Congratulations – you’re a parent! Welcome to the world of 2am feedings, incomprehensible crying spells, and worries over everything from scraped knees to hurt feelings. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re sure to bump up against startling behaviors and unexpected circumstances you could never have imagined in your pre-parent days. But that’s okay. Amidst the confusion, there’s one thing that every new Mom or Dad can count on: no matter what parenting may bring your way, the rewards always far outweigh the challenges.
They say that parenting doesn’t come with a manual, but we’ve put together a collection of thirteen top-notch parenting guides that are specifically designed to help new parents navigate their way through the earliest years of infancy and beyond. These really are some of the best years of your life, so relax, take a deep breath, and prepare to be amazed.
Parent of a teenager? Check out this selection of books instead: 9 Must-Read Books for Parents of Teenagers (Yearly Update)
Books for New Parents
Did you know that the first five years are crucial in your child’s development? Even the choices you make before and during pregnancy can have a significant impact on the way your baby’s brain develops. What are the real effects of watching TV, and what should you do when your child throws a tantrum? This book is packed full of startling, revolutionary new scientific information on child development that will help you to raise your baby to be happier and more intelligent in the ways that really count.
- Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn – and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less – Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Diane Eyer
The mantra of this psychologist-authored book is “it’s okay to play!” Children today are being raised in settings that are far too rigid and structured for their own good. Play time is crucial for learning a whole set of developmental lessons that can’t be taught in any other way. This book will show you how exposing your child to a range of activities, and providing them with access to periods of free, unstructured time, encourages them to discover their creativity and to develop their personal strengths.
As new parents, we have the unique opportunity to encourage our children to become lifelong learners. Children are naturally inquisitive about the world around them, and there’s no better way to channel that curiosity than through Playful Learning. Author and educator Bruehl will show you how positively influencing your child’s cognitive and creative development can be as simple as expanding their joy of discovery through a variety of engaging and hands-on projects and activities.
Becoming a parent for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience – how do you figure out what’s best for your baby when one set of parenting advice so often conflicts with another? First – breathe and relax, second – check out Dr. Cannon’s no-nonsense, empowering, and guilt-reducing book. This sensible guide to parenting will boost your confidence and cover all the basics with you – from understanding why your baby’s crying to making the right food choices and recognizing important developmental milestones.
Maybe you aren’t particularly crafty yourself, or maybe you just need help transforming your sense of creativity into activities that are developmentally appropriate for your child. Whichever the case may be, The Artful Parent is here to help. The pages of this book are filled with more than sixty unique arts and crafts projects designed to spark your child’s imagination, promote their self-confidence, and develop their fine motor skills. You’ll even learn how to choose craft supplies and set up a creative space in your home.
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids – Kim John Payne
If you’re one of the many new parents who believe that the frantic pace of society is damaging our kids’ ability to just be kids, you’ll appreciate the concept behindSimplicity Parenting. Fight back against the anxiety and other behavioral problems that are plaguing childhood today by giving your child space and freedom he or she needs to flourish. Family consultant Payne shows you how to slow down, streamline, and de-clutter your child’s life, and why this approach leads to calmer and happier kids.
- The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer – Harvey Karp
Hearing your baby cry is one of the hardest things a new parent must deal with. And even the most patient among us can feel challenged when that crying becomes persistent. Is there really a practical and easy way to calm your baby’s tears, and help them to sleep better? According to Dr. Karp, the answer is a resounding “yes”! This ground-breaking book discusses the four principles that will help you to soothe and understand your baby better, while tuning into their natural “off-switch”.
Neonatal nurse Tracy Hogg is the original “Baby Whisperer”, and she’s here to share her profound wisdom on calming, connecting, and communicating with your baby. This book will teach you simple and accessible methods for interpreting what your baby is really trying to tell you, and for effortlessly steering your infant toward a schedule that works with the rest of the household. Hogg’s advice may not always be conventional, but as a national bestseller right out of the gate, thousands of grateful parents can’t be wrong.
Baby 411 is the ultimate survival guide for first-time parents! Filled with useful advice that addresses everything from thumb-sucking to ear infections, this is one of the most practical parenting books available for successfully navigating your baby’s first year. Now you can stop guessing, and turn to the experts who have been there before you. Whatever your questions may be regarding your child’s health, sleep habits, or nutritional needs, parenting expert Fields and pediatrician Brown have got the answers you need.
- The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance – Louis Borgenicht & Joe Borgenicht
Are you one of those technologically savvy people who can fearlessly install new software on your laptop, but who feels faint at the thought of figuring out how your new baby works? Don’t worry about it – The Baby Owner’s Manual is speaking your language! What could be better for the technically minded than a pediatrician-authored parenting book that makes liberal use of schematics and practical, step-by-step instructions to explain basic childcare concepts like the proper way to swaddle your baby?
- Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes – Christia Spears Brown
According to developmental psychologist Brown, your child is an individual first and a gender-type second. In her guide to sidestepping stereotypes and focusing on a child’s unique strengths instead, Brown shows new parents how to bring out the very best in their youngsters – from infancy on. This influential book discusses how gender-centric labeling has a negative impact on kids that can lead to everything from increased aggression in boys, to a decreased affinity for math in girls.
If you’re looking for a little real-world advice on becoming a parent, you’ve come to the right place. This collection of poems and anecdotes from author McNish reflects her thoughts and struggles with a wide range of unexpected parenting challenges. Both the practical and the philosophical aspects of parenting are explored, with no subject too mundane to tackle. If you’re curious about what makes a great lullaby, or you ‘ve always wondered about the proper way to stand while holding your new baby, this highly relatable book is for you.
This book is filled with fun for children and parents alike! Every parent faces the challenge of how to keep their kids occupied on those occasions when they’re most likely to become bored. You know the times we mean – waiting at the bus stop, waiting at the doctor’s office, stuck in the back seat while driving here and there … This collection of 100 creative ways to engage your children in their surroundings will open their imaginations and keep them happy – while bringing you the peace of mind you deserve.