When I first got pregnant, I read a ton of books (including the usual What to Expect When You’re Expecting), and got a few more as gifts. I appreciated the knowledge I gleaned from each one, so I now recommend them to new moms on a regular basis.
These books make great shower gifts for the expecting or first-time mom, gifts for second- or third-time moms who don’t need anything, gifts for the mom who didn’t register or already has everything, or last minute gifts for really any mom!
They’re good for a variety of pregnancy and parenting styles, and have great information for dads, too. I’ve included an Amazon link to each of them. Many of these books are super easy reads with a Kindle or eBook option, and I appreciated each one for a unique reason.
Without further ado, here are my must reads for new moms:
This book was groundbreaking for me the second time around. I wish I’d read it during my first pregnancy–it would’ve taken a load of anxiety off about what to eat and drink, how much, and all that mess. It debunks conventional pregnancy “donts” by looking at the research so you can make an informed decision about things like whether you want to microwave your lunchmeat, clean out the litter box, or have more than one cup of coffee. I liked how she presented the data in a clear and concise way, while empowering me to check up her research and discuss her findings with my provider if I had any questions.
The Wonder Weeks
I mentioned this book in a previous post, but I really can’t say enough about it. They have great information on the website as well as an app you can download with a calendar and alerts for your specific child. I loved that the basis of their research is mental leaps in development from due date through 18 months. I was able to read one chapter at a time and while it didn’t provide any magical fixes for fussy behavior, it helped me mentally and emotionally to prepare for upcoming changes in my child, and that maintained my sanity.
Holy Labor: How Childbirth Shapes a Woman’s Soul
This book was fantastic. As Christians we are often scared of labor and childbirth because of the “curse of Eve,” and if you’ve ever been through labor you know how fear can stall or inhibit progress and intensify pain. Not to mention how fear and anxiety in pregnancy can manifest themselves in some fairly unpleasant ways. This book helped me trust my body’s ability to do what it should, and gave me faith in the process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Yes, there is pain, but it is with a purpose. God designed my babies and they came out how He wanted them to! She makes a point to give the reader the confidence to do what her body is designed to do, but with the reassurance that C-sections and medicated deliveries aren’t making us less worthy or less heroic when we give birth these ways.
Moms on Call
This book was super helpful to me as a first time mom. I didn’t follow all of their recommendations, but it helped set my mind at ease about how to check for a fever, when to be concerned about how long it’s been between poops, and how to bathe a baby. We ended up using a swaddle bathing method, but their nighttime bath routine (yes, every night) helped me break up the days from the nights when I was in the throes of the first few weeks of adjusting to being a mom, breastfeeding around the clock, and dealing with my postpartum hormones.
Q & A a Day for Moms
I got two of these books so I ended up regifting one of them (let’s get real here for a second: we all do this, and there is no shame in it. 1] it’s the thought that counts and 2] it’s an awesome way to pass along a good gift when you’ve got more than you can use!) For both girls, I’d already picked out my own 2-year memory journal each time before they were born to document my pregnancies with them and their milestones. However, as the mom of two, it’s actually going to be fun to use one as a family memory journal, rather than something specific for one kid. There are a bunch of these though, so if the “for Moms” version isn’t your style, look for the others! Unfortunately, I don’t think a Kindle version of this title would be as effective, but who am I to tell you what to do. 😉
This hilarious book was given to me by my mother-in-law after the birth of our second. Each prayer is short, light-hearted, and so real. There’s a prayer for a missing pacifier, being late, the birthday party from hell, “and other everyday absurdities.” Funny, real, and a great gift for any second time mom with a sense of humor (not that a first time mom wouldn’t appreciate it, but I think I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate all the humor in it initially).
Taking Care of Your Child
This book is a “parent’s illustrated guide to complete medical care,” and was something I didn’t receive until my second was born. A neighbor gave it to me, and said she and her husband used it for years with their children, and still use it sometimes for their grandchildren and even themselves. I’m not gonna lie, at first I chuckled about it.
Then I realized that not everyone’s dad is a doctor, not everyone has 2 besties who are Physician Assistants, not everyone has sisters and in-laws in the medical field (nurses, doctors, NPs, you name it), not everyone has worked in a clinical setting before, etc. I wish I’d taken my own advice and not knocked it til I tried it!
Baby Led Weaning
When I first got pregnant, I thought I was going to make all my own baby food purees. We bought a nice blender, a high-end food processor, and I began my research. When we had her, though, all that went out the window. I couldn’t fathom finding the time and energy to do all that prep work along with everything else (the 6-week postpartum period was probably not the best time for me to be thinking about solids 6+ months away, but I tend to get ahead of myself a lot).
This method of feeding solid finger foods to babies 6 months of age and up is not new, but it has gained a lot of ground since the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics changed from 4 to 6 months. The book dispelled a lot of myths about gagging vs. choking, which foods to start with, how to introduce solids, which milestones to look for to know if your child is ready, etc. It made mealtime and preparation so much easier for us, and definitely fit into our parenting style perfectly.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Really anything by Ina May… I read both her Guide to Childbirth and Guide to Breastfeeding books, and was inspired and encouraged by them. She is a well known midwife, and her approach and knowledge of the woman’s body and ability to give birth and lactate was extremely helpful. I highly recommend both of these to any mom you know who is even considering an unmedicated delivery and breastfeed, whether she is a first time mom or a seventh time mom. I was able to overcome many of my initial nursing struggles because of the encouragement and knowledge she provided.
She also references a few other books, most of which I ended up downloading or buying myself, but those might have been too much for me without her initial introduction. In the early stages as a first time mom, I was so hungry for information and reassurance. Her clinical but holistic approaches gave me just that.
What books would you add? Have you read any of these? What did you love/hate about them? Share in the comments!
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