I shared one of the pregnancy/baby books I’ve read on Instagram a couple weeks ago and instantly received an influx of recommendations and opinions about what to read and what to ignore. Personally I’ve enjoyed soaking up others’ wisdom on pregnancy and parenting since this is all new (and occasionally overwhelming) territory for me, but I completely understand and respect moms-to-be who want to shield themselves from information overload when every birth and every baby will be completely unique. There are books I’ve started that stressed me out so I put them aside and moved on to the next — you have to do what feels right for you!
In general I’d say I’ve been drawn to books with both a reassuring tone and practical advice — books that make me feel like I’m completely capable of being a wonderful mom and that offer me a few helpful takeaways for how to get through a certain pregnancy symptom or the initial days and weeks of our baby’s life. Since I know someone will ask, the two books I’ve started and put down were Expecting Better (because I found challenging conventional medical wisdom more stressful than encouraging) and The Fourth Trimester (because her traumatic birth story was so unsettling and her postpartum advice felt a little woo woo for our lifestyle). I have friends who absolutely loved each of these books and even received a few angry messages from Instagram followers who think they should be required reading — again I totally support any soon-to-be-parent’s choice to read every baby book under the sun, read absolutely none at all, or handpick the ones that suit their unique preferences and lifestyles. Clearly I’ve done the latter!
Here’s everything I’ve read or am reading so far as well as a list of books I’ve purchased and plan to read over the next few months. I’d love to hear what you loved or didn’t love about each as well as any other books you’d recommend! Just please be respectful that we might be looking for different things in our personal pregnancy and parenthood journeys! 🙂
What No One Tells You: A Guide to Your Emotions from Pregnancy to Motherhood by Alexandra Sacks and Catherine Birndorf
I’ve started and stopped a number of books about pregnancy and parenting that stressed me out with conflicting health advice and/or traumatic birth stories, so I was grateful for the reassuring tone of this book. The authors, both MDs, take a comforting tact in normalizing the wide range of emotions women experience from the moment of the first pregnancy test through the trials and tribulations of their child’s first year. I particularly appreciated the distinction between the baby blues that many moms experience due to hormone changes in the first two weeks after giving birth and the more serious warning signs for post-partum anxiety and depression, for which the appendix offers many resources.
Moms on Call by Laura Hunter and Jennifer Walker
I have several girlfriends who swear by the daily schedules suggested in this book and I’ve had dozens of you recommend it since I announced my pregnancy (easily the #1 recommended read!). It’s a quick read during pregnancy that gives a helpful overview on feeding, bathing, and sleep, but I know I’ll be referencing the specific timelines multiple times a day as soon as our baby arrives! I’m admittedly a little nervous about our ability to adhere to their recommended schedule every day and night, but I’m so encouraged that their methods have worked for so many of you that I think we’d be crazy not to give it our best shot. Will is planning to read it as well since neither of us has much experience caring for newborns and there are so many practical tips for bathing, diapering, and feeding an infant.
My cousin and his sweet wife sent us a copy of this book just days before their own due date and I couldn’t wait to crack it open! I’m now about a third of the way through this practical guide to soothing colicky newborns and find myself wanting to highlight and take frequent notes as I go. I love the idea of having a few go-to coping mechanisms to try out when our baby is particularly fussy and can see ourselves referring back to this book often in the first few months of his life. If you’re looking for reassurance that your baby’s crying is totally normal or practical advice on how to calm him or her down in the heat of a meltdown, I think you’ll find this your kind of read.
Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
Ugh, why don’t we all just move to France? That’s certainly the way I’ve felt listening to this book (Will and I recently switched from the audio version to a paperback copy so we can refer back to it more easily). The author is an American journalist who has a baby in Paris and notices that French children sleep through the night, are adventurous eaters, and know how to self-soothe and keep themselves entertained from an early age. Curious about the difference between American and French children, she interviews dozens of parenting experts and friends with children to get to the bottom of their parenting techniques. While reading this book won’t change the fact that resources for new parents in the U.S. are sorely lacking relative to those for French families, we’ve personally really enjoyed the author’s sense of humor and newfound wisdom.
What I’m planning to read before baby:
- On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep (or is this overkill if I’ve already read Moms on Call?)
- Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old (same question as above)
- Strong as a Mother: How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and (Most Importantly) Sane from Pregnancy to Parenthood
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