"Diaper Free - The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene" by Ingrid Bauer

This makes all kinds of sense to me-- think about it, how did people deal with babies' elimination before diapers were invented? The babies were not just going all over the house (or hut, or cave, or tent, etc.). In the U.S., most people first train their babies to go in diapers, then they have to teach them later that what they've been doing their whole young lives is wrong, and now the kids have to learn to use the toilet. It seems to me like it's much easier to just train them not to pee and poop on themselves right from the start, while it's still instinctual.

Granted, it seems like it's an easier path if you have the luxury of staying home with your baby without returning to work in the first year or two. But if you choose to put your baby in daycare, this book does have encouraging examples of ways to train your baby "part-time" in that case-- you're still in charge of your baby all night, after all. There are lots of helpful photos of different positions to hold your baby while they go, and descriptions of various methods different parents have used successfully.

The book doesn't promote one silver bullet, some magical technique that will enable every parent to help every child develop perfect bathroom hygiene. It's more of an encouraging guidebook to give parents different tips and tools to use as they determine what exactly will work for them and their own baby. Every situation is going to be a little bit different, based on the temperaments of the baby, the parents, other caretakers, and the community. But regardless of the situation, there is never a reason that diapers must be used exclusively.

The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids

This is a quick read, and illuminating. This book, written by Madeline Levine, explains which parental behaviors inhibit their children's emotional growth. Some things are common sense, but others are counter-intuitive. I thought the chapter called "How We Connect Makes All the Difference" was useful since it detailed the difference between "good warmth" and "bad warmth", and how to correct children without criticizing them. There are also warnings that certain types of praise can foster a desire in kids to be motivated by external factors rather than harnessing internal motivation, and that can lead to problems for them.

The Six Stages Of Parenthood by Ellen Galinsky

I recommend this book for any parent or prospective parent (since the first stage actually begins before you have a child). It highlights the cognitive and emotional changes all parents must go through as their children grow and develop. It was reassuring to know that some of the thoughts I'm having during pregnancy are "normal" and part of parental development, even though they seem unusual to me since I've never had them before. I also find it useful to have a general idea about how my thoughts and behaviors are likely to change as my child grows, so I'll have a realistic image of my future.

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block

Every woman of childbearing age should read this. It's eye-opening. But do yourself a favor and DON'T read it if you're pregnant and close to your due date since it might freak you out. But read it before you have another child!

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson

The book was ok, basically a snarky travelogue, but there were some parts where I laughed out loud. It could've been half as long and more satisfying, since his trip dragged on and on and he didn't really have anything interesting to say about a lot of towns he passed through; he (or his editor) should've spared the reader.

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