Admittedly, I may or may not have gone a little overboard on the pregnancy book purchases, but here’s the deal: I want to be prepared, and most of all, I want to quench my thirst for BOTH knowledge and perspective when it comes to motherhood.
There’s something truly special and comforting about sitting down with a good book, especially when we’re overwhelmed with social media, pregnancy apps and all of the unsolicited advice you seem to get from just about anyone you meet (even if they don’t have kids). Perhaps you’ll find this list helpful, as I know these books have provided me with endless insights and wisdom when it comes to preparing my body and mind for what is and what’s to come.
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin: this is for those looking to have an unmedicated, natural birth. It’s full of knowledge from a midwife with over 30 years of experience and includes information on what to expect, how to avoid unnecessary intervention during birth and how to incorporate and use a mind-body connection.
- Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman: this book is fascinating and refreshing to read about an outside perspective that isn’t Americanized. Written like a story, I felt myself turning each page quickly, eager to learn more about the French style of parenting.
- Mamaste by Lori Bregman: this book was introduced to me by my friend, new mama and yoga instructor Mar. I love how this books takes you through different parenting styles and helps guide you with various perspectives on how you may need to find balance in what you lack. Great gift for baby showers!
- Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes: OH MY GOODNESS this book is amazing. It helps to put all the advice you’re getting into perspective as it examines the culture behind pregnancy and childbirth. Truly a must read for first time mamas.
- The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou, Amely Greeven & Marisa Belger: I’ve been seeing this all over Instagram and I just had to purchase. I haven’t fully immersed myself into the book, but the gist is that it’s a guide to nourishing your body and mind after pregnancy. It talks about how modern mothers are often quickly forced back to work instead of being allowed to embrace the new life changes with baby. There’s also amazing healing recipes and snacks to help nourish mothers. I’m enjoying it so far.
- Cribsheet by Emily Oster: not so much a pregnancy book, but more of a guide to parenting that’s based on evidence. It’s interesting, informative and helps YOU guide your own parenting choices the way that feels best to you.
- The Mama Natural: Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth by Genevieve Howland: this book was really helpful for me, especially in the beginning of my pregnancy. It’s geared towards women who prefer unmedicated births, but there’s wisdom for everyone, including what questions to ask your doctor, what to ask the hospital, timelines and so much more. I love it!
BONUS! Expecting You Pregnancy Journal: not a pregnancy book but still so fun to fill out and document on your journey. Enjoy!
I wanna know, if you’re expecting or if you’re already a mama, what books are you reading or did you read and enjoy? Let me know by leaving a comment below. xo!
Hi there. I haven’t seen some of those books before and may have a look at the library for a browse.
I am presently on pregnancy #3 over in Ohio. A few words of advice… I read about 6 books my first time (in the Netherlands) and then ended up donating them the second time (in the UK). It is good to be informed of things. But, be flexible and kind to yourself as you navigate this adventure. Almost nothing went to plan for me the first time and I was so frustrated. ‘But, this book says..!’ The second time was a little easier, thankfully. I have discovered that there is a huge range of ‘normal’ in pregnancy, parenting and a child’s behavior. Oh, and if you can, stock up on healthy snacks and have a month of healthy meals in a chest freezer for the first month. It is hard to maintain healthy eating in those early days.
Becoming a parent has been one of the most humbling but awesome experiences in my life. Excited for you two!
Hi Alecia! I think we also have to remember that just as each pregnancy is unique, so are we as humans. It’s okay to have a thirst for knowledge when birth is unknown to you, and frankly quite normal. No amount of advice can truly prepare you for what’s to come until you are there. 🙂
This is actually really great advice for new and old parents. Well said. 🙂
Your post today made me laugh so hard – because I can so relate to you, it’s like I wrote it!! The only difference is I have three children, but during my first pregnancy, I read everything there was out there that I could get my hands on…I can, to this day, recite blurbs out of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The only chapter I really didn’t touch was the C-section chapter….lo and behold, I had three of them! It really taught me to expect the unexpected and not one of my children was a textbook baby.
I still, to this day, read everything I can get my hands on – knowledge is power, isn’t it? It lessons the anxiety so much.. and that, topped with a great paediatrician, made my life soooo much easier. Being a mom is absolutely the best job ever. Enjoy this time…
Hi Jessie! Haha love this. Knowledge definitely is power and congrats on being an awesome mama! 🙂
Hi! I also read bringing up Bebe when my first was a baby and I loved it. Now she’s 7 and we’ve added two more boys to the mix and I’m reading There is no such thing as bad weather. It’s by a lady from Sweden living in Indiana and it’s all about getting your kids outside now matter the weather! I wish I would have read it sooner! Especially with you living in Chicago people will scare you into thinking it’s too cold in the winter for you to take your baby for a walk, but she talks about how with appropriate clothing it’s beneficial to them! And they sleep better! I could rant for days about getting the kids outside but I’ll stop now! ANYWAYS! Big fan of your page! Congrats!
Thanks Molly! I’ll have to check it out 🙂
Love this! We are expecting our first as well (due in November!) and I have suddenly become an avid patron of the local library. I am currently reading “On Becoming Babywise” (an oldie but goodie on getting your babe to sleep through the night, yes please) and “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids”, and my mom just sent me “Bringing Up Boys” which I have just cracked open but it has a lot of promise! Thank goodness for husbands and books because I know nothing about the inner workings of a little boy 😆 Or a big boy for that matter.
Real food for pregnancy by lily Nichols is hands down my favorite nutrition book!
I have two kiddos. Didn’t read a single book except one that a dear friend said was crucial to my existence as a mother:
“Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.”
Best advice ever. It’s the book that keeps on giving. My oldest is 7 and my baby is 4 and I STILL reference it all the time. It’s excellent. Can’t recommend it enough.
Congratulations on your little one! I just had my second baby late September. Loved Emily Oster’s books. If you are interested in having an unmedicated birth in the hospital, then I highly recommend Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel. The recommendations helped so much in my situation!
thank you so much! 🙂
I loved the Ina May and Mama Natural book!! First Forty Days was intriguing (and I purchased too) but didn’t resonate that much with me. I have Bringing up Bebe but have yet to read it (and my baby is now 15 months). I’d like to read it still
Totally worth the read 🙂
I love these suggestions but please read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
I highly recommend! It helped me survive motherhood so far