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!

The books I picked & why

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What to Expect the First Year

By Heidi Murkoff,

Book cover of What to Expect the First Year

Why 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.


Your Baby's First Year

By American Academy of Pediatrics,

Book cover of Your Baby's First Year

Why 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. 


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

By Roy Benaroch,

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

Why 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! 


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

By Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson,

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

Why 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.


Baby 411: Your Baby, Birth to Age 1

By Dr. Ari Brown, Denise Fields,

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

Why 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in parenting, infants, and breastfeeding?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about parenting, infants, and breastfeeding.

Parenting Explore 109 books about parenting
Infants Explore 34 books about infants
Breastfeeding Explore 13 books about breastfeeding

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance, and Raising Your Spirited Baby: A Breakthrough Guide to Thriving When Your Baby Is More . . . Alert and Intense and Struggles to Sleep if you like this list.