I did enjoying being on maternity leave a lot, and as baby has been so well-behaved even got the chance to read some books:
Sheila Kitzinger: “Understanding your Crying Baby” is a great book and educated me about some common misunderstandings and prejudices. For example, I did not know before I read this book, that the mothers of many of the babies, who cry most, like over 6 hours a day, also experienced a bad, stressful pregnancy, a traumatic birth with lots of interventions and drugs and a patronising, autocratic hospital environment. Also interesting the fact that babies cry most at the 3rd week and in the 3rd month after birth and that some drugs take about a month to clear out of the babies system which leads to some babies changing behaviour dramatically afterwards.
In total there is so much about crying explained I have never thought of before so I would highly recommend this book. It talks about different mothering styles, the history of parenting and advice books and also gives lots of example stories and good ideas how to ease the (stress of) crying.
Other books I found really helpful are Deborah Jacksons: “Three in a Bed: The Benefits of Sleeping with your Baby” from the P&P centres library. The NHS still advises that the baby sleeps in a seperate cot, but for us it did not work. Having our little one in bed helped me to get at least 10 hours sleep a night when I needed it most, and snuggling up with him in bed is the best thing ever anyways. The medical advice is that the baby sleeping in bed with the parents would increase the danger of cot death, but for example in Japan, where co-sleeping with the baby in the same bed is normal, there are hardly any unexplained cot deaths at all. Also when the baby was very ill I found I could monitor his condition much better when he was sleeping by my side. And he does hardly ever cry, which I attribute to being very close to me for the majority of the hours per day. As a baby knows it is very helpless it feels best when being close to mummy and daddy anyways, so naturally it feels so badly that it needs to be sleep close to the parents who will protect it from any danger. This is explained also in the book “The Continuum Concept” which blasts modern parenting concepts, like “Gina Ford’s crying it out” with the anger of an anthropologist researching natural birth and parenting styles with indigenous tribes.
There are lots of publications about birth rights from AIMS, the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services – at the P&P Centre to borrow, they have got a nice library there .
They have got special publications for cases like Breech Birth, Induction and so on, maybe more interesting in the later stages of pregnancy but hugely significant if you prefer a natural birth to a medicalised one. Especially the induction booklet is very good, because the due date can either often be miscalculated and also it is based on a research of only a few dozens birth about a century and a half ago.