Required: Minimum of 2 general reference books, 1 first aid guide
Highly Recommended: 1-2 books on sleep and baby routines, 2 books on child development
Recommended: 1 book on breastfeeding advice if relevant, 1-2 books on weaning with recipes included
Optional: 1 book on natural parenting
New parents are presented with the task of feeding, cleaning, comforting and keeping safe from danger and ill health an entirely helpless newborn and then bringing that baby safely through to the toddler years and beyond. These are enormous responsibilities that require lots of new skills and gathering of information, especially if your baby or toddler experiences problems in any way. It is critical to have a couple of baby care guides as well as a first aid manual to help you deal with problems and find advice whenever needed – from nutritionists, breastfeeding technicians, neonatal physicians, paediatricians, child behaviourists and more. We would also highly recommend a couple of books on child development that is more geared towards older children, but will still provide re-assurance that your baby is developing appropriately physically, mentally, emotionally, and linguistically from birth.
Buying books in other categories is more optional, but almost every parent we know experiences problem with baby’s sleep in some way so this is another area in which we would highly recommend having at least one baby care guide to hand. Once baby starts weaning, you will also want a book or two of simple puree and starter food recipes.
What to Expect The First Year, Your Babycare Bible, and Your Baby Week by Week are all highly recommended resources that cover everything you need to know for baby’s first year – telling you what is considered “normal” in terms of monthly growth, physical development and mental development, feeding, sleeping, general care and more. They cover practical areas such as how to give baby a bath and decode your baby’s crying while offering up-to-date medical advice on vaccinations, vitamins, illnesses, SIDS, and safety. They are usefully read chronologically, but are also a great resource for troubleshooting common problems you encounter.
For those interested in introducing structure and routine to baby’s eating and sleeping, Gina Ford’s “Contented Baby” range of books is highly recommended, although some parents find her too rigid. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer takes a more laid back approach and is highly recommended for a more relaxed approach to parenting with an emphasis on a parenting plan geared towards the type of baby you have and the type of parents you are.
A First Aid manual designed for babies and children is a must-have for any home with young children, telling you how to deal with everything from minor cuts and burns to meningitis and asthma attacks. For additional information, please see our guide on baby first aid essentials you should have in your home before baby arrives.
Breastfeeding is thought to have benefits for your baby in protecting them from infections and disease later in life, and is the only food 100% naturally designed for baby. It is also practical and promotes bonding, but it is not straightforward for many women. This selection of breastfeeding guides will help you to breastfeed your baby successfully – telling you how to prepare, what to expect in the early stages, how long and how often baby should breastfeed, demonstrating techniques and helping you overcome common problems such as sore nipples and mastitis. Crux Baby highly, highly recommendsWhat to Expect When You’re Breastfeeding…And What If You Can’t? – it is an enormously helpful resource for both women breastfeeding and women who can’t breastfeed and feel a failure because of it. Please see our post on Breast is Best, but It Isn’t Always Easy for more practical and balanced information on breastfeeding.
Sleep, or the lack thereof for both baby and parents, is the overwhelming problem that many parents face in baby’s first year – despite the fact that sleep is critical for baby’s mental development and parents’ sanity. The books on baby sleep and routines in this section help you understand how your baby’s sleep patterns change at different ages, and offer practical guidance on avoiding over stimulation, regulating day time sleep, and establishing the right sleep associations from an early age. They also offer troubleshooting advice for common night-time sleep problems such as hunger, dummy dependency, teething, nightmares, and colic. The aim of these books is to get your baby sleeping through the night at an early age – we highly recommend buying one before your baby is born, but they are useful even if your baby has developed a severe sleep problem that you need to solve later in life.
Gina Ford’s range of books is highly recommended for parents looking to structure baby’s eating and sleeping patterns, but some parents find her too rigid. Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer takes a more laid back approach and is highly recommended for those with a more relaxed approach to parenting and a routine tailored to the type of baby you have and type of parents you are.
These books provide information on your child’s physical, emotional and behavioural development touching on sleep patterns, early communication, toilet training, play and learning, cognitive development and signs of developmental delay, childcare, health issues, and safety – all while emphasising the importance of touch, laughter and physical play in building emotional well-being for life. They help you understand why your child acts the way they do and how to develop his or her potential to the fullest. The best ones such as offer scientific research alongside practical strategies for effectively dealing with tantrums, tears and developmental delays. Our favourites include What Every Parent Needs to Know, Nurtureshock, The Wonder Weeks, and Baby’s First Skills.
Baby weaning books offer advice on transitioning your baby from milk to solids at approximately six months of age. Weaning books explain which foods to start with, which types of food are appropriate at each age, which foods are nutritionally best and which should be avoided. Books on weaning describe the appropriate cooking methods, the importance of changing texture & temperature, and how to freeze foods in addition to offering recipes of highly nutritious meals and snacks for every stage. Annabel Karmel’s books are the most widely known and used, but there are several other good options.
This selection of books is for parents interested in pursuing a natural childbirth and a natural, more gentle approach to bonding with baby, breastfeeding, infant sleep, baby-led weaning and self care for mothers. There is also advice on pursuing a healthier lifestyle and home through organic, eco-friendly living. Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company is an extremely popular eco-friendly baby company in the United States at present and her book The Honest Life is worth reading if you are interested in natural, eco friendly parenting.