There are all kinds of books out there are pregnancy, child development, brain development, parenting, etc, and almost as many theories to match! I get very frustrated reading books telling you how to best nurture your child with absolutely no scientific background. However, what is even worse is when they take scientific studies and twist them to suit their own purposes. I prefer books that give you the scientific facts and then allow you to make your own decisions about what is best for your family. There are two books I particularly enjoyed when I was pregnant and shortly after Jessica was born and one that I am looking forward to getting my hands on this time around.
1) The book I turned to time and again after Jessica was born was Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality by Jana and Shu. It is an American Association of Pediatrics book (I have found several of their books to be full of good, reliable information.) written by two pediatricians who are also moms. I remembered a lot about newborn care from taking care of my brothers and sisters, but right before Jessica was born I got a little nervous that I might have forgotten something. This book was a great reference for anything from concerns about abnormal poop to high fevers!
2) When I found out I was pregnant with Jessica, I was absolutely fascinated in learning about brain development (probably due to the fact that I worked on an emphasis in Neuropsychology in graduate school)! I found a book I particularly enjoyed that was also very accessible to someone with a solid high school biology background called What's Going On in There: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First 5 Years of Life by Lise Eliot. Not only is Lise Eliot a neuroscientist, but she is also the mother of three children. She does an excellent job of exploring the factors involved in brain development while backing it up with research and plenty of real-world mom experience! It was exciting to learn at what point my unborn baby could hear me reading to her and how different choices I make as a parent can affect her developing brain! However, I must warn you. A lot of brain development is accomplished in utero and birth to two years so more emphasis is placed on those time frames than ages 3 to 5.
3) I am very excited about getting my hands on Lise Eliot's latest book Pink Baby, Blue Baby that was released just this fall about gender differences in brain development due to both nature and nurture! I think it sounds absolutely fascinating!