1. The Nursing Mother’s Companion: Revised Edition by Kathleen Huggins
: I read this book once before the birth of my first child and then once again right after he was born. Should have listened to the book and not my lactation consultant as the S&S device that she recommended only served to frustrate our newborn. After 4 months of trying him at the breast without successful latching, we threw in the towel. 4 months was a long time to try, then to give expressed milk and then to express. Not all newborns are this difficult however.

2. The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine
: This was funny, funny, funny! A must read for first time moms. I really liked the list of things to buy before baby was born. I modified the list to our liking and we were well prepared.

3. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
: This is an excellent in depth book. If you can learn one thing from this book learn the following: all infants need to be back to sleep within 1-2 hours of awakening as sleep begets sleep! Dr Weissbluth is a pediatrician practicing in Chicago. The only other recommendation I would make in addition to this book is that you should pick a style that is right for your parenting needs (no cry, let cry or graduated cry) and stick to it. Changing styles is ineffective and does not work. Learning to soothe yourself to sleep is a learned process not innate. And I firmly believe that if you continually rock a baby to sleep and never let them learn to soothe themselves, they will have difficulty falling asleep on their own as adults. Take it from a rocked baby! Four years of medical school (and 150K) cured this inability.

4. Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron
: A superb book in knowing which foods to feed your baby when. There are great explanations on how to prepare fruits and vegetables safely. A must read for all parents even if you aren’t going to make your own food for the nutritional knowledge alone.

5. The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley
: I read this book after the birth of my second child. Our daughter was much easier in transitioning from having to aid her to fall asleep to getting her to soothe herself to sleep than our son. Elizabeth Pantley is just the kindest woman and you would want her in your circle of mom friends. What she had to say was to transition your infant when they were the drowsiest (i.e. morning naps) and to do it gradually and you won’t have the crying. I say for our daughter this was true but not for every child (read our son). Her tips are ones that can only come from a seasoned mother. They may not have made sense to me as a first time mom but read the book even if you are a first time mom. Elizabeth’s tips are invaluable. One protocol she suggested seemed so labor intensive (about having your children write their own story) but otherwise the book has great advice to offer.

6. What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Fourth Edition by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
: The nuts and bolts of pregnancy. I have only skimmed the book. I would occasionally have to tell a patient things perhaps a bit contrary to the book as some patients came in after reading the book feeling like they couldn’t eat or doing anything because they were pregnant. Or a patient would come in with a fear of every possible thing that could go wrong during the pregnancy after reading the book. I would remind them that: pregnancy was not an invalid state, with a few restrictions to carry on as before, and that many babies are born without complications.

7. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
: We were struggling with our son after our daughter was born. There were terrible melt downs not related to sleep hunger or boredom. I implemented some of the early mentioned techniques in this book to no avail. Then I got into the book. During one of these meltdowns I calmly said: “Boy you seem really mad”. Then I said “Why don’t you show me how mad you are by kicking this plastic bottle?” And so he did. No harm done, we were outside no one was in the way and the bottle was plastic. He felt so much relief that he relayed the experience to my husband as he pulled in the driveway right after the bottle kicking. Our son just needed to be understood. Things started to improve after this.

8. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau
: Great tips on all the things that may seem foreign to a first time mom like learning how to distinguish a baby’s cry for hunger from a cry of pain.
General Comments: If you are a new mother to be and want to limit the info you read as you feel overwhelmed by what you feel you need to read, Buy books 1, 2, & 3 to read before the birth. Note book # 3 you can read the parts that apply to you and the soon to be age of your child. Consider using # 6 as reference only. And sometime between Birth and 3 months buy Super Baby Food. Start reading it when baby is 5 months old in preparation for feeding at 6 months.

Gear for New Moms

1. Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Backpack
: This is invaluable if you are going to breastfeed and may need to return to work and or want to have your partner feed periodically. The purists would be chastising me for the latter comment.

2. Made By Moms Hands free Pumping Band
: Ingenious! It allows you to do other things while you pump. I cut the shoulder straps off to make it easier for me

3. Top Baby Items: without brand Specification: Car seat, bouncy seat, stroller and swaddling blanket (see below for brand).

4. BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Active
: There is no other way to travel internationally when traveling alone with two children. At your connections, many a times you are not given your stroller. The Active style has lumbar support which the Original does not. This is a must as the baby gets bigger to distribute the weight and protect your back.

5. Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling MEDIUM
Comments: Our infants preferred the Bjorn. However this was the best sling I found and purchased after a lot of research. They will thread it for you although it is easy to do. An instructional DVD comes with the sling.

6. Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover – Ascot
: A must if you want to breastfeed here in Qatar or are modest.

7. Miracle Blanket – Baby Swaddling Blanket – Pink
: Sleep begets sleep as said by Dr. Weissbluth. If you believe in swaddling these are a must as most babies will wiggle out of other swaddling methods. We actually had one made in a larger size as our very tall daughter wanted/needed to be swaddled until 6 months of age.

8. Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Wide-Neck BPA-Free 8 oz. Bottle- 6 pack
: A must if your child has reflux and even if they don’t. The bottles reduce the amount of air your child swallows. At the time of writing, this brand was not sold in Qatar. We brought all of our bottles over from the USA or had friends bring them over. Alternatively you can order them on Amazon and use Aramex to ship them.



1. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expertby John Gottman

Comments: John Gottman has studied hundreds of married couples. He has been able to predict which couples will ultimately divorce. His book is the culmination of many years of research. We lived in Seattle where Dr Gottman is located. His weekend workshop came recommended to us when we were first married. It was fabulous: He teaches lots of great skills to aid in keeping your marriage healthy and happy

2. Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum
: The title says it all. Mira Kirshenbaum gives a concise way to evaluate your relationship as well as feedback for if your relationship is like this (insert manner of relationship) and you choose to stay then this (insert number that Mira has derived from her research) percentage of people who did were happy (or unhappy)

Mind Body


1. Healing Mind, Healthy Woman: Using the Mind-Body Connection to Manage Stress and Take Control of Your Life by Alice Domar
: This was required reading for a 12 week mind body course I took. Amazing: both the course and the book. We should all strive to be healthy in mind and body

2. Wherever You Go, There You Are (ROUGH CUT) by John Kabat-Zinn

3. The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thict Nhat Hanh
: The latter 2 I read long ago but they are among the best.

4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Comments: I put this in the Mind Body  section because if you follow this book, you can free your mind so you can live in the moment. It comes highly recommended by multiple sources. I was reading it but had to put it down as I am too distracted by many other things.  Also, I am trying to ascertain whether I enjoy reading non-fictional books on my kindle.  Perhaps I am old fashion but, I may need to revert back to bound books for non-fictional reading.  I will write a proper review once I get back to it.



1. Natural Solutions to Infertility: How to Increase Your Chances of Conceiving and Preventing Miscarriage by Marilyn Glenville
: The advice on supplements is worth it alone. If you are diagnosed with “unexplained” infertility, it is imperative that you maximize everything in your life. It helps!

2. Resolving Infertility: Understanding The Options And Choosing Solutions When You Want To Have A Baby by Diane Aronson (put out by
: A great resource when you are trying to sort out your options if you are battling infertility.



1. Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength by Bill Phillips and Micheal D’Orso
Comments: I am not advocating this program for everyone. But, a lot of the information is solid in regard to diet and exercise. Phillips does a good job explaining portion sizes and nutrition.  He comments on how after you start to exercise if you don’t change your routine you would have to add more time to your routine to achieve benefit and eventually there would not be enough hours in the day. I did the program back in 2000. I never felt hungry. Belly fat that seems to be a permanent part of my body melted away. But, I think this boils down to less carbohydrates (I am not saying no carbs, just less carbs!) One caveat is that if you follow the program you need to find substitutions in the form of food if you stop using the protein drinks. If you are an endurance athlete, limiting the aerobics as the book recommends kills your endurance. Buy the book for the tips and take from it the good.



1. Making Faces by Kevin Aucoin
: Kevin was a true artist. He tragically passed away at a young age. Lots of great tips and his transformations with his makeup skills are amazing.



Online Resources

1. Mesothelioma

Being a new mom diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer was never something I could have imagined happening to me.  Three short months after my daughter was born, my life was turned upside down by four simple words.  “You have a tumor.”

Cancer is always bad news, but this particular cancer, the one threatening my time with my new baby, has a 90-95% mortality rate; not exactly winning odds.

My blog details my struggles and triumphs as a new mom being diagnosed with cancer.

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is an online resource to help raise awareness about this cancer.


2.  Mesothelioma Prognosis offers information on mesothelioma and the treatment options available. Please feel free to contact us with any questions if you have been affected by this asbestos related disease