Pregnancy

Best Parenting Books for New and Expectant Parents

by Samantha McIntyre


Best Parenting Books for New and Expectant Parents
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Unfortunately for parents, babies do not come with instruction manuals — and that leaves most Moms and Dads wringing their hands daily with worry over what they’re doing right or wrong. Parents carry a tremendous weight of responsibility to protect, raise and teach tiny humans to be happy, kind, smart and polite little people. It takes a lot of work and, in most cases, a village of experts to help mothers and fathers navigate a winding, exhaustive path to providing children with everything they need to be healthy, supported and loved.

 

 

 

 

Though there seems to be an endless supply of unsolicited advice available to new parents, there are many experts available with scientifically backed research and proven studies on any and every topic to guide parents on bringing up baby in the best, healthiest way possible. That’s why we’ve turned the page on several top parenting books to help moms and dads find the answers they are searching for on topics ranging from what to expect while expecting to how to handle everything from positive reinforcement to potty training.

 

Bottom line: Parenting is hard, but the rewards are well worth the work, and adding these titles to your bookshelf might make the job just a little bit easier. Check out our roundup of popular must-reads and reviews of the best parenting books for moms and dads.

 

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Best Book for Expectant Dads

We're Pregnant! The First Time Dad's Pregnancy Handbook

Price:$14.00

Expert advice from stay-at-home dad Adrian Kulp, who puts first-time dads at ease with invaluable guidance in We're Pregnant! The First Time Dad's Pregnancy Handbook. Father-of-four Kulp knows a thing or two about what to expect and gives soon-to-be fathers the tools they need to provide support to their partner. From hormones to hospital bags, this resource offers week-to-week details for dad, including pregnancy updates and baby's development.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“For all the new and nervous first time dads, pick this book up! Accurate breakdowns from a father’s pointview leading up to the birth and first three months.”

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Best Book for Expectant Moms

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Price:$16.00

A must-have pregnancy guide for all expectant moms, Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel’s What to Expect When You're Expecting answers all of the questions a mom-to-be might have about each stage of pregnancy. From a positive test to pushing and delivering, this best-seller is the ultimate resource for reassuring mom with solid advice and guidance on the progression of her pregnancy.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“My doctor kept saying everything was fine & I didn’t need to do anything but after missing out on some testing during the first trimester I decided to read ahead in the book. Thanks to it I was able to go into my appointments well informed and able to ask for certain tests with enough time to complete them. This is a must for any pregnant woman.”

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Best Book for New Parents

The Happiest Baby on the Block

Price:$17.00

What parent doesn't hope for a happy, healthy baby? Scientifically backed research in Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block provides new parents with tools to calm their crying babe with the 5 S's — Swaddling, Side/Stomach, Shushing, Swinging, Sucking — the Cuddle Cure (a combination of the first five steps) and Sleep. Karp's techniques are designed to create a womb sensation "transporting infants from tears to tranquility." An invaluable guide for parents navigating their way with a fussy newborn.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I've torn through this book for my daughter (who's six days old at time of this writing), and my ability to quiet her down in under 10 seconds has amazed my friends and family. Everyone thinks I'm a baby savant or have had previous kids, but I'm simply following the ‘5 S's’ in this book and it works like a charm.”

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Best Book for Getting Baby to Sleep

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night

Price:$17.00

Dr. Marc Weissbluth‘s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep provides essential tools for the treatment of unhealthy sleep patterns in children. This sleep resource reveals facts on the damaging effects of sleep deficiency, what happens when your child becomes overtired, and the long-lasting benefits of healthy sleep rhythms on your child's development and future sleep practices. Each chapter details sleep patterns and rhythms with each stage of development.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“We had problems with my son's sleeping when he was 8-9 months. At that time, he started to move and claw and he wouldn't nap. And, he started to wake at night more often with crying and screaming. His behavior seemed to change downward. So I searched and found Dr. Weissbluth. Now, our son takes 2 naps a day and sleep through the night.”

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Best Book for Raising Boys

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

Price:$17.00

Boys will be boys, and no one knows this better than Dr. Meg Meeker, mother and author of the best-selling Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons. Dr. Meeker pairs her invaluable experience as a pediatrician with scientifically backed research to teach parents how to understand and address the emotional needs of boys. These tools help build character, healthy relationships and communication to support your son's development and self-esteem along with resources required to create a strong foundation for manhood.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Excellent read, a must-read to help raise healthy, well-balanced boys.”

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Best Book for Raising Girls

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

Price:$16.00

Sugar and spice and everything...pink? Not necessarily, says Peggy Orenstein, best-selling author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Orenstein explores the effects of princess preconditioning, having society define femininity and the impact of damaging mixed messages to a young girl's confidence and self-esteem. A must-read for mothers empowering little girls.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Orenstein’s exploration of the worlds that our female youth inhabit really makes you think about HOW our daughters are growing up. What values do we inadvertently push on our daughters by allowing popular media to help us shape them. An awareness of the normative phases is written with wit, sensitivity and the angst that all mothers feel.”

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Best Book for Parents of Multiples

Double Time: How I Survived — and Mostly Thrived — Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins

Price:$19.00

Feeling overwhelmed and outnumbered? Author Jane Roper uses humor and vulnerability in Double Time: How I Survived — and Mostly Thrived — Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins, as she shares her experiences as a guide for parents of multiples. Roper addresses everything from pregnancy to labor and beyond, including a personal struggle with depression and bipolar diagnosis when her twins were just toddlers. Readers of Roper's book will soon realize they’re not alone in navigating the challenging balance of raising two babies.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Double Time acknowledges the inherent challenges that come with twins without complaining. Rather, I felt in solidarity with her descriptions of utter exhaustion, maddening baby battles - and moments of sheer twin joy.”

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Best Book for Communicating with Your Child

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen...And Listen So Kids Will Talk

Price:$27.00

An excellent source for parents looking for ways to effectively communicate with their children to make them feel acknowledged and understood. Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish’s How to Talk So Kids Will Listen...And Listen So Kids Will Talk teaches parents proven methods to actively engage with children so they are heard, respected and supported while encouraging kids to open up and identify their feelings. The book also addresses alternatives to discipline and the best ways to empower the child.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“At first it can seem really ....well... cheesy. But when you actually apply the methods, man oh man is it cool. It feels really great to be able to talk to my kids without yelling. Also they can talk to me much easier.”

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Best Book for Disciplining

1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

Price:$16.00

Nuclear meltdowns and bad behavior can test the limits of every parent's patience. The power behind 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting is Dr. Thomas Phelan's scientifically proven formula for breaking down the parenting job into three categories and offering a reliable counting technique that genuinely works to effectively manage your child's behavior without yelling, spanking or fighting. This award-winning book is an essential tool for parents and grandparents to use to reinforce good behavior in children ages 2 to 12.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This book worked the second I started implementing the 1-2-3 tactics and I don't have to yell anymore! My daughter takes me seriously now! My husband and I don't fight about discipline because he sees this work with very little effort.”

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Best Book for Potty Training

Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right

Price:$17.00

Ready to ditch those diapers for good? "Pied Piper of Poop" Jamie Glowacki provides a proven six-step plan to guide parents into potty training with commitment and consistency in her must-read Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right. Glowacki encourages parents to take the lead to achieve a speedy transition to get little ones to begin using the potty during the day and at night. Parents will appreciate Glowacki's humor to survive toilet training successfully.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“It really gives you useable, easy-to-understand advice to teach your child. I think to be successful with it, as Jamie states several times, you need to commit and have confidence that your child can do this.”

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Best Book for Sibling Rivalry

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

Price:$26.00

Keeping the peace is impossible for parents continually trying to referee an ongoing battle between their kids. In the New York Times best-seller Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish provide valuable tools to fight friction and promote positive relationships and build a solid bond between brothers and sisters.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This book is truly phenomenal. I was riveted. It has helped me tremendously not only with my two children (3 and 1), but with my other family members as well. Problem solving, conflict resolution, listening, and love are all covered in this essential guide to living happily with others.”

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Best Book for Mindful Parenting

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

Price:$20.00

Dr. Shefali believes the key to truly understanding your kid is to honestly know yourself and avoid projecting unresolved personal issues onto your little one. The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children provides guidance and enlightenment to help attune parents to their child’s needs while awakening the awareness of limiting past beliefs and recognizing the resurfacing of old wounds. Staying in the moment while clearing unconscious triggers and ideas helps to form a deeper connection to your child.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I see improvement in my children. I realize that every child is a small reflection of myself. Once I begin to do some deep searching within myself, I begin to understand them more and know how to better help them as they help me also.”

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Best Book for Raising Toddlers

How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success

Price:$17.00

In How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success, Tovah P. Klein refers to the developmental period of a toddler's brain as "lab for later." Klein draws on extensive experience working with toddlers to reveal how much of what littles learn during these formative years shapes the foundation of who they are and how they learn in the future. Viewing the world from your child's perspective rather than your own builds a broader recognition of the child's need for support on their path of accomplishment.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This is not a parenting guide -- it does not teach you how to parent, but it helps you to understand the mindset of your toddlers so that you can better interact with them. I use these principles on a daily basis with my children and do find them to be effective.”

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Best Book for Raising High Achievers

The Formula: Unlocking The Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children

Price:$27.00

What’s the secret to raising smart people? No one knows the answer better than Dr. Ronald Ferguson, Director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative, and award-winning journalist Tatsha Robertson, the authors of The Formula: Unlocking The Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children. Dr. Ferguson and Robertson conducted over 200 in-depth interviews and discovered that parents of high achievers follow the same blueprint, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The key? Active engagement with the child and following eight distinct parenting roles defined as the Master Parent. These roles were revealed as a common thread in all the stories shared by the achievers and their parents featured in the book.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The book covers successful mindsets, such as growth, resilience, grit, mastery orientation and sense of duty, to name a few. The bulk of the book centers on the formula, eight parenting rules with a positive impact on kids. The advice is sound and insightful based on studies and anecdotal evidence.”

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Best Book for Raising a Strong-Willed Child

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two-to Six-Year-Olds

Price:$18.00

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two-to Six-Year-Olds is the ultimate resource for parents having difficulty managing the temperament and behavioral problems of a headstrong child. The book, by Drs. Rex Forehand and Nicholas Long, explains the root of the behavior and contributing factors while addressing how to change it with week-by-week techniques from a clinically-proven program. The book trains parents to ignore insignificant inappropriate behavior, acknowledge positive behaviors with recognition and rewards and issue clear instructions and time outs when necessary.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“A must-read for any first-time parent OR parent of a particularly tough toddler. I read an earlier version when I had my 3rd daughter who was very strong-willed. I have now given this version to her for help with her firstborn who takes after her mom!”