Books Every New Parent Should Own

best parenting books to read during pregnancy expectant father

Since I've been there, done that, been doing it for almost five years, I now consider myself an expert on everything parenting. HA!

As we've all heard many times, the only constant in parenting is that it's always changing. That said, I have a few tried and true books that I find myself now turning to now as we prepare to welcome Baby Sister this summer. Pick these up to read during your pregnancy, but they're also great to have if your baby is already here!

On Being Babywise, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer or Moms on Call 

At one time, I owned all three of these and they are essentially the same information. Your preference will likely depend on how you like information fed to you.

The Babywise authors are a bit bossy, but the information is laid out very cut and dry. You'll always be able to reference back to it quickly even though there is a bit of my-way-or-the-highway feel. I bought Toddlerwise and the next book, but I found by that time Georgia and I had the hang of things and I didn't need reference books.

The Baby Whisperer is like sweet, gentle advice from a grandmother or loving aunt, with quite a bit of fluff that I found unnecessary. If you like kind reassurance, you will want this book.

Moms on Call is somewhere in the middle of the two others, but they included some methods that I didn't feel were right for our family. It does include some great sample schedules; however, this time around I will just utilize this website if I need help with timing of meals or sleep.

I didn't strictly "schedule" Georgia's feeding, sleep or days in general, but all of these books advocate for a daily routine, which I wholeheartedly agree with. I think it makes for happier, well-balanced children. Other parenting books I've read (even the more attachment-based books) agree. I never hyad the heart for cry it out and I would never suggest not feeding a baby just because of a schedule. My useful takeaways from these books were keeping to a general routine, teaching babies early on how to fall asleep by themselves, and not feeding directly before nap time.

My suggestion is to read Baby Whisperer and keep a copy of Babywise if you want a quick reference book.

Bright From The Start 

I love reading books about child development, but I rarely get fully on board with any of them because they aren't backed by science - just a lot of author opinion and testimonials. This is hands-down my favorite parenting book because it provides the concrete scientific evidence behind Dr. Stamm's advice.

The author's first child was born severely developmentally challenged (her second, a neurosurgeon), and Bright from the Start is a culmination of years of Dr. Stamm's attempts to help Jenny progress as normally as possible, given her circumstances.

Bright from the Start gives specific activities for parents to do with their children that will help neuron connections, language development, independence and so much more. And most of the activities are completely free, such as speaking with certain tone of voice and using a sheet of paper as a mat to direct attention for play.

There is also an incredibly compelling argument regarding the whys behind breastfeeding being touted as better. And get this, it has nothing to do with nutrition, but everything to do with how you hold the baby and bond while you feed - breast or bottle! So encouraging.

Baby 411 

You'll call your pediatrician for advice 50% less than a parent who doesn't own Baby 411. I promise. They'll help you with everything from choosing a pediatrician to potty training, toys to nutrition. These doctors cover every illness you might encounter during the first year.

I loved being able to quickly find concrete answers rather than sifting through Dr. Google's advice. On those rare cases when I did need to take Georgia to the doctor or call the nurse line, I always felt very knowledgeable, therefore able to question our doctor or suggest an alternative in those cases when I didn't fully agree with her.

The Wonder Weeks 

I didn't have this book when Georgia was little, but after Veronika talked quite a bit about it on Facebook, I grabbed a copy to use this time around. I've read through it to the three month phase and it's so interesting!

The Wonder Weeks is based on the research that every child, no matter the location, socioeconomic status, race, etc. reaches certain developmental milestones at approximately the same age. With these milestones come regressions in sleep, eating and behavior (which I did witness with Georgia). The authors give quick and useful information around each milestone, the associated regressions and solutions. There's even room to journal and keep up with your baby's development. So far it's very interesting and, from what I remember about having an infant, pretty on point.

I also own Dr. Brazelton's Touchpoints, which tons of experts and doctors recommend. I just haven't been able to get into it like the above books, so I didn't include it. Do you have other suggestions I should read or add?

The links in this post are affiliate links. They'll take you to Amazon and I will receive about 1-3 pennies if you decide to purchase the book. I totally understand that some folks don't care for affiliate links, so feel free to just search for them on Amazon without using my links! They are all incredibly useful and I recommend them offline, in-person when I don't receive pennies for it.