8 essential books for new parents

8 Essential Books for New Parents

In Reading Lists by Julia Malacoff

8 essential books for new parents

Entering parenthood can be overwhelming. Whether you have a ton of experience with little ones or the first baby you’ve held is your own, nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent — especially since every baby is different. That said, reading up about your new arrival can be immensely helpful in getting your head around your new role. You may even want to get ahead of the game and do some reading on toddlerhood and beyond. Here’s a reading list of some of the essential and best-reviewed parenting books out there, so you can get a little more comfortable with one of your most important ventures yet! 

If you’re feeling lost about how to “parent,” this is the book for you. Dr. Becky walks you through her advice for handling everything from tantrums to sibling rivalry, plus how to truly connect with your child on a meaningful level. 

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One thing’s for sure: Being a new parent is going to mean changes to your sleep schedule. Especially in those early weeks, it can feel like there’s no rhyme or reason for when and how much your baby sleeps. That’s why it’s a good idea to read up on the things that make it easier for babies to sleep longer stretches. Written by America’s top baby sleep expert (and creator of the luxe smart crib the Snoo), this book shares the key information you need to get your baby to sleep — it’s easy to understand, even when you’re incredibly sleep deprived. 

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Starting your baby on solid foods can seem overwhelming. How do you know they’re ready? Should you serve them purees, or go for baby-led weaning? This book runs through all the options with an open, non-dogmatic tone, and provides lots of recipes and advice to help you get started when your baby’s ready for a seat at the table. 

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Known for her no-nonsense approach to interpreting research and data about pregnancy, childhood, and more, Oster’s guide to parenting has loads of helpful info. So when you feel like you’re getting advice from all sides and you’re not sure who to believe, it’s worth getting Oster’s take. This book outlines everything from how to handle the first few days after birth to making decisions on sleep training, child care, breastfeeding, and more. 

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What To Expect The 1st Year by Heidi Murokoff

A comprehensive guide to your baby’s first year of life, this book is truly a must-have. That’s especially true for first-time parents who have questions about sleep safety, pediatrician appointments, and how to give their baby a bath. 

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Prepping for toddlerhood is a time investment that’s well worth making. Because pretty soon, your sweet, cuddly infant is going to start having opinions of their own (and letting you know about them). This classic parenting book discusses how to get your kid to brush their teeth, turn off the TV when you say it’s time for bed, and eat their veggies. 

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No-Drama Discipline by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

Many parents are unsure about how to handle discipline, and they may even feel they want to avoid some of the same mistakes their parents made. This guide takes a nurturing, compassionate, and relationship-building perspective rather than a harsh approach. 

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Raising Good Humans by Hunter Clarke Fields and Carla Naumburg

Curious about the gentle parenting trend? This book is for you. It includes tons of ways to avoid “reacting” to your child and instead, employ a more mindful style of parenting. The overall gist is that if you treat your kids with kindness, they’ll learn to do the same, which will have a lasting impact on their lives.

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About the Author: Julia Malacoff

Julia is a freelance writer and editor who holds a BA in Art History from Wellesley College, and is also a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. Her work experience includes writing, reporting, and editing for top publications, including Shape, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, as well as leading brands like Nike, Aveeno, and Precision Nutrition. She lives in London with her husband and two cocker spaniels. An avid reader, you can find her devouring her book club's latest pick — or anything by Zadie Smith, Blake Crouch, and Jeffrey Eugenides.