Our Favorite Books for Every Phase of Motherhood

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Any mother will tell you, there’s no real way to prepare for motherhood. As a mother to a toddler myself, I tend to agree with this sentiment, but I also think there are things you can do to arm yourself with the knowledge, support, and advice. For me, that’s been reading books ranging from pregnancy, to dealing with a newborn, and potty training.

Does reading how to manage a toddler’s tantrum mean I’m going to be a perfect mother and always respond appropriately? Unlikely. But it does arm me with helpful hints and new ideas. At the very least, reading books about the various stages of motherhood reminds me I’m not alone in whatever issue has me struggling.

I started my journey into motherhood books with the classic, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and since then have explored a variety of other topics. I checked in with my fellow editors at The Everymom and below we’re sharing our favorite books for the various stages of motherhood.

 

Pregnancy

Heidi Murkoff

What to Expect When You're Expecting

This is a classic pregnancy book and it's stood the test of time for a reason. It's practical, to the point, and an easy read during the 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Emily Oster

Expecting Better

As an economist and mother, Oster takes a data-driven approach to elements of pregnancy. She dives into the data so you as the reader can make the best and most informed decision for yourself. Oster also wrote Cribsheet, which covers the early years of parenting and her third book Family Firm comes out in Summer 2021.

Lily Nichols

Real Food for Pregnancy

There's lots of nutrition advice for pregnancy floating around and it can be hard to know what's right for you. The old belief that you should be "eating for two" is out the window, and this book shares how to fuel your pregnancy in a healthy way. This book is particularly relevant for readers interested in nutrition and wellness.

 

The Early Months Into the Toddler Years

Jancee Dunn

How to Not Hate Your Husband After Kids

A favorite among our editors, motherhood certainly takes its toll on mom, but it can also take a major toll on your marriage and relationships. This book is part memoir and part self-help and contains actionable advice to, as the title would lead you to believe, not hate your husband after kids.

Lauren Smith Brody

The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom's Guide to Style, Sanity, and Success After Baby

Thankfully we've started talking more about how to manage the challenges of the fourth trimester, and this book goes to the next stage, navigating going back to work after having a baby. If you're planning to return to work, this is a must.

Janet Lansbury

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame

Parenting expert Janet Lansbury shares a collection of her articles covering common toddler behavior issues and how to parent around those in a responsible and respectful manner. If you're unsure how to approach punishment, cooperation, boundaries, hitting and more, this book may have just the advice you're looking for.

Jamie Glowacki

Oh Crap! Potty Training

I'm not yet at the potty training phase, but have this bookmarked for the future as I've heard many fellow moms have had great success following this training guide.

 

Great Reads for Mothers at Any Stage

Dr. Stuart Shanker

Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

Just like adult emotions, children's emotions are complex and it can be challenging to know how to approach their emotions and behavior. This book presents a new way to work with your children that allows your kids to be able to engage calmly.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

I know I'm not alone in hoping I raise strong-willed and independent children. Author Adichie was approached to share advice on how to raise a feminist daughter, and this book offers fifteen heartfelt suggestions on how to empower strong women.

Ali Wong

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life

If you're a fan of Ali Wong (and really, who isn't?), you'll enjoy this book of letters written from Wong to her daughters, sharing everything they need to know in life.

Catherine Newman

Catastrophic Happiness, Finding Joy in Childhood's Messy Years

We might think of childhood starting very young, but as this book puts it, ages 4-14 are the years that your children may actually remember as childhood. This book covers the author's experience with her son and daughter as they went through preschool into the teenage years.

 

Read More: The Best Montessori Books for Parents and Kids