The best books for new and expectant mothers

Who am I?

I’m a clinical and developmental psychologist, a parenting researcher at the University of Queensland, and a mother. My research is focused on applying and commitment therapy (ACT) to parenting including the parenting of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. I wrote Becoming Mum while becoming a mother for the first time. In fact, much of the book was written while I cuddled my new baby, my laptop propped up on my knees so I could write! I am also the first author of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy the Clinician’s Guide to Supporting Parents. It is the first clinical manual on using ACT with parents.


I wrote...

Becoming Mum

By Koa Lou Whittingham,

Book cover of Becoming Mum

What is my book about?

Becoming Mum supports all women through the psychological ups and downs of becoming a mother, covering the journey from the earliest days right through infancy with advice for specific challenges from miscarriage to postnatal depression to preterm birth. Becoming Mum is grounded in the latest research and lived experience.

You will discover: your unique parenting values, and how to harness these to become a confident and happy mother, how to use mindfulness and acceptance to create a loving bond with your baby and support your baby's emotional development, techniques for coping with criticism, unhelpful advice, distressing emotions, and physical pain, how to keep your romantic relationship healthy and your support network strong, flexible, step by step strategies for facing major challenges that can be adapted to your personal circumstances.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Amazing Infant

Koa Lou Whittingham Why did I love this book?

The Amazing Infant will take you on a remarkable journey through the current developmental research on babies. You will be amazed by just how much babies can do! Not only is this an unputdownable book, but it is also a fantastic way to cultivate a genuine understanding of the youngest humans. Of course, this is core knowledge if you are or will be parenting one!

By Tiffany Field,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Amazing Infant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tiffany Field, world renowned infant development scholar, writes an engaging and comprehensive book that collects and reviews the latest findings in the field, exploring cutting edge research and contemporary theories about infant development. * An engaging and accessible book that integrates research, theory, and real life experiences and practices to provide a closer look at how infancy research is conducted. * Features illustrative photos and data graphs covering research from recent years. * Draws on recent advances in neuroscience to examine the progress made in the areas of prenatal and cognitive development.


Book cover of Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children

Koa Lou Whittingham Why did I love this book?

I’ve always been deeply inspired by the teachings of the Buddha, so naturally, I made sure I read this book. In fact, I first read it years before becoming a mother myself. It is a classic and a treasure, elucidating how to apply concepts like mindfulness and acceptance as a mother, long before any other book had done so. It is certainly relevant to any mother interested in Buddhism, but it is written in such an open way that it is also relevant to other mothers too.

By Sarah Napthali,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buddhism for Mothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Parenthood can be a time of great inner turmoil for a woman, yet parenting books invariably focus on nurturing children rather than the mothers who struggle to raise them. This book is different. It is a book for mothers.

Buddhism for Mothers encourages mothers to gain the most joy out of being with their children. How can this be done calmly and with a minimum of anger, worry and negative thinking? How can mothers negotiate the changed conditions of their relationships with partners, family and even with friends?

Using Buddhist practices, Sarah Napthali offers coping strategies for the day-to-day challenges…


Book cover of Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy

Koa Lou Whittingham Why did I love this book?

Every woman needs at least one practical book to read along with their pregnancy. There are several good options, but Up the Duff has the advantage of being highly entertaining and easy to read. It always made me giggle. It is a great book to have by the side of your bed all pregnancy through.

By Kaz Cooke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Up the Duff as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

Koa Lou Whittingham Why did I love this book?

Becoming Attached chronicles the conception and rise of one of the most important psychological theories: attachment theory. In doing so, it also tells the story of the mother-child bond and how our earliest relationships shape who we are and how we love. This book will delight and fascinate you. It will also leave you with clear, evidence-based knowledge of how to build and maintain a strong and loving relationship with your baby.

By Robert Karen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Attached as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The struggle to understand the infant-parent bond ranks as one of the great quests of modern psychology, one that touches us deeply because it holds so many clues to how we become who we are. How are our personalities formed? How do our early struggles with our parents reappear in the way we relate to others as adults? Why do we repeat with our own children--seemingly against our will--the very behaviors we most disliked about our parents? In Becoming Attached, psychologist and noted journalist Robert Karen offers fresh insight into some of the most fundamental and fascinating questions of emotional…


Book cover of Breastfeeding…Naturally

Koa Lou Whittingham Why did I love this book?

If you are intending to breastfeed, then it is important to pick up a book on breastfeeding. Don’t make the mistake of being so focused on pregnancy and birth that you forget about lactation. There are several good options for breastfeeding books. As an Australian mother, I turned to the Australian Breastfeeding Association and I made sure I read Breastfeeding…Naturally. It gave me the knowledge I needed to know.

You might also like...

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

Book cover of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

Manni Coe Author Of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a gay man born into an evangelical Christian family, my coming out story was wrought with pain, trauma, and separation from family and loved ones. In the same year I lost my best friend in an accident. My world tumbled and I had to crawl back to a place of reckoning. Walking became my path to healing. So when my brother Reuben, who has Down's syndrome sent me a message from the isolation of a care home in the pandemic, I knew he was in trouble. Those five words - ´brother. do. you. love. me.´changed our lives. I thought I might know a way to save him.

Manni's book list on memoirs that capture the struggle of everyday life

What is my book about?

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me. is a true story of brotherly love overcoming all. Reuben, who has Down's syndrome, was trapped in a care home during the pandemic, spiralling deeper into a non-verbal depression. From isolation and in desperation, he sent his older brother Manni a text, "brother. do. you. love. me."

This cry for help, this SOS in the sand unleashed a brotherly love that had Manni travelling back to the UK mid-pandemic to rescue his brother from the care home, and together they sheltered from the world in a cottage in deepest, darkest Dorset. There began a journey of recovery and rediscovery. Little by little, the brothers had to piece back together Reuben's world, help him to find his voice and find ways for him to trust the world again. This is a book about care, about Down's syndrome, about love. It is a story of resilience and patience in a world that Reuben thought had abandoned him.

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

What is this book about?


The story of two brothers, one with Down syndrome, and their extraordinary journey of resilience and repair.

"Profoundly moving and hugely uplifting."—Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Reuben, aged 38, was living in a home for adults with learning disabilities. He hadn’t established an independent life in the care system and was still struggling to accept that he had Down syndrome. Depressed and in a fog of antidepressants, he hadn’t spoken for over a year. The only way he expressed himself was by writing poems or drawing felt-tip scenes from his favorite musicals…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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