The Books All New (and old) Parents Need To Read
The book store has shelves lined with baby books, and Amazon has an unlimited supply to choose from. It becomes overwhelming, and turning to friends seems like the best idea. But how do you know if your parenting ideals are the same? How do you know if they read the best books out there? You don't, and you don't need to stress over it. Yes, there are a million books out there, but your parenting won't be defined by every one that you pick up! Well, I take that back. The books you read will open your eyes (and heart) to help you realize what type of parent you will strive to be! That means you will find positives and negatives along the way. Just as no parent is exactly the same, each book will offer different takings for you to walk away with! That being said, it is always a good idea to read reviews and look a bit deeper before investing in anything, especially when there is so much bad parenting advice out there!
While I love writing for My Baby's Heartbeat Bear and documenting this crazy parenthood adventure of five kids, I also LOVE bettering myself as a parent and a person. I have quite the collection of parenting books, and have had the opportunity to poll the masses on their favorites as well! I will warn you that the most generic (and ridiculous) books did not make this list. I am not a fan of the "What to Expect" series or anything that has been proven to cause potential harm to a baby ("Babywise"). I also will not promote any books that go against the natural instincts of motherhood. Our babies should not be trained to eat or sleep on a schedule that includes being alone, crying, or ignoring infant cues. These practices may seem appealing when sleep deprived, but they are proven to potentially cause long term problems. Instead, I am including the books that should truly benefit you as a parent!
The Most Awesome Books All Parents Should Read
The Baby Book by Dr. Sears This book covers everything you need to know about a newborn, and it acts as a great reference guide to flip through whenever you have a question.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley By following a baby's natural sleep rhythms, this book offers a gentle method to help your child sleep longer stretches without tears. No, it is not a miracle book. No, it will not make your baby sleep 12 hours straight, but it is a great read to offer some sound advice!
Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvery Karp There is always a way to soothe a crying, fussy baby, and while this book is a great insight to many ways to aid baby, remember that you are the mama, which means you know your child better than any other human! Trust your instincts when it comes to helping your little love.
Louise Bates Ames' series by age I own the entire series and absolutely love how Ames breaks down the development of an infant and child into terms that I can relate to. It makes it so much easier to understand your child when you know what is taking place developmentally!
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham This guide will help parents "better understand their own emotions -and get them in check- so they can parent with healthy limits, empathy, and clear communication to raise a self-disciplined child. Step-by-step examples give solutions and kid-tested phrasing for parents of toddlers right through the elementary years." Handling those first meltdowns, tantrums, and sassy moments can be hard, but this book offers great support.
Hold on to your Kids by Gordon Neufeld While this one is geared toward children a bit older than infants, it is a great read for a new parent. It dives into the importance of why a parent needs to matter more than peers. You would be surprised at just how young the influence of others plays a role in a child's life.
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn This one brought me to tears as I had to work through my own parental issues. I highly recommend owning this one and rereading it again when you are about to lose your mind as a parent.
The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary Again, a book that brought me to tears revisiting my own issues. I feel as though this one helped me become more present in how I was with my kids - even as babies.
Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline Teaching responsibility through love and respect fosters a strong relationship. As a parent, you will shape and mold your child's growing character, and this book will offer great ways to ensure you are doing it while building a lasting relationship.
Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen Babies and children explore the world (and learn) through play. By becoming a playful parent, you are deepening your connection, modeling lifelong happiness skills, unconditionally loving, teaching, and growing your child.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish Another book that helps you become a more confident and stronger parent from infancy throughout young adulthood. So much happens when you realize that your words, tone, and body language effect your children for life. This guide helps to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including ways to:
- Cope with your child's negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment
- Express your strong feelings without being hurtful
- Engage your child's willing cooperation
- Set firm limits and maintain goodwill
- Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline
- Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise
- Resolve family conflicts peacefully
If you struggle with your relationship with your own parents (or in-laws), the book Boundaries is a great one to help you understand the importance of setting limits.