Baby 411, by Dr. Avi Brown and Denise Fields
Dr. Ari Brown is an official spokesperson for the AAP, and Denise Fields is the author of the popular book Baby Bargains.
I reached for this book a whole lotta times as a pregnant mama. I read the 8th edition, though the book is now in its 9th edition. This book is set up as a practical, organized Q&A of baby care. Sections include preparing for baby, care and feeding, sleep, development and discipline, sickness, and first aid.
I found the sleep section especially helpful, since that is a topic I was concerned about (and I think many new mamas would agree!). I like how this book went over various popular sleep methods, broke them down so you could quickly understand the basics of each, and rated them. That way you can decide which ones you’re most interested in researching further. Included are breakdowns and ratings of popular sleep “gurus” like Ferber (Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems), Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child), Mindell (Sleeping Through the Night), Sears (The Baby Book), Pantley (The No Cry Sleep Solution), and Ezzo/Bucknam (On Becoming Babywise).
I also appreciated how the book covered topics at large, but also deals with more specific examples. For instance, in the sleep section one question reads:
I read this book nearly cover-to-cover, and went back to it for reference many times. I think this is a must-read for new mamas.
The Five Love Languages of Children, Dr. Gary Chapman
Dr. Chapman is an author, speaker, and counselor. If you are not familiar with the original book The Five Love Languages, which is for adults, you should definitely check out this book, which applies the same principles to children. This book is different than the other books in this list because it is not specifically for babies, but rather concerns parenting your children when they are a little older. I included it because I feel it’s important to think about the way you plan to interact with and parent your child early, and internalize these principles beforehand. And after all, reading time may be a little harder to come by after your little one is born!
The same five “love languages” are discussed in this book as the adult book, but the book is of course written for parents and uses examples related to children instead of adults.
The overall theme of the five love languages theory is that each person, including your child, is naturally geared to “speak” one or more particular “love language” over others. This relates to both what makes them feel loved, and how they show loved. For instance, some people need to hear words of affirmation. When they never hear them, they can feel unloved. On the other hand, words don’t mean much to some; they show and feel love through quality time. Understanding which love language those close to you “speak” can help your relationship with them blossom because you know how they best feel loved and you also become aware of when they were trying to show you love. Of course, that naturally includes your children! Great quote from this book:
“Don’t let your demonstration of love to a child be controlled by whether the child is pleasing you at the moment.”Dr. Gary Chapman
Dr. Chapman’s ideas about love languages resonate with many readers, including myself. I highly suggest picking up a copy of this book if you’re a new mama, especially if you have not read the original and are not familiar with the languages.
The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Dr. Harvey Karp
Dr. Karp is a pediatrician and “baby soother,” so this book is not a broad spectrum book about baby care, but rather it is specifically geared toward ways to calm and soothe your newborn. It offers several tricks of the trade to get your baby to stop crying!
This is really good information to have on hand! Dr. Karp defines and expands on what he calls the five “S’s”: the simple steps (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking) that trigger the calming reflex.
My husband and I found that these tricks, done as Dr. Karp explains, really do work to soothe a newborn! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because the five S’s are listed you don’t need the book. The explanations are key, since how exactly how and when to perform these is important to know and makes a difference in the outcome. This is a great book for new mamas to have on hand and read before their first little one.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff
Last but certainly not least, you’ve definitely heard of this one! This book is in its 5th edition for a good reason. Often referred to as the “bible” of pregnancy, this book answers all the questions and concerns a pregnant mother might have about her pregnancy, from the first week as her body begins to change and she begins to experience symptoms, through what she can expect during delivery.
This is the nuts and bolts stuff! There were so many little things that start to happen and I was pregnant that I hadn’t experienced before, from heartburn to terrible back pain (I specifically remember being crazy out of breath going up the stairs) and I would turn to this book immediately to see if it was “normal” or not, and read about what I could do about it. It really leaves no stone unturned. It is an obvious choice for any list of suggested reading for new mamas.
Do you have another book you feel should be on this list? Share your thoughts below!