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37 Books Every Parent Should Read

Here's what to read when you're expecting.

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1. Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby's First Year: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!

Da Capo Lifelong Books

"Our pediatrician gave us a copy of an older version and it was the best reference. No parenting advice, just unbiased information. I give it to every new parent I know." —Lou LaChute, Facebook

"They weren’t alarmist and let you know what to be watchful for without being scary. I also liked how everything was broken down month by month as well as by topic. I found them super helpful." —jilliang4ee629412

"It gave me a good heads up of what to expect with my first baby, and I've even cracked it open a couple of times with my second." —Justine Fitting, Facebook

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3. Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan

Workman Publishing Company

"If you ever look at your toddler and wonder what they are thinking, this book will answer that question. It's sarcastic and funny, but oh so relatable." —Sara Lee, Facebook

"You HAVE to read Toddlers are A**holes. Go ahead and read it when yours is still an infant to get a good chuckle, and then read it again when that infant is a toddler and you need some reassurance that the craziness is normal." —eryncuz

4. Nurture the Wow by Danya Ruttenberg

Flatiron Books

"Has quickly become my go-to gift to parents and those about to become parents. A game-changing read." —Jaclyn Friedman, Facebook

"Amazing, transformative book about the work of parenting as a spiritual practice — how it impacts the adults, not the kid. Totally relatable about the hard parts and the exhaustion but makes it easier to get to the love and compassion and find the beauty in even the drudgery." —sleepymaa

5. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman

Ballantine Books

"A great resource if you're thinking about breastfeeding." —cmheller113

"Great to have on hand for nursing tips and tricks." —Jennifer Whidden, Facebook

"It’s all about pregnancy, childbirth, caring for infants, and of course, breastfeeding. An absolute must!" —angels4d4906ef4

6. I Heart My Little A-Holes by Karen Alpert

William Morrow

"Not your typical parenting book, but Karen's essays and anecdotes on parenting are hilarious. She reminds me that I don't need to be the perfect mom for my kid to love me." —tasiat

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7. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott

Anchor

"My husband's aunt sent this to me while I was having a rough time with our firstborn. I was feeling very isolated, having a hard time breastfeeding, and, looking back, some definite PPD (post-partum depression). This book showed up out of the blue and it made me laugh, hard, for the first time since my daughter was born." —jmlamott04

8. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.

Ballantine Books

"This book was a lifesaver. A friend recommend it to me and it has been passed around our group so much we just refer to it as the 'baby sleep book.' My favorite part is that it offers troubleshooting tips for kids of all ages so if you didn't start sleep training your kid at 3 months you can still work on getting your crabby 3 year old to stop climbing out of bed all night long." —kellyh44f66a2a5

9. Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

W. W. Norton & Company

"It's an amazing guide for teaching kids to solve conflicts without adult intervention. I use the strategies in my kindergartner classroom all the time." —d409620cc4

10. The Attachment Parenting Book by William Sears and Martha Sears

W. W. Norton & Company

"It really helped with my firstborn who was colicky, clingy, and hated sleep. It's more of an anti-parenting book, the main theme is don't listen to other people's instructions about your baby because other people don't know your baby!" —susannathebanana

11. NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Twelve

"So much parenting advice is handed down from generations before without anyone questioning it. This book debunks myths and gives practical advice on raising children. For example, not talking to your children about race does not make them 'colorblind.' In fact, it can have the opposite effect. Also, more important than limiting the amount of time kids spend watching TV or playing video games, is what you do with them when they aren't engaged in screen time. Instead of making me feel like a terrible parent (which many parenting how-tos are apt to do) this book made me feel hopeful. I highly recommend it." —betsys6

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12. Be Prepared: The Practical Handbook for New Dads by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden

Simon & Schuster

"Written and illustrated like a boy scout handbook, it is a hilarious read full of amazing information for anyone with a new baby. The book is broken down into different fun things dads can do with their baby starting from a newborn through toddler. It really helped my husband and I learn to cope with a new baby in the house!" —annarosepeterson

For dads I cannot recommend Be Prepared enough. My husband loves this book and gives a copy to all his friends when new babies are announced. A lot of dad books are very patronizing and belittling, going on about how life as you know it is over and making fatherhood sound like a miserable, terrible experience. This is not like that and instead it celebrates and encourages being a new dad, while also being pretty darn funny." —kellyh44f66a2a5

"I bought it for my husband to give him a crash course in infant care, and he loved it! Plus, I ended up enjoying it a lot more than my 'mommy' books because of the mix of solid information and humor, as well as some great illustrations." —irishcowgirl

14. If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay by Lara Zibners

Grand Central Life & Style

"A terrific book that talks about how to tell whether you should see a doctor/go to the ER for an ailment or injury and is tremendously reassuring and helpful to reference." —Katherine Handcock, Facebook

15. Touchpoints by T. Berry Brazelton

Da Capo Press

"Written with such empathy for kids and parents, it'll give you insight into the developing mind of a baby and answer all those 'she was just fine, why is she doing that now?' questions." —Annamarie MacLeod, Facebook

16. What to Do When You're Having Two by Natalie Diaz

Avery

"It covers everything from what you ought to register for, financial planning and advice, and what to expect the first year. Our twins are due in October and I owe it to this book for helping us feel so prepared! It's an absolute must for parents of multiples!" —Lauren Wilson, Facebook

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18. The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Bantam

"It gives a really thorough understanding of how children develop, why they do and react the ways they do early in life, and, most importantly, it gives real, workable methods for helping children (and parents) deal with life's ups and downs." —Manda Gregs, Facebook

19. The Wonder Weeks by Frans X. Plooij

Kiddy World Publishing

"It's about how babies tend to have predictable fussy periods when they're going through developmental changes. It was so helpful to know why my normally chill baby was suddenly a cranky punk and that it would pass." —t49e12a934

20. Kid Cooperation by Elizabeth Pantley

New Harbinger Publications

"She offers lots of helpful and doable ways to use positive discipline techniques that take the battle out of many typical situations." —Michelle Martin Corson, Facebook

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23. Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber

Touchstone

"Even if you don't believe in sleep training or cry-it-out approaches (I don't but still read it) it gives a very good explanation on the science of sleep, why babies sleep how they do and it will give you a good idea on how to help your baby sleep from the start." —trusche7

26. The Safe Baby by Debra Smiley Holtzman

Sentient Publications

"For parents trying to prepare for their new-coming baby, The Safe Baby is an informative book that is a quick read for novice parents trying to start their children's lives in a safe environment." —miley514

27. The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford

NAL

"I didn't get it until my daughter was 3 months old, and it changed everything. Until I read this I didn't understand that babies needed regular naps and how much a routine can help some babies. Once I got her into a nap routine for the day and a bedtime routine for the night she sleeps like a champ and that means we're all happier for it!" —blodynbach

28. Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt

Routledge

"It's a beautiful book about the importance of attachment on the development of the brain. It's a neuroscience book at heart but is written in such a way that it's really readable and not nearly as scary as it sounds! And we all know how much Love Matters." —vikkir4f7b6b9a5

29. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

Bantam

"This book was honestly a lifesaver for me, especially during the first few months of having a newborn. It gives so much information on sleep patterns and little tips and tricks to help your new baby adjust to life outside the womb." —mikaylan2

32. Birthing from Within by Pam England

Partera Press

"For people who really want to have a pregnancy and birth experience that's as natural as possible, Birthing from Within is fantastic, and is a great book to read to help someone through a subsequent pregnancy and birth after having a traumatic experience." —Jennifer Whidden, Facebook

34. The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Piatkus

"This book completely changed the way I think about my daughter's sleeping and is based on actual science and psychology rather than just the author's opinion or experience as is common with so many parenting books. I wish that every parent would read this book which explains how night waking is totally normal even into the toddler years with the evolutionary, psychological and neurological reasons as to why. And also gentle tips on what can be done to help get them sleeping a little bit longer without any crying involved." —mirandar4223ca6fc

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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