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Friday, August 5, 2011

great books to give as shower gifts

Whenever I give a baby shower gift to a friend I am always trying to think of something slightly different than just what it is on the registry. Sure, people want what's on the registry, so that is a must when picking a gift for a shower. However, it's nice to get something personal, too. That's where books come in for me. Here are a few suggestions on books you can give as gifts at baby showers.

(Image of the book from Angela Avery)

Amazing Baby - The amazing story of the first two years of life by Desmond Morris.

This book was fantastic! It is one of those rare baby books that is beautiful in words and pictures, not just giving the facts of the birth and first year process babies go through. I picked it up honestly because of the photographs. They are stunning, really incredible photography here. I'd encourage you to pick it up merely for ideas on how to photograph your own baby! It includes every topic you can imagine about babies - sleep, crawling to walking, rolling over, feeding, the first few moments in a baby's life, etc. It also has diagrams of what is under the skin of a baby at various stages, including muscles and bones that are developing, very interesting, nothing like what I've found in other books.

(Images of the book from Angela Avery)

There are specific facts that are interesting in this book also. On page 98 Morris wrote that newborns urinate frequently - every 20 minutes for a newborn baby and roughly every hour at six months. See, that's a helpful tip for a new mom who is probably wondering when on earth to change the baby's diaper. It goes in detail about the various types of cries babies sing out and what they mean. Lots of great information, provided in an easy format with breathtaking pictures. Definitely a must-read for moms-to-be and a nice gift.

The author ends the book with these words on page 186, "Anyone, whether a parent or not, who takes a close look at the amazing journey undertaken by the human infant as she grows from a minute fertilized egg to a lively, enchanting two-year-old, can only marvel at the incredible complexity of the developing human being - the most extraordinary form of life ever to take breath on our planet."

The Milk Memos - How real moms learned to mix business with babies - and how you can, too by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serette
This is my all-time favorite mom book that I've given out to at least a handful of expecting friends at baby showers. It's all about breastfeeding, pumping, using bottles, etc. It's the milk process moms go through when attempting to figure out what to feed their infants. It's a true story of several women who went back to work, pumping in a small closet room at the work place. One of them decides to write a journal entry note to any possible other moms who may be also pumping in the room later in the day. Thus starts the "milk memos," a series of notes from many mothers about the ups and downs of pumping. It's a GREAT book. I found it so helpful when I was going through the pumping stages early on. It made me feel like I was normal, and it has great ideas on how to do the pumping thing especially when going back to work.

What to Expect the First Year, the Toddler Years by Heidi Murkoff

Best books ever, definitely must-haves. I'm always hesitant to buy the first year book though because many moms have it, but the toddler years are just around the corner for new moms and it is a lifesaver of a book when entering the chaotic and exciting world of new toddlers. They are just like the What to Expect When You're Expecting book, detailed info, given in a month-by-month format. Very useful and easy to flip through. I didn't know this, but they also have a Web site with the same great info. Check it out at

The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood: Wise and Witty Advice on Everything From Coping with Postpartum Mood Swings to Salvaging Your Sex Life to Fitting Into that Favorite Pair of Jeans by Vicki Iovine
Love, love, love! This was a great book. I gave this to a girlfriend of mine when she was expecting years ago, and then she returned the favor by giving it to me at my baby shower. It's straight-forward, real info on the things you would ask your best friend but not even your doctor. It's funny, too. An easy read, definitely a good gift. She also has several other books including The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the Toddler Years. That is a must-read (that I'm only half way through right now I admit!), and giving it at the shower is not too early.

Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy
This is a hilarious read, very short so easy to get through. It's pretty honest and blunt though, so beware and cautious just which mom-to-be you give this to, so as not to offend anyone or really not to scare anyone! It's a funny read though, I loved it. She also writes Baby Laughs: The Naked Truth about the First Year of Mommyhood, all about her crazy stories after leaving the hospital with her newborn until her child is a year old. She has several other books about her experience with her son and autism, as well as one about surviving life after baby. I haven't read those, but the first two are great.

A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers: Stories That Celebrate the Miracle of Life by Colleen Sell
This was a gift from my mom and I loved every essay in this book! I'll admit it took me at least 11 months of my child's first year to read this book, as I was so often too tired to read before bed, I'd only get through half an essay at a time, but it was a great book! It's written by real moms, about some sappy, some tough things moms and babies go through. I loved it, cried through some of it, and felt totally like "OK maybe I'm not alone, maybe others do feel this way" during most of it. A great book to give as a gift.

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