Let’s be honest: parenting is a job (probably the toughest one you’ll ever love). You can’t clock out. There are no days off. But just like any other career: if you want to get ahead of the game, you need to read up on the job!
As a new parent, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the mass variety of parenting books, all promising you a happy baby. Here are the top 10 no-nonsense books for first-time parents.
1. The Wonder Weeks: How to Stimulate Your Baby’s Mental Development and Help Him Turn His 10 Predictable, Great, Fussy Phases Into Magical Leaps Forward
Authors: Hetty Van de Rijt, Frans Plooij, Xaviera Plas-Plooij
This is a must-have book for new parents. It illustrates 10 magical leaps that occur during the first weeks of parenthood. It also walks parents through the physical and mental changes occurring inside the baby. With this book, new parents understand the real reason behind things like:
- Cluster feeding
- Colic issues
- Sleep regression
All babies follow a certain pattern, usually related to their ever-evolving bodies. The Wonder Weeks book is a description of your baby’s perspective and how you can understand the changes he or she is going through. It helps you explore gentle activities you can do with your child.
What readers had to say: “It’s just nice to know what to expect & what I can do to aid my child as much as I can, sometimes it’s just nice to understand there’s a reason behind their crying.”
2. First-Time Parent: The honest guide to coping brilliantly and staying sane in your baby’s first year
Author: Lucy Atkins
If you are feeling overwhelmed, this is the book for new parents. The First Time Parent is written by health journalist and mother of three, Lucy Atkins. In this book, she addresses real issues first-time parents can experience. The book provides level headed reassurance and practical advice. It touches upon essential matters of motherhood such as:
- Supplemental feeding
Lucy Atkins aims to focus on all aspects of motherhood such as maternity leave and going back to work. The author wanted to write a book free from a predetermined agenda. She wanted a compassionate conversation with her readers without patronizing them.
What readers had to say: “A no-nonsense guide to prepare for parenthood. What is great about this book is it tells you what you should prioritise in preparing for baby, and what you could do without.”
Author: Rob Kemp
Motherhood brings about physical changes in the mother that prepare her for what is to come. However, fathers can often feel left out and a bit lost when it comes to handling the baby. From struggling to bond with the baby to finding ways to provide support to their partner, Dads end up falling on the back burner, feeling left out from the family dynamic.
The New Dad’s Survival Guide parenting book arms new dads with tools they need to be fantastic parents. It targets anticipated questions from first-time fathers such as:
- Supporting the baby’s development
- Understanding finances
- Balancing work arrangements
It is full of fascinating facts and anecdotes from dads who have been there. A funny book for parents to read that doesn’t overwhelm the reader.
What readers had to say: “I really like the way he rights. It’s not patronising, it’s engaging and very helpful.”
Author: Simone Cave, Dr. Caroline Fertleman
This easy to read, week-by-week manual, is ideal for tired and anxious parents. Bite-sized tips for new parents ensure that there is no-nonsense, straight to the point advice. It covers basics such as how to know if your baby is full or identifying why the baby is crying. As a first time parent, it can be hard to know what is normal and when to be concerned. This guide puts the reader’s mind to rest, preparing them for the ever-changing life with babies. The Your Baby Week By Week parenting book points out ways to soothe a fussy child using a range of solutions.
What readers had to say: “Great book! It tells you what you can expect each week and helpfully summarizes roughly how many feeds and how much baby should have.”
Author: Phillipa Perry
This audiobook for new parents is a little different from your usual baby manuals. Instead of being a manual to help taking care of the baby, it focuses on the mental state of the parents. Written by Psychotherapist Phillipa Perry, the book aims at understanding how upbringing may affect parenting. It focuses on creating a healthy and happy relationship between children and parents.
Rather than crafting a perfect foolproof plan of parenting, it accepts the reality of making mistakes and learning from them. It focuses on breaking the cycle of negativity and understanding how different behaviors communicate. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read is a kind and forgiving book that advocates kind and forgiving behavior, to ourselves and our partners.
What readers had to say: “Perry lays out her methods and thoughts very gently, with lots of good examples from real life, little case studies; but it’s the insights which really help.”
Author: Mother Pukka, Papa Pukka
The minds behind highly popular parenting blog MotherPukka.co.uk comes Parenting the Sh*t Out of Life. It’s a baby book with advice for parents, but with a twist. This is one couple’s take on the horrors and humor of modern parenting, told from both sides. It may not be easy and you might have no idea what you are doing, but, as the Pukkas demonstrate, with a bit of teeth-gnashing, tongue-chewing and joke-cracking, you too will be parenting the sh*t out of life.
What readers had to say: “I love the fact that the same story is being given from 2 different perspectives, giving a chance to see how two different people react to the same kind of events. I have also very much appreciated them talking about their miscarriages.”
Author: Matt Coyne
They say you become a parent the second you see the two lines on the pregnancy test. However, it doesn’t come to an end with the newborn phase. Some parents can find toddlerhood more challenging than the newborn phase. Man vs Toddler exposes the lie that when it comes to parenting ‘it gets easier’. It is an honest, foul-mouthed and heart-warming book. It will have you laughing and crying with recognition as he shares his observations and advice on everything from tantrums to the horrors of soft-play.
What readers had to say: “Matt is brave enough to write what us toddler parents are afraid to say out loud and I have laughed the whole way through the book.”
Author: Howard Hughes
The Unmumsy Mum writes candidly about mom life like it really is: the messy, maddening, hilarious reality, how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, and how it is sometimes absolutely fine to not know what you are doing. The lessons she’s learned while grappling with two small boys – from birth to teething, 3 am night feeds to toddler tantrums, soft play to toilet training – will have you roaring with laughter and taking great comfort in the fact that it’s definitely not just you. This funny book for parents is a must-have.
What readers had to say: “This is better than ANY parenting manual, because it’s real life and no manual can interpret that! I couldn’t put it down, laughed like crazy and remembered ‘being’ in situations like hers.”
Author: Daniel J. Siegel Tina Payne Bryson
In this pioneering, practical book for parents, neuroscientist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson, explain the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. Different parts of a child’s brain develop at different speeds and understanding these differences can help you turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and raise calmer, happier children.
Featuring clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies, and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child will help your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives using twelve key strategies
What readers had to say: “If anything, reading this book makes you appreciate that our little ones can only do so much with the brain they have and it’s up to us as parents to guide them to realising their full potential over the years.”
Author: Harvey Karp
Let’s face it: everything about a baby is cute till it starts crying. The Happiest Baby On The Block is a book that encompasses all the strategies new parents need to equip themselves with in order to have a satisfied happy baby. Babies cry! That’s how they communicate.
Thousands of parents, from regular moms and dads to Hollywood superstars, have come to baby expert Dr. Harvey Karp to learn his remarkable techniques for soothing babies and increasing sleep. He discusses the fourth trimester, calming reflux, the 5 S’s and cuddle cure.
What readers had to say: “Lifesaver book! Every new parent should read it before their little wonders arrive. Tried methods from it and they all worked with our son. Our days are much more peaceful now!”
Ultimately, parenthood is what you make of it. You can be as simple or complicated when it comes to parenting. Finding your own journey as first-time parents is part of the experience. Don’t feel like you have to get it right the first time. It is all right to make mistakes, no one hits the ground running in parenthood.