The best books for new parents in that crazy first year

Who am I?

When I was a young mom, I had questions:  Why won’t my baby sleep? Are all these hiccups normal? Am I doing the best I can for my child? I wanted answers. So, I read lots of books and learned as much as I could. While no book can give you all the answers for your unique child, reading some good ones can take some of the mystery out of parenting.


I wrote...

That Mama Is a Grouch

By Sherry Ellis,

Book cover of That Mama Is a Grouch

What is my book about?

Will anything get a mother yelling about time outs and withholding favors faster than a toy-strewn house? In That Mama is a Grouch, an intelligent and very wise narrator reminds us in charming rhyme that mothers are human, most often loving, and that certain situations will guarantee driving them to their breaking point. Children from three to seven will delight in this story of a mommy who’s nearly out of control, and they will learn the importance of something as simple as putting away toys. When nerves are tested, pick up this book and start reading!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of What to Expect the First Year

Sherry Ellis Why did I love this book?

The month-by-month format allows parents to take one step at a time. Topics covered include sleep training, green parenting, preparing homemade baby food, and the impact of screen time. It’s nice because as busy, sleep-deprived parents, you can read a little at a time to get what you need.

By Heidi Murkoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What to Expect the First Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With over 11 million copies in print, What to Expect: The First Year, now in a completely revised third edition, is the world’s best-selling, best-loved guide to the instructions that babies don’t come with, but should. And now, it’s better than ever. Every parent’s must-have/go-to is completely updated.

Keeping the trademark month-by-month format that allows parents to take the potentially overwhelming first year one step at a time, First Year is easier-to-read, faster-to-flip-through, and new-family-friendlier than ever—packed with even more practical tips, realistic advice, and relatable, accessible information than before. Illustrations are new, too.

Among the changes: Baby care fundamentals—crib…


Book cover of Your Baby's First Year

Sherry Ellis Why did I love this book?

This book is the encyclopedia of baby care. It has it all, from guidelines for newborn care, to safety checks, to tips for choosing childcare programs. The first half covers stages of development, and the second is organized by topic. It’s super-easy to check the index for what you want and then flip to the page. Sure, you can consult Dr. Google about these things, but it’s so handy to just pull the book off the shelf and start reading. I consider it a comprehensive, up-to-date, indispensable guide for new parents. 

By American Academy of Pediatrics,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Baby's First Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The guide to every aspect of infant care that’s most recommended by pediatricians and trusted by parents, with over four million copies sold—now in a completely revised and updated fifth edition!

From the American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s most authoritativename in childcare, comes the definitive all-in-one resource Your Baby’s First Year. Featuring new and expanded content, including the latest reports on cutting-edge research into early brain development, the fully illustrated fifth edition of Your Baby’s First Year includes 

• Guidelines for prenatal and newborn care, with spotlights on maternal nutrition, exercise, and screening tests during pregnancy
• Milestones for…


Book cover of The Ultimate Baby Book for New Dads: 100 Ways to Care for Your Baby in Their First Year

Sherry Ellis Why did I love this book?

Dads need a book, too. This survival guide lists 100 things dads can do for their baby and partner to help them not only survive but thrive in their first year. The things I like about it are that it’s in color, with eye-catching pictures, the format is easy to understand— basically in bullet-point style, and it’s so funny! Dr. Roy adds a bit of daddy humor in it.  Like if you’re doing tummy time with your baby, you can expect to be burped on! 

By Roy Benaroch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ultimate Baby Book for New Dads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The baby owner’s manual to help new dads succeed

Covering everything from burping and naptime to filing for paternity leave and setting up a safe play area, this is the complete survival manual for first-time dads. Discover more than 100 things dads can do to help their baby―and their partner―thrive in the first year.

Go beyond other books for new dads with:

Up-to-date advice―Written by an experienced pediatrician and featuring the most modern, evidence-based info available, this guide is everything books for new dads should be. From birth to 12 months―Divided into easy-to-skim sections, this book makes it simple for…


Book cover of The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

Sherry Ellis Why did I love this book?

This is a book to check out if you have some time to read and you’re interested in child psychology.  I like stories, and this one has plenty of them. The stories are good because many of them describe situations you’ll encounter as a parent. Seeing how issues should be handled can help when you find yourself in the same boat. The goal is to have a happy, calm child. This book looks at how the left and right parts of the brain work to achieve that goal.

By Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Whole-Brain Child as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this pioneering, practical book for parents, neuroscientist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson explain the new science of how a child's brain is wired and how it matures. Different parts of a child's brain develop at different speeds and understanding these differences can help you turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child's brain and raise calmer, happier children.

Featuring clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child will help your children to lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives using…


Book cover of Baby 411: Your Baby, Birth to Age 1

Sherry Ellis Why did I love this book?

Have you ever left the pediatrician’s office and then realized later that you forgot to ask the one question that was on your mind for days or even weeks? This book has you covered. Topics include everything from fussy baby issues to detailed nutrition information. The other thing I like is that you can look up a symptom like coughing, and it will give you a scale such as “when to call your doctor” and “red flag.” This is useful in helping you decide what to do next.

By Dr. Ari Brown, Denise Fields,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baby 411 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"(Baby 411 is) my go-to reference so I don't bother Charlotte's pediatrician!"―Chelsea Clinton (US Weekly, Sept. 2015).

You are having a baby! Congratulations! Now, the reality hits you—what the heck am I doing?  What if you could bottle the wisdom of all those parents who’ve come before you . . . and mix it with the solid medical advice from an nationally-renowned pediatrician? Baby 411 is the answer! Think of it as the ultimate FAQ for new parents. Inside you’ll learn:

• How to pick a pediatrician with savvy questions to ask and insider tips.

• Sleep. The best way…


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A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

By Nita Sweeney,

Book cover of A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

Nita Sweeney Author Of How to Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a thirty-year meditator, certified meditation leader, and award-winning author, it’s my job to keep up on the latest books about mindfulness and Zen practice. Despite seeing new volumes being published regularly, I return to these books as great sources of solid practice information. Each of these authors explains meditation in accessible terms, easy for readers to follow and understand. I can’t remember who said that a confused reader is an antagonistic reader, but they are right. The books I’ve suggested offer clarity. They help readers begin or continue their practice and understand how and why meditation is worth their time.

Nita's book list on why meditation is worth your time and effort

What is my book about?

Reduce stress, ease anxiety, and increase inner peace—one day at a time—with a year of easy-to-follow mindfulness meditation techniques. Certified mindfulness teacher, bestselling author, ultramarathoner, wife, and dog-mom Nita Sweeney shares mindfulness meditation practices to help anyone break free from worry and self-judgment.

Mindfulness meditation trains you to live in the present moment—the now. Feel calmer. Think more clearly. Respond more effectively and enjoy a more fulfilling life. Even in tiny doses, mindfulness is scientifically proven to enhance physical and mental health, boost creativity, and improve cognition function.

A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

By Nita Sweeney,


5 book lists we think you will like!

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