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11 Books for Every Stage of Parenting

Updated: May 31, 2023

Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding journeys that anyone can embark on. As a parent, you want to make sure you're doing everything you can to provide the best possible guidance and support for your child at every stage of their development.

That's why we've put together a list of 11 must-read books for every stage of parenting, as suggested by our community.

Whether you're a new parent looking for guidance on navigating the first few years of your child's life or a seasoned veteran hoping to sharpen your skills, this list has something for everyone.

So grab a cup of tea, settle in, and let's dive into these must-read parenting books!


The Positive Birth Book - Milli Hill

"Whether you plan to have your baby in hospital, in a birth centre, at home or by elective caesarean, this essential, non-judgemental guide shows you how to raise your expectations and have the best possible birth experience."

Expecting Better - Emily Oster

"Expecting Better overturns standard recommendations for alcohol, caffeine, sushi, bed rest and induction, while putting in context the blanket guidelines for fetal testing, weight gain, risks of pregnancy over the age of 35, and nausea, among others.

Oster offers the real-world advice one would never get at the doctor's office. Knowing that the health of your baby is paramount, readers can know more and worry less. Having the numbers is a tremendous relief - and so is the occasional glass of wine."

Life After Birth - Kate Figes

"New motherhood changes everything. Few women are prepared for the radical shifts in identity, emotional intensity and relations with friends, family and the father of their child...Kate Figes draws on medical and historical research, the invention of 'good' motherhood as well as personal testimony to reassure new mothers everywhere that they are not only normal if they find things difficult, but also doing fine."

The Equal Parent - Paul Morgan-Bentley

"Lying awake one night after struggling to put his new-born son back to sleep, Paul Morgan-Bentley found himself desperately scrolling for parenting advice for new fathers. Soon, Paul picked up on a reoccurring narrative – compared to mums, dads were useless.

Frustrated by this generalisation and determined every parent should have an equal role in raising their child, Paul decided this narrative needed to change. In this deeply personal experience of fatherhood and parenting alongside his husband, Paul delves into what it really means to share the parental load, and how you can achieve it."

I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids - Trisha Ashworth + Amy Nobile

"Scratch the surface of the Super Mom and you may find someone who isn't even sure she can get through the day, let alone "do it all." Or at least that's what Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile felt. Curious, they began asking other mothers and found that after twenty minutes of touting the joys of motherhood, moms would inevitably admit that they were stressed out, exhausted, and depressed that their child's first word was "Shrek.""

I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids - Trisha Ashworth + Amy Nobile

"They dole out ridiculously honest advice, like what you think you need at the hospital when you have your first baby (lip gloss) versus what you actually need (hemorrhoid pillow), and how worried you should really be about germs (less than you are). Fearless crusaders against the perfection myth and all the gluten-free, sugar-free baking it entails, Cat and Nat assure you that you're already doing a great job, making this an essential companion for moms everywhere."

Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts -  Karen Kleiman

"Lighthearted yet serious, warm yet not sugary, and perfectly portioned for busy moms with full plates, Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts is the go-to resource for moms, partners, and families everywhere who need help with this difficult period."

The Fifth Trimester - Lauren Smith Brody

"Whether you’re in the final stages of pregnancy or hitting the panic button on your last day of leave, The Fifth Trimester is your one-stop shop for the honest, funny, and comforting tips, to-do lists, and take-charge strategies you’ll need to embrace your new identity as a working parent and set yourself up for success."

Crib Sheet - Emily Oster

"Parenting is full of decisions, nearly all of which can be agonized over. There is an abundance of often-conflicting advice hurled at you from doctors, family, friends, and strangers on the internet. But the benefits of these choices can be overstated, and the trade-offs can be profound. How do you make your own best decision? Armed with the data, Oster finds that the conventional wisdom doesn't always hold up."

The Work / Parent Switch - Anita Cleare

"Most working parents feel like we are running just to stand still. We want to be good parents. We want to get parenting ‘right’. We do everything we can to smooth our children’s paths and give them a good start in life. But we have limited time, limited energy and too much to do. Something has to give.

The Work/Parent Switch moves the goalposts. It’s about being a great parent by doing less, rather than always trying to do more."

Fair Play - Eve Rodsky

"If we don't learn to rebalance our home life and reclaim some time to develop the skills and passions that keep us unique, then we risk losing our right to be interesting, not just to our partner, but to ourselves. Getting this right isn't a luxury, it's a necessity for a happy, lasting partnership."


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