, but there are an unlimited number of ways to tell everyone.

leteveryoneplay3Let everyone play – Gender reveals have given birth, haha, to a whole new set of games. Games are great because the odds of winning are high (50/50). Instead of making everyone wait around for you to make the big announcement, let your guests participate in this exciting event. Create Pink or Blue teams and have them pick their team based on their answers to some of  the gender-based on old wives tales about pregnancy (what your cravings are, how you carry, etc.). Award the winning team with a fun gift, like a free pass on diaper duty or a small version of something you’ve been craving.

keepitsimple4Stressed? scale back – This is a fun way to share the news but it is not a necessity. If you find yourself getting stressed out planning the best gender reveal of the century, just scale back. The whole point is to fun and reveal to those you love the most whether you are having a girl or a boy. It is perfectly fine to keep it simple.

surpriseyourself5Surprise yourself – When you go in for your ultrasound, ask the technician to write the gender of the baby on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. Give the envelope to a trustworthy friend, family member or party planner who can help you plan your gender reveal. Then sit back and enjoy the surprise. Another reason to be sure you have a photographer (see Tip #1).

Revealing your baby’s gender is a fun experience for everyone, but the best part has yet to come!

Have you ever attended a gender reveal party? Did you have one yourself? What made it a success?

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