My Top 8 Favorite Books for First Time Moms from >> books, parenting, pregnancy, parenting books, pregnancy books, first time moms, work at home moms, reading list, best parenting resources

My 8 Favorite Books for First-Time Moms

Parenting comes with a lot of homework.

At least, it does if you require tons of sage advice from people more experienced than you (i.e. if you’re anything like me).

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When Husband and I first learned we were expecting, I panicked. I mean, yeah, I was happy and all, but I panicked because how the heck do you survive pregnancy and give birth and raise a well-adjusted human? So the first thing I did, aside from cry a little (don’t worry, some of them were tears of joy), was plump up my library with parenting books that had been recommended to me by people I trust. The first thing my mom did, aside from cry (hers were all tears of joy), was take me to the nearest bookstore to buy a copy of the pregnancy classic: What to Expect When You’re Expecting, all for my very own self.

Before I knew it — and because I’m a book addict — I had plenty of books in my arsenal to help me navigate the physically and emotionally choppy waters of pregnancy. And, I hoped, to prepare us for parenthood. (Although people keep telling me you can only be so prepared…)

So here are my 8 favorite books for first-time moms:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

This one, of course, goes without saying for many first-time moms. It’s one of those rite-of-passage books, in my opinion. It covered all of the pregnancy bases, including plenty of bases I wasn’t even aware of (like pregnancy congestion, for instance, and how to tell false labor from real labor). Mostly it helped me stay aware of what was going in on in my body month-by-month. And trust me, pregnancy is weird. You’ll want to know.

Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman

Somehow Catherine Newman managed to make me laugh out loud — so much that it actually hurt to laugh (#pregnancyproblems) — in one paragraph, and reduce my delicate, hormonal momma heart to tears in the next. She has that ability. This memoir was a treat amid all the other books I read as I prepared to give birth and become a mom. It made me laugh (pretty sure my husband began to wonder what was wrong with me!), it made me cry (sweet, nostalgic tears, of course), and it made me feel less crazy and anxious and alone.

The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins

This book is so incredibly comprehensive and it covers everything from the basics of position to emotional barriers of breastfeeding to almost any question imaginable. I already know it’ll be my go-to when our little one is here and we’re trying to master this breastfeeding thing together. I’m reading through it now, but from what I hear, pregnancy brain just turns into mom brain after you give birth, so I’m sure I’ll return to the many dog-eared pages of this book for future reference.

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Dr. Robert Sears

Can we all just agree that there’s a heck of a lot of noise on the Internet these days? WITHOUT GETTING INTO A DEBATE on the safety, validity, or desirability of vaccines (that’s not what I’m here for), I’ll just say this: I wanted a comprehensive vaccine resource from a qualified, experienced medical professional, and this was it. Big time. I daresay this is the most unbiased resource out there for parents who truly want to look at all aspects of vaccines. Without getting preached at, spoken down to, or criticized. After reading this book, I feel much more informed, and I’m incredibly thankful that Dr. Sears (who has over twenty years of both research and experience to back him up) wrote this book for confused yet curious moms like me who just want someone to cut through the noise.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.

This book was highly recommended to us by friends of ours (who are great parents), so I was thrilled when we were given a copy. Dr. Karp introduces the idea of the “fourth trimester” — i.e. the first three months of a baby’s life. He covers The 5 S’s to calm a screaming baby, as well as survival tips for parents of new babies. Definitely helpful.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne and Lisa Ross

Having permission to cultivate a simpler life is a breath of fresh air. Personally, I enjoy life much more when I’m not burdened by “stuff.” About once a year I get the urge to purge…to get rid of clothes I no longer wear, things I no longer use, and to simplify our home (and therefore my mind) overall. It’s incredibly refreshing. This book spoke to this moderate minimalist’s heart. To hear that a child’s imagination will benefit her much more than boxes full of toys eases my mind in those moments when I feel like I can’t provide enough stuff. But my baby doesn’t need tons of unnecessary stuff that she’ll just outgrow and throw away. She needs time and attention. Space to explore. Opportunities to use her imagination. Protection, rest, love. She needs us.

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The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

Years ago, around the time Husband and I married, I purchased The Power of a Praying Wife and loved it. I keep it by my bedside and refer to it almost daily. So there was no question that I’d add this one to my library. She provides excellent strategies and prewritten prayers you can customize and use to pray for your own little ones.

Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants, and Young Children by Debra Raybern

I am so excited and thankful to be raising an oily baby! My family has been using essential oils for a few years now, and we haven’t looked back. Needless to say, my hospital bag is crammed with oils, Ningxia Red packs, and my diffuser. Will I use any of it? The plan is YES. But, of course, the obscene pain of labor and delivery, or so I’m told, will tell. (You’d better believe I signed that epidural form, just in case I need it.) Regardless, I’m planning to implement essential oils into our daily routine as a family once our little one is here, with medical permission, of course. This book is an excellent resource on how to do that, and it includes plenty of helpful recipes for happy oiling.

Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

A dear friend of mine sent me this book back in my first trimester, and aside from What to Expect, it was the first pregnancy and parenting book I read. Written as more of a memoir than an instructional book, it entertained and comforted me in my early days of pregnancy. It also gave me plenty of ideas and recipes I plan to use once our little is here, including a simple, delicious yogurt cake for snack time.

These books, in addition to the advice and support I’ve received from friends and relatives, have given me confidence and clarity as a first-time mom. At least, until that first night at home when it’s just me, Husband, and a mysteriously unsatisfied Baby Nugget. Something tells me that’s when the real learning will begin.

Do you have any book recommendations to add to the list? If so, let me know in the comments. I’d love to read them!

My Top 8 Favorite Books for First Time Moms from >> books, parenting, pregnancy, parenting books, pregnancy books, first time moms, work at home moms, reading list, best parenting resources

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