If you’re packing for a babymoon before your first child arrives, or your newborn is already here and you’re starting to dream about that first family vacation to Disney World, you may want to pick up or download some reading material that helps prepare you for this exciting new chapter in your life. Here are our picks for the best books for expecting parents and new parents.
Best Books for Expecting Moms
1. 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
When you’re pregnant with your first baby, there are a zillion things you need to know. Luckily, author Jill Krause, a mom of four and founder of the award-winning blog Baby Rabies, compiled the 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide. Filled with actionable, proactive tips that will boost your confidence and let you check off a bunch of pre-mommy tasks from your ever-growing list, this honest book divides action steps by trimester. Krause compiles information from OB-GYNs, midwives and other moms, focusing only on useful things to know, such as how to use technology to track, document and learn about your pregnancy, figuring out how much money you need to save to purchase big-ticket items, and how to talk to your boss about who will cover your work during your upcoming maternity leave.
2. Drinking for Two: Nutritious Mocktails for the Mom-To-Be
You’re probably having some odd food cravings, but are you getting the essential nutrients you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy? In Drinking for Two: Nutritious Mocktails for the Mom-To-Be, you’ll find 45+ yummy, plant-based recipes packed with whole foods and antioxidants, perfect for health-conscious pregnant and new moms. The two authors, Diana Licalzi and Kerry Criss, are registered dietitians, and some of their mocktails help alleviate common pregnancy symptoms like nausea and swelling. Choose from easy-to-make warm comfort drinks, bubbly concoctions or after-dinner treats. Many are also gluten-free.
3. The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People
Who says books about getting ready for motherhood have to be super serious? We think you’ll be needing a sense of humor once you become a parent, so you’ll definitely want to have some fun with The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People. This hilarious activity book by Jordan Reid and Erin Williams is packed with irreverent quizzes like “Which $1,500 stroller is different?”, bad baby names, witty mazes—one is called Make It From Your Desk to the Bathroom Without Throwing Up—fill-in-the-blanks, journaling and coloring pages (you’ll love the constipated kitten), and 40 weeks’ worth of laugh-out-loud musings about the realities of being pregnant.
Best Books for First Time and New Moms
4. Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work.
Those first few months of motherhood can feel like a blur, and before you know it, you’re heading back to work, which can seem totally overwhelming. Luckily, author Jessica Shortall wants to help with her book Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work. This, funny yet practical volume tells new moms everything they need to know about working while also nursing baby. From how to negotiate a pumping schedule with your co-workers to handling business travel, Shortall provides the perfect roadmap for stressed-out moms, plus loads of moral support.
5. Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood
Sometimes, what you really need between changing diapers, never sleeping and wondering when you last showered is a bunch of girlfriends to trade war stories with. That’s why every mother needs Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood. High school BFFs Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer—who are cult figures in their native Canada and also in several other countries—have built a huge following of “let’s get real” moms who share tales from the trenches. Cat and Nat share handy tips about everything from how to dodge post-partum sex to never eating chicken wings right after giving birth (who knew?). You’ll laugh and cry along with their stories about the joys, stress, guilt and laundry involved in being a mom.
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6. Mom Life: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book
For those oh-so-rare times when a new mom has a moment to herself, this is the perfect book. Mom Life: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book is the kind of guilty pleasure you can lock yourself in the bathroom with (don’t forget your colored pencils) as you indulge your creative side. Funny and fun at the same time, it’s a great way to relax and also makes a perfect baby shower gift.
Best Books for Expecting Dads
7. The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be
Best-selling author, broadcaster and father of three Armin Brott is a trusted voice when it comes to navigating the crazy world of new fatherhood. His book The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be, now in its fourth updated edition, is packed with wisdom from leading researchers, obstetricians and hundreds of other dads. It provides a month-by-month look at your partner’s pregnancy, plus advice on how to support the mother of your child, prepare for your baby’s arrival and manage to also take care of yourself. The book also gives an overview on everything from what to expect at birthing classes to how to save for college. There are also new sections about adoption, infertility and military parents. Bonus: there are tons of sweet cartoons throughout.
8. We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook
Having a comedy background is probably a great asset when you’re preparing to become a father. That’s why comedy booking agent and film executive Adrian Kulp’s book We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook is a must-read. His blog-turned-memoir Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-Home Dad makes him somewhat of an expert who is happy to discuss designing a birth plan, navigating pregnancy without fear and how to be the ideal partner. The book includes a dad-to-be datebook, tips on creating family goals, bonding with your baby and everything else you need to know about daddy daycare.
Best Books for New Dads
9. New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life
When only a sports metaphor will help explain the mysteries of parenthood, dads will want to reach for New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life.
Filled with honest advice about navigating the first few crazy-making months and years as a parent, this book puts fatherhood in perspective by offering a game plan to navigate the unknown territory parenthood brings. From pre-season (when your partner is pregnant) to Super Bowl (the birth) to post-season (after you’ve brought your infant home), this book helps men understand what their partners are feeling, and how to support them. Written by Super Bowl champion and father of five Benjamin Watson, this book helps dads move from winging it to winning it.
10. Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Surviving the First Two Years
In this sequel to From Dude to Dad, author Chris Pegula takes fathers to round two: the first few years of parenting, that is, with Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Surviving the First Two Years. Using humorous anecdotes to discuss fatherhood on the front lines, Pegula offers practical advice about bonding, babyproofing, toddler tantrums and your sometimes-frustrating post-parent sex life. He offers lessons he learned, plus practical advice for fathers of young children in a gentle, yet funny voice.
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Montreal-based Wendy Helfenbaum is a journalist, content strategist and TV producer who writes for dozens of digital and print magazines, as well as many brands. Wendy loves cruising, adventure travel and venturing off the beaten path with her husband and teenage son, and she can pack a carry-on bag like nobody’s business. Follow her @WendyHelfenbaum.