The world of natural parenting books can be overwhelming. These are some of the authors and books that I have most appreciated so far!
I personally believe parenting is magical.
We’ve all thought it/said it/heard it: wouldn’t it be wonderful if those bouncing bundles of joy came with their own specific set of instructions? Because sometimes it’s hard. Really hard.
And then you try to throw pregnancy, birth, feeding, and parenting into the world of natural health and intentional living and things get even messier. Some of us already lack a solid parental example and even if our parents rock, most of us are pioneering this natural living thing after one or two generations of… not-so-healthy lifestyles.
Luckily for us – we live in the information age. And books abound. Audiobooks, ebooks, or good old-fashioned physical books. And we also have some pretty incredible leaders in these fields of study. So no, we’re not in this alone.
This list is not exhaustive. There are so many to choose from. But these are all natural parenting books you should have on your shelf. You’ll want to reread them with each new child or when you just need motivation to keep going.
Here are my top eight favourites:
Pregnancy and Birth
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
“What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you. Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.”
Ina May is uh-mazing. She has done wonders for the natural birth movement and this book is chock-full of her wisdom. This book will inspire you and you’ll finish it knowing that natural birth is not only possible, it’s beautiful and healthy.
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
“Details an alternative to Lamaze childbirth that includes a more natural breathing method and a totally unmedicated birth that many first and second-time parents prefer.”
While Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth will give you the inspiration you need, this book will tell you how to do it. The Bradley Method employs Dad in a major role, coaches you through keeping your body healthy enough for a natural birth, and details incredibly effective relaxation techniques (some of which I still use to fall asleep at night!).
Infant and Toddler Years
The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooij
“The Wonder Weeks describes in easy-to-understand terms the incredible developmental changes and regression periods that all babies go through during the first 20 months of their lives. Age-related fluctuations and the need for body contact and attention are all related to major and quite dramatic changes in the brains of children. These changes enable a baby to enter a whole new perceptual world and, as a consequence, to learn many new skills. Wonder week by wonder week you’ll discover the dates in the first 20 months when all babies take ten major development leaps. Learn how to encourage each leap forward. Help your baby with the three Cs’ of fussy behavior: Cranky, Clingy and Crying. Recognize the onset of stressful times and join your children in coping with them. Based on the scientific- and parental-world-changing discovery of a phenomenon: all normal, healthy babies appear to be more fussy at very nearly the same ages, regression periods, and sleep less in these phases, The Wonder Weeks will help your baby, and you, get the most out of these developmental phases.”
No, this book is not black magic. Apparently it’s science and it will blow your mind. My son’s wonder weeks were SPOT ON every. single. time. Read this book, download the app, and prepare yourself for amazement.
“Your child isn’t giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time.” This book will remind you of that and those cranky days in the first two years feel a little more manageable because of it.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman
“It’s no secret that breastfeeding is the normal, healthy way to nourish and nurture your baby. Dedicated to supporting nursing and expectant mothers, the internationally respected La Leche League has set the standard for educating and empowering mothers in this natural art for generations.”
This manual contains everything you need to know about breastfeeding. It’s like a mini lacation consultant sitting on your bookshelf.
Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline
“This parenting book shows you how to raise self-confident, motivated children who are ready for the real world. Learn how to parent effectively while teaching your children responsibility and growing their character.
Establish healthy control through easy-to-implement steps without anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles.”
Whoa. I cannot say enough about this book. It has been the primary influence on my parenting so far. This is about allowing your child to make the choices, but the choices are set by you and are acceptable to you. But so much more than that. Give it a shot!
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, by Paul David Tripp
“What is your calling as a parent?
In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.
Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.”
I’m not exaggerating when I say I wept when I watched this video. It opened my eyes to many downfalls I have as a parent and I have been on a mission to change ever since. This book is an expanded, more complete discussion of the video.
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in-and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation -he calls it nature deficit- to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (Add), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they’re right in our own backyards. Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development-physical, emotional, and spiritual. What’s more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.”
WARNING: This book will make you want to move to an isolated bubble and send your kids outdoors during every waking hour, regardless of weather. Although this reads like a textbook at times, it is incredibly enlightening and motivating.
Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
“Since 1994, Educating the WholeHearted Child has been a trusted guide for thousands of homeschooling families. This extensively revised and expanded third edition provides a solid biblical foundation for educating and nurturing your children’s hearts, minds, and souls. In it you will discover how to:
* Make your home and family the heart of your children’s education
* Train your children to become creative, self-directed learners
* Enrich your family’s life and education with living books
* Identify and work with each child’s learning style
* Help your children love to learn as naturally as they love to play
* Gain confidence to teach using practical, common-sense methods
Whether you are a first-time homeschooler or a long-time veteran, this comprehensive guide will equip and empower you for your journey of faith as a family. Discover the joy of bringing relationship-based, book-centered learning into the natural daily life of your home.”
Stay with me here. This book is not just for homeschooling families. This is about developing a family culture that focuses on books and an ongoing love of learning. Music, art, literature, language, and play are just some of the many topics Clay and Sally discuss. You’ll finish the book feeling like you can give your children the kind of intellectual upbringing you always wanted!