There’s no telling how you will feel about your pregnancy. You may be in baby bump bliss, or you may counting the days till your delivery. Either way, you will probably have tons of questions about what’s normal and what’s not over the next nine months. And unless you’re married to an OB-GYN, your spouse won’t have all the answers. So you turn to a pregnancy tradition as old as time (well, almost) — stocking up on the
best parenting books available. But not just the books that will get you through the next nine months. It’s also important to invest in a few reads that will aid you through baby’s first year and beyond.
It makes sense to prepare for the new baby before he actually arrives. (Reading up on sleep habits will be easier before you’re actually on bedtime patrol.) And while you’re planning and stocking your nursery, you can also read up on what
baby supplies you’ll actually need (weather-appropriate onesies) as opposed to the ones you can do without. (Does anyone actually use their baby wipe warmer? I ask this seriously.)
There are a million books out there, but a few of the best are all you need. Here are 13 that will help you navigate the incomparable ride that is conception to delivery, as well as your child’s early years.
If You’re a First-Time Mom
It’s probably the most famous book for pregnant moms, and for good reason.
by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel covers what moms- and dads-to-be want to know from conception to delivery (and a little bit after) with a lot of honesty, insight, and professional know-how. And to prepare you for the post-pregnancy life, there is the companion What to Expect When You’re Expecting (which extensively covers care for mommies, too). What to Expect the First Year Click here to buy. If You Want to Your Baby to Sleep (and You Too)
You’ll want to read up on the topic of babies and sleep before you actually have to deal with it. Because if baby’s up all night nursing, fussing, or a combination of both, you will be way too tired to sit down and get your bleary eyes focused on a sleep book. Whether you’re hoping to master the
cry it out or no-cry method, you’ll want to try . This best-seller doesn’t advocate strictly for one method or the other, but rather goes into the practicalities of sleep as well as advice and troubleshooting for newborns all the way up to adolescence. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Click here to buy. If You Want to Minimize Your Baby’s Tears
by pediatrician Harvey Karp deals with sleep issues, it’s main focus is calming your crying baby. For parents-to-be who worry about an inconsolable infant, it’s a must-read, with helpful information about swaddling and other soothing strategies. The Happiest Baby on the Block Click here to buy. If You’re Seriously Wigging Out About Motherhood
Written by Michel Cohen, a pediatrician, founder of Tribeca Pediatrics, and dashing Frenchman,
provides a comforting, easygoing laissez-faire approach to the changes you’re about to face. If you’re an anxious mom-to-be, Cohen’s take on numerous topics – immunizations, sleep training, and breastfeeding, to name just a few – is guaranteed to reassure you that you’ll do a damn good job. The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent Click here to buy. If You Plan on Breastfeeding (Or Are Considering It) If You Want to Cut the Bullsh*t
For parents who’d like to take a break from traditional rhetoric and cut straight to the complexities of issues like holding,
swaddling, and feeding, then this extremely informative and funny book is for you. Filled with no-nonsense instructions, by pediatrician Louis Borgenicht is a pragmatic reference guide with useful information and even funny visual aids like charts and illustrations. The Baby Owner's Manual Click here to buy. If You Want a Glimpse Into Baby’s Brain
, as it carefully and extensively covers baby’s development during the first twenty weeks of life outside the womb. This book allows you an often eerily accurate peek into your baby’s perspective and how to best meet his or her needs, as well as age-appropriate games, activities, and ways to interact with your little one. The Wonder Weeks Click here to buy. If You Ever Want to Potty Train Your Child
When your child is ready to potty train, you can read her
Once Upon a Potty as much as she wants. You, however, will want to be prepared for the various challenges and pitfalls that come with potty training, and no children’s book is going to adequately cover the nitty-gritty aspects of the process. For that, check out the aptly titled Oh Crap! Potty Training. Click here to buy. If You’re Concerned About Postpartum Depression If You’re Wondering About Food, Post-Weaning
ven if you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby into toddlerhood, know that
weaning begins the moment baby begins to expand his or her tiny palate with a bottle or a taste of solid food. A comprehensive book like not only provides a variety of meal and snack recipes, but schools you on your child’s nutritional needs. The Baby and Toddler Cookbook Click here to buy. If You’re Worried About Ever Being Able to Cook An Adult Meal Again
Purees are all fine and good, but if you’re wondering about cooking for the adults in your household (like you, specifically, hungry mommy) read
. Author Debbie Koenig combines really handy recipes for grownups Parents Need to Eat Too and baby, as well as candid insights into her own experience as a first-time parent. Click here to buy. If You’re Having Problems in Your Relationship Post-Baby