I received a few messages from parents-to-be or new parents asking me about my favorite parenting books. I gladly accepted the task but writing why I enjoyed a book it’s harder than I thought. Raising a child doesn’t have a single best recipe and I realize that some of my choices won’t resonate with many people or children out there. But still, here I am, gladly sharing what books influenced the way I handled things in the first most critical months of life (and after) for both of my girls. I’m not going to write about education and discipline, because I may offend people who do things differently and my girls are too little for me to have experience in that area, anyway. I will only talk about practical books I read about baby’s development.
So here are my top favorite books that made my life as a mother so much easier:
1. The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp
I guess there’s no surprise there, many people have read this book and it is a must for parents-to-be. Learning about the fourth trimester of life and how to keep babies away from exhausting crying and sleepless nights made those first months so easy to handle. That doesn’t mean that my newborns slept through the night, but we learned practical ways of making sure that we help them transition easier between the mother’s womb and this huge dry world. And yes, it is possible to avoid those so frightening colicky months. We did with both our girls. So thank you, dr. Karp.
2. Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding
If you’re planning to breastfeed, you need this book on your side table. It has solutions for any problem possible. The usual though that comes to your mind when you’re having a breastfeeding dilemma is that you don’t have enough milk. This book reassures you that what you’re going through is normal and you’re going to move past it. But I must tell you, this is a medical type of book that’s easy to digest. Don’t expect a pretty narration.
3. Your Baby is Speaking to You, by dr. Kevin Nugent
I loved Paul Ekman’s books on micro expressions, they made me think I can read anybody and I really wanted to catch bad guys. I once refused starting a relationship with the man I call my husband, because I wanted to join the army. But that’s another fun story that you may read about, if you stick around. 😅
So babies. Crying babies. Fussing babies. Laughing babies during the night. Things that babies do and say without words that make us feel unworthy for not understanding. This book is a micro expression reader for babies. You must guess my excitement while reading it 😅. It gave me a lot of confidence and that’s huge for a new mom. The illustrations also helped tremendously. If you fail at reading your baby or your just a ‘Lie to Me’ enthusiast 🙈 go read this book.
4.The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program, by Polly Moore
Oh, the obsession with baby sleep! I get it, it what makes us parents go scream into a pillow sometimes. Or others judging us. But I found in this book an interesting, well studied point of view on sleep circles. It helped us enormously. I always look at the clock when it comes with my kids sleeping program because of this book and it works wonders. I may not agree with some parts of it regarding sleep training, but it has many good things to consider.
From here, I will only add the book’s short description because I don’t want to bore you. These next books also influenced me and made my days and nights easier. I may not agree entirely with some of them, but I guess that’s normal. We take what we need and what’s right for our children.
5. Mind in the Making, by Ellen Galinsky
“Mind in the Making is the central component of a creative, multi-faceted initiative that clarifies paths to lifelong learning—related to discoveries about brain development and how learning builds on the structure and function of the brain. It is a valuable contribution based on solid research that yields practical benefits.” (David A. Hamburg, MD,Weill Cornell Medical College and President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York)
6. Simplicity parenting, by Kim John Payne
“If you are raising children in these anxious times, you need this book. It will inspire you, reassure you, and, most important of all, it will remind you that less is more, that simplicity trumps complication, that rhythm and routine bring peace to the soul. In this profound and practical guide, Kim John Payne offers parents a doable, step-by-step approach to simplifying everyday family life, from the toy box to the dinner table. In the process, he reveals to us the rewards to be found in slowing down, savoring our children’s childhoods, and more fully enjoying our own adult lives.”—Katrina Kenison
7. The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori
“The Absorbent Mind was Maria Montessori’s most in-depth work on her educational theory, based on decades of scientific observation of children. Her view on children and their absorbent minds was a landmark departure from the educational model at the time. This book helped start a revolution in education. Since this book first appeared there have been both cognitive and neurological studies that have confirmed what Maria Montessori knew decades ago.”
I decided to stop at 7. There are many more interesting books that could help us do things easier (I don’t want to say “be better parents” because it sounds too harsh and it’s debatable). Also, I didn’t place them in a certain order, only the first 4 titles. But keep in mind that my list works on my children and myself. Before taking things personally, make sure that these books suit your style and don’t worry if they don’t. I have read many books that actually I couldn’t finish because I found them disturbing, but I don’t judge people who enjoyed them and used their advice. Take whatever works for you, your character and your family. Keep your principles in mind and pray that you take the right decisions for your little ones. That’s all we can do as parents, basically.
Even if we’ll never be perfect or know absolutely everything, that shouldn’t stop us from doing the best we can and learn as much as possible, no matter how old we are.