It’s no secret that bringing home a new baby can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. And to make matters worse, there’s no shortage of different opinions on how to parent “correctly.”
So everyone, from your mother-in-law to the random person wanting to pinch your baby in a grocery store, is going to have some unwanted advice.
Unfortunately, none of these books will help drown out that noise, but reading books on parenting can help new parent form their own view on what’s best for them and their baby. And hopefully, gain a little confidence to not worry about what that grocery-store-baby-pincher has to say.
These helpful parenting books for new parents cover everything from first-month survival tips to parenting styles, so there’s sure to be something in here for everyone!
These links are affiliate links which means if you purchase any of these parenting books for new parents, then I will receive a small commission on your sale at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
Best Parenting Books for New Parents
1. What to Expect: The First Year
Heidi Murkoff’s follow-up to her infamous “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is now in its third edition. It includes everything from baby-care fundamentals like safety and nutrition to parenting techniques like baby-led weaning and attachment style parenting. It has thousands of 5-star reviews from new parents (most negative reviews didn’t care for the writing style, but there aren’t many!).
2. Parenting From the Inside Out
Author Daniel J. Siegel looks at how our childhoods affect our children – and what to do about it. It is more of a self-development book than a parenting one, but readers insist it shines an incredible light on how you can better understand yourself to be the best parent you can be for your little one. It even comes with worksheets at the end of each chapter to help you do just that.
3. The Happiest Baby on the Block
Written by an actual pediatrician (Harvey Karp, M.D.), this book tackles one of the biggest worries of parents-to-be: the lack of sleep. Dr. Karp writes all about the infant sleep cycle, from SIDS to swaddling to bedsharing, and most importantly, how to calm your fussy baby and get them back to sleep in no time.
4. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide
This “Complete Guide” was written by an entire team of medical professionals who, rather than overwhelm readers with everything that can go wrong, describe a perfectly healthy pregnancy and newborn guide, which readers love. The writing is also extremely inclusive, which we love! Read this book for sensible and realistic advice on how to get all the way through the “fourth trimester.”
5. The Newborn Handbook
This next book (another one written by a doctor!) is “your complete guide to bringing baby home.” It leads you all the way from preparing your home for a new baby straight through the third month that your new family member is around. It is organized week by week to help guide new parents through each stage of development. Readers love how practical this book is and taut it as a great gift for new parents or parents-to-be.
6. The Baby Owner’s Manual
You know that owner’s manual you have shoved in a drawer somewhere for your tv or food processor? Take that, but make it about a newborn, and that’s what you have in this book. Reader’s love that the style of the book lightens up what can be a pretty stressful time in a person’s life. We also like that a doctor wrote it.
7. Experimenting With Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid
I can understand why you would think this was a joke, but according to reviews, this is a really well-written book on early child development. These ‘experiments’ that Gallagher writes about are intended to help new parents learn about how their baby learns new skills and discover ways to strengthen them. Plus, it’s just plain fun!
8. The Montessori Baby
Montessori education is becoming increasingly popular lately, especially with toddlers and young kids. This book is about how to apply those principles to your new baby. Readers love that this book is well organized and easily digested (great for new parents running on very little sleep!).
However, a few reviewers complained about the lack of references and scientific background, so if you aren’t familiar with the Montessori method already, it might be worth doing some additional background reading.
9. Shameproof Parenting
If you’re feeling inadequate as a new parent and need a little pick-me-up, this book is the one for you. The other shares her own vulnerabilities and helps readers develop their own parenting styles that they can be confident in. In addition, reviewers love that the author could gently remind them that we are all human, and there’s no shame in admitting this is a hard journey.
10. Baby Sign Language Made Easy
Baby sign language is a great way to communicate with your baby before they are even old enough to talk. With this book, you can learn the basics of Baby Sign Language and how to teach your little one to use them. It is organized by sign topics and gives some good insight on what to start with. The book also gives you access to a video signing dictionary which readers say helps you learn the signs.
11. Newborn 101
Carole Kramer, the author of this incredible book, is an RN who has been delivering babies and helping guide new parents through the fourth trimester for over 20 years. Because of that, I (and other readers) recommend that new parents purchase this book before the baby comes, but there’s also lots of good postpartum information. (Including postpartum care for mom!)
12. Cribsheet: A Data-driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, From Birth To Preschool
If you’re more of a data and research-driven person, this might be one of the best books for you going into your parenting journey. Author Emily Oster debunks many conflicting parenting myths and advice and gives you the freedom to (spoiler!) make the best decision for you and your family because it’s right for you, not because other people say it’s right.
13. Bringing up Bebe
Subtitled: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, this book is worth looking into if you want a taste of what parenting is like in other cultures (unless you’re French, I guess!). However, this is definitely an anecdotal book rather than informational and research-based like some of the others. And it’s hard to ignore the huge difference in healthcare systems between the US and France, so not all of Druckerman’s observations are even achievable here. Still, this book is definitely worth a read if you’re interested in different parenting styles leading to certain behaviors in children.
14. Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts
According to readers and clinical psychologists alike, Karen Kleinman hits the nail right on the head regarding post-partum depression (and anxiety) in this compassionate and hope-filled book for new mothers. Just because you have some intrusive thoughts doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with you, and just because you need a break doesn’t make you a bad mom. Kleinman does an incredible job of reminding you. I have yet to see a more highly recommended postpartum book.
15. How To Keep House While Drowning
I’ll admit that this is not technically a parenting book, but I couldn’t bring myself to take it off this list. KC Davis is an LPC turned SAHM (stay-at-home mom) known for sharing her struggles with postpartum depression and all the mental and physical struggles that come with it. Though the title of her book may lead you to believe that it is about keeping your house clean, her message is truly about how to care for yourself (including removing shame associated with a messy space) even during your most difficult times. I cannot recommend this book enough.
16. The No-Cry Sleep Solution
Teaching your baby good sleep habits begin at birth, and this book can help you with that! If you are against letting your baby cry or want to try co-sleeping or want to try any sleep method that results in happy babies and parents all the time, then this book and method are for you! There is no crying. There is no guilt. There is no turning your life around to make your child sleep- just a common-sense solution that you can work into your life (and help you actually get a bit of sleep!).
17. How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen
I know that you have just had a baby, but good parenting begins even before birth. So reading these books and learning how to speak, listen and relate to your children even before they are born and before they are ready to “listen.” I love this book and re-read it often. It is definitely my parenting guide. As they say in the book, the world would be a much better place if everyone could learn and use the tools in this book.
18. Liberated Parents, Liberated Children
19. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen
20. Siblings Without Rivalry
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish have an entire series of parenting books that are just great. It is so great that even their daughters wrote a book about how to use their methods on small children (see #17). I love this entire series, and they feature prominently on my bookshelf. Read them all and see how the way you view your children changes. Trust me!
As you all should know by now, I love books! Reading is so incredibly important, and I love having books around! You can try to get these books for free by looking at the library or check out these other ways to get free books!