The Essential Parenting Books to Take You from Pregnancy Through Baby’s First Year

Pregnancy and new parenthood are full of amazing moments and fresh experiences, but it can also feel very overwhelming. Growing and caring for a baby is no small feat and without any prior experience, how can you really know what to do?

Many women fall into their pregnancies very naturally, taking each day as it comes and preparing for birth and motherhood in ways they feel drawn to intuitively. Other women need to research in order to calm their qualms. Both paths are acceptable roads to motherhood, and books can be a great way to get some insight from those who’ve been there (especially if you’re among the first of your friends to have a baby).

Let’s be honest – no one book is ever going to cover everything about pregnancy or parenting in a way that you might want it to. So, it’s important to remember that just because it’s in a book, doesn’t mean it’s the end-all, be-all way to do anything or everything. Take the pieces of advice that resonate with you and leave the rest. This way, you can create a method of parenting that feels good to you.

Here are some of our favorite books that cover pregnancy, newborns, and babies to get you started.


Source: M Loves M


Bringing Up Bebe

This book is famous for having sparked a national debate on parenting, but what it offers is a real look at how parenting is approached in another part of the world. It'll give you a new perspective on parenting, and if you're pregnant, serve as a guide of what you do or do not want to do in the future.

The Pregnancy Countdown Book

This book is great for those who can only manage a bit of reading a day. Each page is devoted to a day in your pregnancy and offers quick tips and anecdotes related to that point in your pregnancy. Easy, peasy!

Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic is the go-to for all things related to medical advice, and their pregnancy guide is no different. This book is great to have on hand for more in-depth answers to your burning pregnancy questions, especially if you appreciate a gently, yet factual, approach.

The Expectant Father

This one's a bonus for all of the dads-to-be in your life. This practical guide to new fatherhood is easy to read and offers insight on the emotional, financial, and physical effects of fatherhood on men. It emphasizes how important being an active parent, beginning from pregnancy, and gives sound advice on how to fathers can support their partners through pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.



Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer

Tracy Hogg, affectionately known as the baby whisperer, offers practical advice for new parents centering around routine-setting and getting to know your baby. She advocates for a middle-of-the-road parenting style, making this an accessible read for most parents-to-be.

Baby 411

Baby 411 offers practical answers to all the questions you have about how to take care of a baby. Of course, all the advice won't be suitable for every parent or child, but it's great book to have on hand to refer to before calling your pediatrician for the tenth time that day.

The Happiest Baby On The Block

Dr. Harvey Karp is world-renowned for his famous 5 S's philosophy, and this book breaks down exactly what those are and how you can use them to help your newborn adjust into their new environment. Dr. Karp offers his latest insight on safe baby sleep, breastfeeding, swaddling, and bed sharing, making this a one-stop for all things sleep-related.

The Wonder Weeks

This week-by-week guide to your baby's behavior is the one you'll turn to those nights when your sweet babe is at the peak of fussiness. It'll give you perspective of what your baby is going through in their mental development and how they're seeing their world at their current stage. It won't stop the fuss, but it will give you peace of mind.


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The Danish Way Of Parenting

Denmark is said to the be the happiest country in the world, with Danish kids being some of the most happy, confident, and successful in the world. So, how do those Danish parents do it? This book clues you into exactly what goes into Danish parenting and how you can use the same approaches in your family.

The Sh!t No One Tells You

Real talk can sometimes be rare in the world of parenting, and that can lead to us feeling very alone when confronted by the realities of daily parenting. This book is peppered with honest, hilarious, and very real anecdotes from moms and dads who aren't afraid to tell it like it is.

Work. Pump. Repeat.

The anticipation of going back to work is something many new mothers struggle with. The practicality of parenting, nursing, and working can be overwhelming. This book offers some of the basics you need to survive working motherhood while breastfeeding in a completely non-judgmental way.


Breastfeeding, in general, can be one of the harder things to tackle as a new mom, if that's something you choose to do. This guide is different from the others in that focuses on building a nursing relationship that is healthy for YOU, irregardless of outside-world chatter.