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Practical Parenting:

Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, By Ingrid Bauer

This book was the doorway into the world of Elimination Communication for us. Elimination Communication is a gentle and non-coercive process by which a baby, preferably beginning in early infancy, learns with the loving assistance of parents and caregivers to communicate about and address his or her elimination needs. Just as your new baby expresses body language and cries for milk, sleep, and cuddles, so does she for eliminating. Though it may seem subtle, it is present, and we found that practicing part-time proved to be deeply empowering for our son as well as for ourselves.  It continues to be an opportunity for us to tap into intuition and strengthen the non-verbal bond between us all. DiaperFreeBaby.org is also a helpful resource that provides information and free support groups for navigating the practice.            -Jessica

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting, By John Gottman, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nurture the Nature: Understanding and Supporting your Child’s Unique Core Personality, By Michael Gurian

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, By Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

If there were a manual for practicing Mamacitta it would be something like this book.  Approachable, insightful, encouraging, and inspiring.  A thoroughly great read for anyone who wants to catch a better glimpse of how parenting can be a meditative practice.

-Jessica 

 

 

Mothering from your Center: Tapping Your Body's Natural Energy for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting,
By Tami Lynn Kent

Tami Lynn Kent is the visionary who birthed Holistic Pelvic Care and has written three books exploring the potent power of the feminine, guiding women to activate the energy within their bodies and to reclaim their creative potential. This book explores specifically how to live in the wonder of being woman through the act of mothering.  Grounded and inspired, it was such a good read that filled me with direction and possibility. She has also written Wild Feminine and Wild Creative.                                                                                                 - Jessica

 

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, By the La Leche Leauge International (Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Teresa Pittman)

This comprehensive guide to the complicated world of breastfeeding is like sitting at the feet of a loving Grandmother and letting her show you the way.                                                                                                                                                                                                     - Jessica

 

 

 

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, By John Medina

This well crafted and witty read is a combination of accessible findings in neuroscience and how to apply them in the trenches of parenting.  John Medina gives clear "recipes" on how to help our children thrive, and the "ingredients" are not what you might have assumed.  Empathizing with your child's emotions is actually the bedrock to this book.  As Medina puts it, "I said that parenting is all about developing human brains, but my aim was inches too high. Parenting is about developing human hearts.  There is no idea in this book more important than that one."                                                                                                                                                                                  - Jessica

 

Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive, By Daniel J. Siegel, MD and Mary Hartzell

The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, By Dan Seigel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

This book is absolutely brilliant.  Dan and Tina take the complex and intricate findings of neuroscience and developmental psychology and transform them into easily understandable tools to help foster your child's developing brain and mind, especially in the first three years when they are largely non-verbal.  I lean on their guidance in the moments when my son is acting beyond reason and I am filled with compassion for the tremendous undertaking happening in his body, brain, and mind in that moment. I feel like they have given me the tools to help him make sense of and navigate his world more healthfully.                                                                                                     - Jessica

 

No Drama Discipline: The Whole brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, By Dan Seigel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

Largely, this book builds on the "Connect and Redirect" principle found in The Whole Brain Child while offering further insight and practical approaches to meeting our children's behavior and lovingly guiding them in a new direction.  It always fills me with compassion and understanding when I learn a little more about the biological underpinnings of the process of growing into emotional maturity and social responsibility. Isn't that what discipline is truly for?

-Jessica

 

The Aware Baby, By Aletha J. Solter, Ph.D.

Don't judge this book by it's cover, it is full of gems.  The most powerful lesson I received from this text was around the value of crying (while holding your child).  Before reading this book I was in the "stop crying at all costs book, it's a bad thing" but it helped open my eyes to the virtues and necessity of shedding tears, and created space within my own heart to embrace the tears and just be with them. Crying is the earliest form of communication and has many benefits, particularly for stress relief and for integrating experiences and emotions. I have found that if all of Rowen's basic needs have been met and he is still upset a good cry in my arms does wonders. It is also a powerful practice personally to not try to fix or stop the flow and expression of emotions from your child.

 

Pregnancy & Birth:

Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby: Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth, By Margo Shapiro Bachman

This is a really wonderful guide for incorporating the rich tradition and wisdom of Ayurveda ("science of life") into pregnancy.  It is filled with information and guidance on eating for your constitution and honoring your body's natural propensities and then also offers a month by month practice - including asana, pranayama, meditation, and mantra - all geared toward deepening the experience of hosting a growing life.

-Jessica

Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond, By Nancy Bardacke

 

 

 

 

 

Holistic Stages of Birth, By Whapio Diane Bartlett

Visit thematrona.com for access.

 

 

 

 

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation, By Pam England and Rob Horowitz

 

 

 

 

 

The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads To Happier, Healthier Development, By Sharon Heller

This book is a beautiful offering that explores the importance and life long impact of skin to skin contact and consistent physical contact in the early weeks and months of your baby's life.  It is written from an anthropological perspective that explores the nature of childrearing around the globe and the effects that has on each individual and culture at large.  A really wonderful read!

-Jessica

 

 

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, By Ina May Gaskin

Ina May, the controversial pioneer of the natural birth movement, offers everything from inspiring birth stories to the politics and hidden agendas of birth in this Guide to Childbirth. It is both inspiring and informative as you prepare to usher in a new life.

-Jessica

 

 

 

 

The Presence Process: A Journey Into Present Moment Awareness, By Michael Brown

In so many ways this book is like none I have ever picked up before.  It's not so much about what is actually written inside, instead it is about the effect it creates from the intention and resonance of what is written.  Michael Brown offers up piercing insight and lays out a 10 week contemplative journey to unravel the recurring patterns laid down in our early childhood, which keep us forever in the story of the past or the projection of the future.  It has been profoundly liberating for me personally, may it be the same for you.

-Jessica

 

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This is a profound book that investigates the concept of "optimal experience" and reveals that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness he calls flow.  During this state, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. The book explores the ways this positive state can be regulated, not just left to chance. 

-Jessica

 

 

The Art of Loving, By Erich Fromm

Though quite academic in tone it is full of gems for untangling the meaning of love and the lifetime long practice of mastering it.

-Jessica

 

 

The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, By Andrew Harvey

I read this while I was pregnant, at a time when I was wondering why we were bringing in a new life into what often seemed like a broken and chaotic world.  This is the guide to taking that apparent darkness all around us and transforming it into light through meeting the world from a place of love.  It is about showing up and doing something to shape our future.  It is practical and action focused.  It also addresses the questions around how we stay grounded and illuminated as we work to shape a better world. 

-Jessica

 

 

The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development, By Robert Kegan 

A classic. Have yet to read.

-Jessica

 

 

 

Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

In the early days, when our son was fresh into the world, I would read poetry from this book to keep him awake while nursing.  Though I had read through this book many times before, the poetry resonated in a new and profound way as I held his new life in my arms.  My own connection to the Sacred deepened and we were both nourished through this ritual.

 

 

 

 

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, By Dan Siegel, M.D.

 

 

 

 

 

Parent as Mystic, Mystic as Parent, By David Spangler

This is an amusing selection of vignettes from David Spangler's life raising five children.  He weaves the spiritual and fatherhood together in a way that makes you feel like the sacred is always at your fingertips, especially around your children.

-Jessica

Music

Qi Songs for Crystal Kids, By Marya Stark

This album is pure magic!  It will awaken and inspire this new wave of beings entering our planet and it will reignite the passion, joy, innocence, and wisdom of your own inner child.

-Jessica