Must-Read Parenting Books for New Parents

Kuleigh Baker

New Mom of Active Toddler

Must-Read Parenting Books for New Parents

Kuleigh Baker

New Mom of Active Toddler

Top 5 Parenting Books in 2020

Every child is different, every parent is different, and every family dynamic is different. When it comes to parenting tips and tricks, what works for one family may not work for you and vice versa. 

To be the best parent possible for your child, trust yourself and your own intuition! Lean into your unique strengths and weaknesses. Let’s face it, even the best parents struggle from time to time. If there’s one thing that being a mom has taught me, it’s that if you’ve experienced something difficult, someone else has too! You are never alone and that is SO reassuring. 

Believe it or not, the only parenting book I read while I was pregnant was the classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I convinced myself that I’d have time to read plenty of books while I was out on maternity leave with a newborn. No surprise here, but that didn’t exactly happen! Once we started getting more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time and I settled into a new routine back at work, I had more time to squeeze in 30 minutes of reading before bed. 

I’ve always been an avid reader but I knew that no parenting book would truly prepare me for motherhood. The advice you’ll get from parenting books can seem overwhelming and conflicting at times. When you’re perusing the Parenting section of your local bookstore, choose books that seem to align with your core values. These are the Top 5 parenting books that have shaped my parenting journey so far:t

1. Parenting Outside the Lines: Forget the Rules, Tap into Your Wisdom, and Connect with Your Child by Meghan Leahy

This is the perfect parenting book for parents who are overwhelmed by parenting advice. Leahy encourages parents to tap into their own intuition when it comes to making decisions that are best for their family. Each chapter is followed by a list of questions to help guide the reader through the internal work that needs to be done by the parent for emotional maturity. The author recognizes that parenting is not one size fits all. Every individual has different emotional needs. Leahy writes with a sense of humor as if she’s talking directly to you as a friend.

If there’s one thing that unites us in motherhood it’s that constant nagging in our heads that somehow we’re doing it wrong. With unsolicited and often conflicting advice coming from our parents, friends, doctors, the media, and online groups it’s easy to feel like every parenting decision we’re faced with is being judged. In their book You’re Doing it Wrong!, Johnson and Quinlan define technical experts vs laypeople and explore how the social construct of the “perfect mother” presented itself in the Victorian era up to the present day. This isn’t a parenting book that sets out to give you advice like you might expect, but rather a history of medical expertise and a study in communication (including a look at more modern forms of communication like through social media). The book is divided into 5 main sections: conception, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and infant care stages. This book is the perfect marriage of research, personal experiences, and interviews. It is well-written, thoughtful, relatable, and most importantly — enjoyable to read! I appreciated how inclusive the writing is. It will surely make you stop to think about the advice you give and the unsolicited advice you receive. We could all be a little more mindful and less judgemental.

3. Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool by Emily Oster

Oster is an economist by trade, and Cribsheet dives into the science of decision-making. She shows how data can help you sort through the conflicting advice that you get from doctors, family, friends, and the internet. When every single parenting decision has its pros and cons, how do you decide what’s best for your family? How do you make the “right” decision? Oster calls it like it is. Most of the decisions new parents are fraught over won’t have the long-term impact we think they will. If you’re stuck feeling like you’re doing this whole parenting thing wrong, Cribsheet will help you reaffirm that you’re doing what’s best for you.

In Achtung Baby, Zaske spells out the main differences she noticed between German and American parenting while raising two young children in Berlin. She is, of course, partial to the German method of parenting that is based in giving children more freedom in an attempt to encourage self-reliance. The author is sure to point out that letting go of parental control is something ALL parents struggle with. Zaske will show you how letting go of the need to be a helicopter parent will allow for more joy and less stress in your family life.

5. The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being by Simone Davies


In The Montessori Toddler, Simon Davies gives a brief introduction to the history and benefits of the Montessori Method. The book is full of practical tips for raising a curious child including simple phrases to shift your mindset to working with your child instead of rushing to punish. This book encompasses everything from discipline to developmentally appropriate ideas for play. It’s also filled with practical examples from real home settings! Each chapter is easy to digest and the charts in the appendix are the most useful parenting resources I’ve ever encountered!

These are the books that you’ll want to keep on your bedside table with a pen and highlighter nearby. They’re books that you will reference for years to come. Even after your worst day, these books will ease your mind and give you the confidence to get up and do it all over again in the morning.

Which book are you planning to read first?