When it comes time to procreate, every prospective or expecting parent knows there’s always more to know about producing and raising babies. From pregnancy to labor to actual parenting, each step along the way simply generates more questions and uncertainties than the previous step. Fortunately for everyone involved, there are a million titles available on the subject to help guide the less experienced and prevent disaster. Our list goes beyond the classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting and into some more modern (and more helpful) takes on pregnancy and parenting books.
Picks for Those With No Experience
If you and your spouse have never even babysat or cared for nieces and nephews, these are for you.
The Baby Owner’s Manual (Louis and Joe Borgenicht)—This book is a very hands-on, how-to book in a modern, infographic style to walk you through the steps of everything from changing a diaper to swaddling your little one. You can flip through it or read the index as needed rather than delve into it and read it front-to-back.
Your Baby’s First Year for Dummies (James Gaylord and Michelle Hagen)—Here we have a selection that frankly any parent can benefit from but those with no experience need desperately. It’s relatively exhaustive and comes filled with sage advice as well as tips and tricks and resources to get you through year one without anyone dying (or getting Child Protective Services called).
A Selection for Dad
The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year (Armin A. Brott)—Dads need in on the action, too, but chances are for most of them they’re more likely to pore through something written for them specifically than to read through details on dry and chapped nipples. This book will do the trick; it’s a funny, smart, research-filled piece that helps dads figure out how to parent and how to be a better partner to a new mom, as well. In other words, it’s a win-win for everyone.
So That’s What They’re For: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide (Janet Tamaro)—If you’re planning to breastfeed, it’s time to face facts: It’s hard. There are lots of materials dedicated to this topic because it’s so difficult for so many. But you don’t have to give up or become disheartened. So That’s What They’re For: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide is a comprehensive guide, mapping out a plan for you and helping you cross hurdles, avoid pitfalls, and answering questions before you even knew you had them. If your philosophy is “breast is best,” you’re going to want to arm yourself with this one.
The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer (Harvey Karp)—The easiest word to describe any new parent is tired. Newborns require an abundance of energy even though they spend so much time asleep. This is because they sleep in short spurts and with no discernible pattern and the longer this goes on, the more it just drains the parents’ lifeblood. This is where this book comes in. The Happiest Baby on the Block will help you to get your baby into a pattern, learn to self-soothe, sleep longer, and cry less. If that doesn’t sound like heaven in a book, you haven’t had a baby yet.
There are a lot of parenting books out there to help you get a jumpstart on making the most of parenting for you and your baby. This list has selected the best of the best to give you a short guide so you can get started and get learning as quickly as possible.