Like many other parents who wished they had discovered Montessori earlier, I didn't start Montessori from birth with Miss 3.1, my firstborn.
With baby no 2 whom we're expecting in 4 months, I'm excited and also anxious about this opportunity to Montessori from birth.
Turning to books to empower and equip myself with the knowledge. These are books I'm reading / re-reading / bookmarking.
Books About Montessori-ing from Birth:
The Montessori Baby
Newly launched, The Montessori Baby by Simone Davies & Junnifa Uzodike is as thoughtfully written and illustrated as its toddler version, The Montessori Toddler. I love how the book doesn't dive straight into when baby arrives, but prepares the reader for re-parenthood adjustments as well as birth/delivery with meaningful tips and relatable anecdotes. It also speaks for babies who can't yet speak for themselves, advocating for why babies need to be treated with dignity and respect right from the beginning, seeing them as strong, resilient beings vs. fragile and helpless, and giving them the freedom and opportunity to make sense of the world around them.
The Wonder Weeks
The Wonder Weeks by Frans X. Plooij is a game-changer, helping me understand the mental developmental changes (leaps) and "fussy and clingy" periods (regressions) of my firstborn, in addition to what I initially perceived as "sleep problems".
Understanding these insights grew me into a more well-informed and empathetic parent, who then adopted an attachment-style parenting approach. The week-to-week guide explaining baby's behaviour is incredibly useful.
How Microbes Can Make Your Child Healthier: Let Them Eat Dirt
How Microbes Can Make Your Child Healthier: Let Them Eat Dirt by microbiologists Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta makes for a very relevatory and intriguing read, even for someone who's not into scientific reads.
"Don't touch that! It's dirty!" I grew up hearing that and when I had my child, like many other parents, I worked hard to keep germs at bay. It reveals how our modern lifestyle and culture of hyper-cleanliness are limiting children's exposure to microbes, which affects lifelong health and development. I learnt that an imbalance of microbes can lead to problems like obesity, diabetes, and asthma, among other chronic conditions (including a link to autism).
The book gives practical advice on how to positively influence our children's microbiota through parenting choices - birthing plans, breastfeeding, solid foods, the use of antibiotic treatment, and having pets.
Understanding the Human Being: The Importance of the First Three Years of Life
Understanding the Human Being: The Importance of the First Three Years of Life by Sylvana Montenaro contains timeless information about the world seen from the baby's perspective, and gives readers a brand new outlook on babies. It is factual, insightful and practical, making it a good read for new parents and Montessorians.
Montessori From the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three
Montessori From the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen is anecdotal, insightful and practical, explaining how the principles of Montessori can to applied from newborn stage to preschooler age.
While this book aligns with many of my parenting beliefs, it differs from mainstream ideas regarding parenting, nutrition, education e.g. use of a glass weaning cup vs. sippy cup, infant potty training before AAP recommendation of 2 years old.
The authors are clear in explaining the Montessori theories, and parents/carers are free and empowered to decide how to apply the principles, by observing and following their children's cues.
Montessori-friendly Parenting Books - Siblings:
I'm excited to see Miss 3.1 interacting with and caring for her little sibling, but pre-empting moments of sibling rivalry and tensions. As a mama-to-be of two, I have much to learn about the techniques of fostering sibling bonding and cooperation from young. I'm also excited to set up homeschooling activities that engage them at their different developmental levels.
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish is a book that focuses on acknowledgement of children's feelings, and treating each child with respect and dignity. With that as the fundamentals, along with other strategies, sibling tensions and struggles can be addressed at the root, so a harmonious and peaceful bond can be forged.
The Happy Learning Book for Siblings: 50 Awesome Activities for Siblings to Learn and Play Together at Home
The Happy Learning Book for Siblings: 50 Awesome Activities for Siblings to Learn and Play Together at Home by Fynn Sor (Singaporean mama!) is a practical and inspirational book for carers/parents to engage multi-age children in easy, hands-on and low-prep activities. It offers guidance on adapting/varying the activities to meet different developmental needs and levels.
The activities are largely open-ended and encourage cooperative play among siblings, with plenty of mirroring and learning from one another.
Montessori-friendly Parenting Books - Positive & Mindful Parenting:
As we prepare to welcome a little one into the family, I know the time ahead would be one of huge transitions (changes in sleep, schedules, priorities etc). Our hands will be full as we adjust to a new normal. Through this, it would be key to continue understanding my firstborn's needs + maintaining an open, two-way communication with her.
Positive Parenting by Rebecca Eanes is an easy-to-follow and well-organised book about positive and respectful parenting ways, and how to put them into practice. It's written by a well-researched mom who did so and developed a system that worked best for her family.
This book draws on ideas from many other terrific expert books like Dr. Siegel's Parenting from the Inside Out, The Whole Brained Child and No-Drama Discipline, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham as well as No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury, and can be regarded as an introductory book to the concept of positive parenting since it offers a great overview and "summary".
How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen and Listen so Little Kids Will Talk
How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen and Listen so Little Kids Will Talk by Joanna Faber and Julie King is a book that shares plenty of anecdotes of how tantrums/meltdowns were avoided by validating children's feelings and listening/uncovering their needs.
The book provides lots of creative solutions/techniques/ideas on how to respond/communicate with children when things are going south and getting stressful. Many relatable examples are shared in the book (e.g. item gets stuck somewhere the child can't reach in a car seat, child wants to buy something from the store but you're not on board). I love the creativity. The drawback though is that they take a lot of effort, patience and time to execute and follow through, and may not come naturally for the parent (e.g. come up with fun, imaginary conversations), but can yield some amazing results when put to the test.
What's My Child Thinking?
What's My Child Thinking? by Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Tanith Carey is a book that interprets children's behaviour when they can't fully explain for themselves, or are too worked up to. It talks about specific developmental situations parents face with their children at different age brackets, from 2-7. It's useful understanding the psychology behind children's difficult behaviour, and the book also empathises with the negative feelings we might feel as parents. There are helpful recommendations for what to say and do to resolve the difficult situations.
The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired
The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired by Dr. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (again, yes!) is a book that focuses on attachment science, and grounds us in the importance and value of being not just physically there, but emotionally there for our children. Being present in the moment, in defining moments, and how that would influence their lives. It acknowledges the challenges of doing so in modern reality, and helps parents rethink/shift priorities so they can cultivate meaningful adult-children relationships. Many reviews regard this book as parenting epiphany. I agree, because it helped me think about my upbringing (how I was being parented), and then showed me a way forward to parent differently.
Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by Shauna Shapiro and pediatrician Chris White is a book that is science-based and steeped in the concept of mindful parenting. It empowers parents to love their children, set healthy boundaries for them and stay firm in "discipline" without being too emotional.
These are many books I have shared, please don't feel pressured about reading them before the little one arrives. If you've little pockets of time here and there to read, I hope these make a delightful list. Parenthood is a continuous learning journey, and there's so much on-the-job learning that books can't cover or explain!
Wishing you a safe, smooth and enjoyable pregnancy!
Follow our journey on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook Group.
You might also like:
Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.