GP Books

We are often asked to recommend gentle parenting books at all stages from pregnancy to teen.

The following are books we feel meet the gentle parenting ethos and are in line with our beliefs of empathy, respect, understanding and boundaries. Just click on the title to be taken to the full book details.

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Pregnancy & Birth

 


Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin, America’s leading midwife, shares her exceptional birthing wisdom in this intuitive guide to childbirth. By sharing a wealth of knowledge generated by three decades of experience she explains why the natural birthing process, when left to its own devices, can proceed so beautifully on its own. In this invaluable book Ina May teaches you: What really happens during labour, How to create a safe, comfortable environment for birth in any setting, Tips for maximising your chances of an unmedicated labour and birth,  The risks of anaesthesia and caesareans – what your doctor doesn’t necessarily tell you. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is an inspiring read and gives women the opportunity to take back the fear of childbirth by regaining confidence in their bodies. It tells you everything you need to know to have the best birth experience for you – whether in a hospital, birthing centre or the comfort of home.

 


Mindful Birthing – Nancy Bardacke

With Mindful Birthing, Nancy Bardacke, nurse-midwife and mindfulness teacher, lays out her innovative program for pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, mindfulness meditation, and mind/body medicine, Bardacke offers practices that will help you find calm and ease during this life-changing time, providing lifelong skills for healthy living.

 

 

 Primal Health: Understanding the Critical Period Between Conception and the First Birthday – Michel Odent.

Michel Odent, the leading pioneer for natural childbirth, indicates that the period between conception and a child’s first birthday is critical to life-long health. In this prophetic book – first published in 1986 and reproduced here in its original form – he argues that different parts of the ‘primal adaptive system’ develop, regulate and adjust themselves during foetal life and the time around birth and infancy. ‘Everything which happens during this period of dependence on the mother has an influence on this basic state of health, this primal health.’ He suggests that the later well-being of adults, their ability to withstand the ‘diseases of civilization’ such as hypertension, cancer, alcoholism and failures of the immune system resulting in AIDS, allergies and viral diseases, can all be traced back to society’s ignorance of the vital importance of the primal period. Since the first edition of this groundbreaking work, research has continued apace, offering further evidence to substantiate Odent’s ideas. In the important new “Introduction and Postscript”, the author reviews recent developments and relates them to the central themes of Primal Health. This book is essential reading for all who care about the health of our children and the ongoing health of society as a whole.

 


The Caesarean: Understanding the Critical Period Between Conception and the First Birthday – Michel Odent.

How did a magnificent rescue operation become such a common way of giving birth? And how safe is it really? Why do some countries have 10 per cent of caesarian births, and some more than 50 per cent? Why have risky procedures, such as forceps deliveries, not been eliminated by the C-section? What is the birthing pool test? What are the very first microbes met by a caesarean-born baby? Is it easy to breastfeed after a caesarean? Why are different approaches taken to scheduled C-sections, C-sections during labour, and emergency C-sections? What do mother and baby miss out on by not sharing a vaginal birth? What do we know about the long-term consequences of being born by caesarean? What do we know about the long-term consequences of giving birth by caesarean? What is the future of the ‘a la carte’C-section? What is the future of a civilisation born by caesarean? Having been involved in half a century of the history of the caesarean, Dr Michel Odent is uniquely and authoritatively equipped to deal with these vital and urgent questions.

 

 


Childbirth Without Fear – The Principle and Practice of Natural Childbirth – Grantly Dick Read

In an age when normal birth can still be overtaken by obstetrics, Grantly Dick-Read’s philosophy is still as fresh and relevant as it was when he originally wrote this book. He unpicks the root causes of women’s fears and anxiety about pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding with overwhelming heart and empathy. As one of the most influential birthing books of all time, Childbirth Without Fear is essential reading for all parents-to-be, childbirth educators, midwives and obstetricians!

This definitive reissue includes the full text of the fourth edition, the last completed by Grantly Dick-Read before his death in 1959, and The Autobiography of Grantly Dick-Read, compiled from his writings. With a foreword by Ina May Gaskin, author of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Birth Matters.

 

 


 New Experience of Childbirth – Sheila Kitzinger

Childbirth is one of the most important and powerful events in a woman’s life – and yet many women look back on it as an ordeal. Sheila Kitzinger, acknowledged around the world as an expert in the psychological, social and physiological aspects of birth, has rewritten her first book for today’s women.Herself a mother of five, all born at home, she believes that birth can be a positive and deeply satisfying experience. She co-created the teacher training scheme of the National Childbirth Trust, and was the first person to introduce couple’s classes, pregnancy and postnatal counselling, and birth companions to give personal support and help in childbirth. Written with warmth, elegance and understanding, THE NEW EXPERIENCE OF CHILDBIRTH explores emotional as well as the physical elements in childbirth and is essential reading for every mother- (and father-) to be

 

 

 

Babies

 


BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents – Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, an antenatal teacher and a doula, with a background in psychology, has a great understanding of the minds of new parents and is passionate about gentle parenting – letting parents know that it is OK to trust their instincts, that there are other ways to cope as a new mother without putting your baby into a strict routine or resorting to controlled crying. This book takes a different approach to the vast array of books out there – helping new parents to enjoy their baby and to trust in their own parenting instincts, offering a refreshing alternative to prescriptive, routine-led parenting. BABYCALM will help you understand your baby and yourself as a new parent. It offers plenty of ideas about calming techniques and how to encourage your baby to sleep well and will enable you to feel confident and at ease in your new role. A happy mum and a calm baby go hand in hand and this book will get you off to a great start.

 

 


The Continuum Concept – Jean Liedloff

The Continuum Concept introduces the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings – especially babies – require the kind of instinctive nurturing as practiced by our ancient relatives. It is a true ‘back to basics’ approach to parenting. Author Jean Liedloff spent two and-a-half years in the jungle deep in the heart of South America living with indigenous tribes and was astounded at how differently children are raised outside the Western world. She came to the realisation that essential child-rearing techniques such as touch, trust and community have been undermined in modern times, and in this book suggests practical ways to regain our natural well-being, for our children and ourselves.

 

 


Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain – Sue Gerhardt

Why Love Matters explains why love is essential to brain development in the early years of life, particularly to the development of our social and emotional brain systems, and presents the startling discoveries that provide the answers to how our emotional lives work. Sue Gerhardt considers how the earliest relationship shapes the baby’s nervous system, with lasting consequences, and how our adult life is influenced by infancy despite our inability to remember babyhood. She shows how the development of the brain can affect future emotional well being, and goes on to look at specific early ‘pathways’ that can affect the way we respond to stress and lead to conditions such as anorexia, addiction, and anti-social behaviour.

 


What Mothers Do: Especially When it Looks Like Nothing – Naomi Stadlen

Have you ever spent all day looking after your baby or young child – and ended up feeling that you have ‘done nothing all day’? Do you sometimes find it hard to feel pleased with what you are doing, and tell yourself you should achieve more with your time? Maybe it’s because you can’t see how much you are doing already. In this unique and perceptive look at mothering, Naomi Stadlen draws on many years’ work with hundreds of other mothers of a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. She explores mothers’ experiences to reveal what they – and you – are doing when it may look, to everyone else, like nothing. If you are a mother, and have ever felt: that nobody understands what you do all day; overwhelmed by your feelings for your baby; tired all the time; that nothing prepared you for motherhood; uncertain what your baby seems to want; short-tempered with your partner – you will find this the most reassuring book you have ever picked up.

 

 

The Gentle Parenting Book – Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Parenting trends come and go. Gentle parenting is different – it isn’t a label for a precise set of rules but a method of parenting that embraces the needs of parent and child, while being mindful of current science and child psychology.

It means parenting with empathy, respect, understanding – and boundaries.

In The Gentle Parenting Book, Sarah Ockwell-Smith provides a trustworthy combination of what-to-expect information and gentle-parenting solutions to the most common challenges faced by parents with young children.

 

 

 

Feeding

 
The Food of Love – Kate Evans.

A topical, refreshingly different approach to breastfeeding successfully. Features honest discussions about childcare and lots of fantastically funny illustrations.

 

 


Breastfeeding Made Easy – Carlos Gonzalez

In Breastfeeding made Easy renowned paediatrician and father-of-three Carlos Gonzalez, author of Kiss Me! How to raise your children with love and My Child Won’t Eat!, brings his warmth and positivity to a subject close to his heart: breastfeeding. In his characteristic friendly style he explains how breastfeeding is a woman’s right, as an integral part of her normal sexual and reproductive life.

 

 The Politics of Breastfeeding

As revealing as “Freakonomics”, shocking as “Fast Food Nation” and thought provoking as “No Logo”, “The Politics of Breastfeeding” exposes infant feeding as one of the most important public health issues of our time.

Every thirty seconds a baby dies from infections due to a lack of breastfeeding and the use of bottles, artificial milks and other risky products.

In her powerful book Gabrielle Palmer describes how big business uses subtle techniques to pressure parents to use alternatives to breastmilk.

 


Baby Led Weaning – Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food – Gill Rapley

Contrary to popular belief, there is no research that supports the current mainstream view that babies should be weaned by being spoon-fed purées. Self-feeding allows babies to use their natural abilities to explore taste, texture, colour and smell. It encourages independence and confidence by allowing them to experiment with foods at their own pace and helps to develop hand-eye coordination and chewing.

Baby-led Weaning is a practical and authoritative guide to introducing solid food, enabling your child to grow up a happy and confident eater. It shows parents why baby-led weaning makes sense and gives them the confidence to trust their baby’s natural skills and instincts. With practical tips for getting started and the low-down on what to expect, Baby-led Weaning explodes the myth that babies need to be spoon-fed and shows why self-feeding from the start is the healthiest way for your child to develop. Your baby is allowed to decide how much he wants to eat, how to eat it and to experiment with everything at his own pace.

 


 My Child Won’t Eat! – Carlos Gonzalez

Parents everywhere worry when their baby or toddler doesn’t seem to eat as much as they think he should. Carlos Gonzalez, a paediatrician and father, sets those fears to rest as he explores the reasons why a child refuses food, the pitfalls of growth charts, and the ways that growth and activity affect a child’s caloric needs. He discusses how eating problems start and how they can be avoided.

 

 

 

 

Sleep

 

 The Gentle Sleep Book: For Calm Babies, Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers – Sarah Ockwell-Smith

A large percentage of parents find their young child’s sleep – or lack of – challenging. This new book from Sarah Ockwell-Smith, founder of BabyCalm, will be an indispensable guide for parents, whatever challenges they are facing with their child’s sleep – from the day they bring their newborn home until their child is settled into school. Examining everything from frequent night waking in babyhood, through bedwetting in toddlerhood, to nightmares and refusal to go to bed in pre-schoolers, this book provides extensive scientific and anecdotal information, plus plenty of gentle suggestions, to help everyone get a good night’s sleep. This is a gentle, evidence-based approach that doesn’t involve leaving a baby to cry or shutting a sobbing child in their bedrooom.

 


Sweet Sleep – La Leche League International

Sweet Sleep is the first and most complete book on nights and naps for breastfeeding families.

It is a how-to guide for making sane and safe decisions on how and where your family sleeps, including words of wisdom and reassurance from mothers, all backed up by the latest research.

 


Three in a Bed – Deborah Jackson

Only since Victorian times has it been standard practice for mothers and fathers to send their babies to sleep alone, away from the parental bed – often in another room. This book reveals how babies who sleep with their parents benefit by getting virtually a full night’s sleep. The author explains the advantages of this radical form of baby care, including its benefits for breastfeeding mothers.

 

Why Your Baby’s Sleep Matters – Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Research shows that ‘normal’ infant sleep is not what most experts claim it to be.

In fact, many of today’s sleep ‘problems’ with young babies and children predominantly occur in the developed world.

In Why Your Baby’s Sleep Matters, renowned gentle parenting expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith demonstrates how nurturing babies at night helps their brain development, and covers the topics every parent of a new baby will need to know about, including naps, SIDS, night weaning, coping with your own exhaustion – and even dealing with advice and criticism from others.

 

 

 

Toddlers & Pre-Schoolers

 


ToddlerCalm: A Guide for Calmer Toddlers and Happier Parents – Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith is passionate about ‘gentle’ parenting. Her mission is to let parents know that there are other ways to cope with a toddler apart from putting him or her on the naughty step or resorting to controlled crying. This book will fill a gap in the market, helping parents enjoy their toddlers, understand the limitations of current popular toddler parenting methods such as sticker charts and time out, and to have the confidence to ignore the current mainstream ‘experts’ and parent their own child with trust and empathy. Chapters include: Why toddlers are not mini-adults; the importance of night-time parenting; coping with a picky eater; communication – toddler style; avoiding difficult situations; the importance of unconditional love and why you don’t need to be permissive to parent respectfully.

 


Born for Love – Bruce Perry

Born for Love is the definitive book on empathy. Renowned psychiatrist Bruce Perry has appeared on Oprah, CNN, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and other programs as an expert in this hot area of neuroscience, and has been cited as such in Newsweek, the New York Times, and The New Yorker (in a story written by Malcolm Gladwell). He and co-writer Maia Szalavitz explore empathy’s startling importance in human evolution and its significance for our children and our society. The authors of The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog present a powerful case that love is essential…and endangered.

 


The Art of Roughousing – Lawrence Cohen

Physical play – what some might call roughhousing – is being marginalized. Gym classes are getting shorter. Recess periods are being eliminated. Some new schools don’t even have playgrounds. But Drs. Anthony T. DeBenedet and Lawrence Cohen are here to shake things up-literally! “The Art of Roughhousing” teaches parents how rough – and -tumble play can nurture close connections, solve behavior and more…

 

 


You are Your Child’s First Teacher – Rahima Baldwin Dancy 

Rahima Baldwin Dancy warns against rushing children through childhood. She advocates a “slow parenting” revolution which will allow children to develop at their own pace, and crucially, will help parents discover confidence in their own ability to parent and enjoy the magical first years of raising a child.

 

 

The Gentle Parenting Book – Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Parenting trends come and go. Gentle parenting is different – it isn’t a label for a precise set of rules but a method of parenting that embraces the needs of parent and child, while being mindful of current science and child psychology.

It means parenting with empathy, respect, understanding – and boundaries.

In The Gentle Parenting Book, Sarah Ockwell-Smith provides a trustworthy combination of what-to-expect information and gentle-parenting solutions to the most common challenges faced by parents with young children.

 

 

 

4-8 Years

 


Unconditional Parenting – Alfie Kohn

This book presents a provocative challenge to the conventional wisdom of raising children. Author of nine books, including the controversial “Punished by Rewards”, Kohn expands upon the theme of what’s wrong with our society’s emphasis on punishments and rewards with regards raising children. Kohn, the father of young children himself, sprinkles his text with anecdotes that shore up his well-researched hypothesis that children do best with unconditional love, respect and the opportunity to make their own choices. Kohn questions why parents and parenting literature focus on compliance and quick fixes, and points out that docility and short-term obedience are not what most parents desire of their children in the long run. He insists that “controlling parents” are actually conveying to their kids that they love them conditionally – that is, only when they achieve or behave. Tactics like time-out, brides and threats, Kohn claims, just worsen matters. Caustic, witty and thought-provoking, Kohn’s arguments challenge much of today’s parenting wisdom, yet his assertion that “the way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions” rings true.

 


 Free Range Kids – Lenore Skenazy

FREE RANGE KIDS has become a national movement, sparked by the incredible response to Lenore Skenazy’s piece about allowing her 9-year-old ride the subway alone in NYC. Parent groups argued about it, bloggers, blogged, spouses became uncivil with each other, and the media jumped all over it. A lot of parents today, Skenazy says, see no difference between letting their kids walk to school and  and letting them walk through a firing range. Any risk is seen as too much risk. But if you try to prevent every possible danger or difficult in your child’s everyday life, that child never gets a chance to grow up. We parents have to realize that the greatest risk of all just might be trying to raise a child who never encounters choice or independence.

 

 


Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids – Laura Markham

Most parenting books focus on changing a child’s behaviour, but the truth is that children change only when their relationship with their parents changes. When parents develop an empathic understanding that allows them to see things from the child’s perspective, real change can take place for the good. Bringing together the latest research in brain development with a focus on emotional awareness (for both parents and children), this approach eliminates threats, power struggles and manipulation, in favour of setting limits, with empathy and communication. In PEACEFUL PARENT, HAPPY KIDS readers are given step-by-step guides and practical tools to transform their parenting in a positive, proven way.

 

 


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

The number one practical guide to making your family life less stressful and more rewarding.
In this international bestseller, experts Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish provide effective step by step techniques to help you improve and enrich your relationships with your children. Learn how to: Break a pattern of arguments, Cope with negative feelings, Engage your child’s cooperation, Set clear limits and maintain goodwill, Express your emotions without being hurtful, Resolve conflicts peacefully.

 

 


Love Bombing – Oliver James

‘Love Bombing’ is a radical new method for resetting the emotional thermostats of troubled children and their parents, setting them on a much happier trajectory. It is simple to do, easily explained and works for both severe and mild problems from aged three to early teenage. Many, if not most, parents feel that their children may have missed out in some way during the early years. Offering a simple, relatively trouble-free self-help method for putting that right is what parents are waiting for. ‘This book is written in highly accessible language’, assures Oliver James. ‘The method is explained as simply as possible, illustrated with cases’. ‘Love Bombing is a very simple technique which helps most children from aged three to early teenage.’ Because so many parents are, or have had, periods of living very busy or miserable or complicated lives, most of us need to reconnect with our children from time to time. Love Bombing does the job, ‘explains James.

 

 


The Whole Brain Child – Tina Payne Bryson & Dan Siegel

In this pioneering, practical book for parents, neuroscientist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson explain the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. Different parts of a child’s brain develop at different speeds and understanding these differences can help you turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and raise calmer, happier children. Featuring clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child will help your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives using twelve key strategies, including: Name It to Tame It: Corral raging right-brain behavior through left-brain storytelling, appealing to the left brain’s affinity for words and reasoning to calm emotional storms and bodily tension. Engage, Don’t Enrage: Keep your child thinking and listening, instead of purely reacting. Move It or Lose It: Use physical activities to shift your child’s emotional state. Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Guide your children when they are stuck on a negative emotion, and help them understand that feelings come and go. SIFT: Help children pay attention to the Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts within them so that they can make better decisions and be more flexible. Connect Through Conflict: Use discord to encourage empathy and greater social success.

 

 

 How Children Learn – John Holt

This enduring classic of educational thought offers teachers and parents deep, original insight into the nature of early learning. John Holt was the first to make clear that, for small children, “learning is as natural as breathing.” In this delightful yet profound book, he looks at how we learn to talk, to read, to count, and to reason, and how we can nurture and encourage these natural abilities in our children.”

 

 

The Gentle Parenting Book – Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Parenting trends come and go. Gentle parenting is different – it isn’t a label for a precise set of rules but a method of parenting that embraces the needs of parent and child, while being mindful of current science and child psychology.

It means parenting with empathy, respect, understanding – and boundaries.

In The Gentle Parenting Book, Sarah Ockwell-Smith provides a trustworthy combination of what-to-expect information and gentle-parenting solutions to the most common challenges faced by parents with young children.

 

 

 

 

Tweens and Teens

 

Brainstorm – Dan Siegel

In this groundbreaking book, the bestselling author of *Parenting from the Inside Out* and *The Whole-Brain Child* shows parents how to turn one of the most challenging developmental periods in their children’s lives into one of the most rewarding. Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain changes in important and often maddening ways. It’s no wonder that many parents approach their child’s adolescence with fear and trepidation. According to renowned neuropsychiatrist Daniel Siegel, however, if parents and teens can work together to form a deeper understanding of the brain science behind all the tumult, they will be able to turn conflict into connection and form a deeper understanding of one another. In *Brainstorm*, Siegel illuminates how brain development affects teenagers’ behaviour and relationships. Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, he explores exciting ways in which understanding how the teenage brain functions can help parents make what is in fact an incredibly positive period of growth, change, and experimentation in their children’s lives less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.

 

 


How to Talk So Teens Will Listen – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

From curfews and cliques to sex and drugs, bestselling authors Faber and Mazlish give parents and teens the tools they need to communicate and navigate the often stormy years of adolescence. Packed with practical, accessible advice and guidelines,you’ll learn how to: – Engage cooperation.  Take appropriate action.  Avoid lectures.  Express your feelings and understand each other.  Work out solutions together.

 

 

 

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