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Parenting Books Worth Reading

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photographed by Lena Corwin

With the plethora of book options available on the subject of becoming a parent and parenthood, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or lost in a sea of Amazon reviews. Luckily, we’ve asked the question “Are there any pregnancy/parenting books you love?” to our profile subjects and their answers hold some great ones. Below we’ve rounded up over 20 of our mama’s lists of reads. Take a look and start adding some of these informative best-sellers to your own bookshelf.

Amy Hirst, mother to 3-year-old son Sonny and 5-month-old daughter Marly.
“With Sonny, I did find The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg helpful at times, I felt a bit out of control and it helped me find a bit of a rhythm. With Marly I’m more confident and to be honest she has to just fit in. I really do think you can get overwhelmed with advice, so you have to follow your own instincts.”

Barret Pendergast, mother to 2-year-old son Costa.
“I haven’t really read any yet! But I did love the Wonder Weeks by Frans X. Plooij and van de Rijt Hetty, especially when Costa is a bit younger. They helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in everything I was experiencing with him.”

Anna Chiu, mother to sons Kai and Taj.
Baby 411 by Ari Brown was a book we found helpful when Kai was born, for times when we were like, ‘Is this normal? What the heck is going on?!’ Sometimes I think the more research I do now, though, the more confusing it gets because there are so many conflicting philosophies: ‘Cry it out, everyone will be healthier and happier!’ ‘Don’t CIO because you will traumatize your child for life!’ At this point, I’m just doing what feels right to me, which honestly can change from moment to moment.”

Kelci Potter, mother to 4-year-old son Sparrow and 7-year-old son Taj.
Parenting From The Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel, The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff, and Beyond The Rainbow Bridge by Barbara J. Patterson.”

Lia Ices, mother to newborn daughter Una Lou.
“Any and all books by Ina May GaskinThe Gentle Birth Method by Gowri Motha, and Mother Mag!”

Mo Clancy, mother to 7-year-old son Magellan.
The Parent’s Tao Te Ching by William Martin.”

Kelly Harris, mother to 3-year-old daughter Lucy Roux and 3-month-old daughter Coco Marie.
Permission to Parent by Robin Berman.”

Katherine Kleveland, mother to 2 1/2-year-old son Shepard and 4-year-old son Wilder.
Baby Knows Best by Deborah Carlisle Solomon.”

Rajni Jacques, mother to newborn son Diego.
“My sister got me the book What To Expect When You Are Expecting. It’s good, but I think I’m slacking. I feel like I should be reading more. I try and stay away from websites because I might go on a message board and drive myself crazy.”

Ana Lerario Geller, mother to 5-year-old daughter Luna, 3-year-old daughter Anis, and 1-year-old daughter Blanca.
“If you asked me that after my first child, I’d tell you a bunch. Now, I see that a lot of things they teach may not work with your kid and then it gets really frustrating and obsessive. Just educate yourself with some basic ones. I like The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg for some things and follow your gut. The Happiest Baby On The Block video by Dr. Harvey Karp is also great. Right now, I’m now reading Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph and it seems like a great one.”

Jesse Chamberlin, mother to 9-year-old son Gracyn and 5-year-old son August.
Milk Magazine, Old School Sark, and Dallas Clayton books.”

Olya Hill, mother to 12-year-old son Nikolay Aiden, 9-year-old daughter Nadezhda Suzanna, 7-year-old daughter Evangelina Margarita, 4-year-old daughter Vasilisa Isabella, 2-year-old daughter Evyianne Zlatoslav, and 5-month-old daughter Elisavetta Sofia.
The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, The Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, How Children Succeed  by Paul Tough, and Einstein Never Used Flash Cards by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek are the few that come to mind.”

Melia Marden, mother to son Alfred Kodak.
“We only read What to Expect The First Year by Heidi Murkoff and a handful of sleep books when we went through a sleep crisis.”

Cheri Messerli, mother to 2-year-old daughter Anouk.
“I love the book Gentle First Year by Dr. Gowri Motha. A good friend lent me this book and it was by far the best book I read. So helpful and so loving.”

Kristin Crawley, mother to 6-year-old son Don and 1-year-old son Luc.
“Books–yes! I just read The Smartest Kid On The Block and The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. I loved both and highly recommend!”

Angela Tafoya, mother to 1-year-old Tallie.
“I have to admit I haven’t read any cover to cover, but The Joy Of Pregnancy by Tori Kropp was a great resource when I wanted to look up something specific. I’m currently reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, and I also picked up Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth from my hospital. I’ve seen one or two movies—both showing the up close and personal elements of birth.”

Harper Poe, mother to 1-year-old son Ever.
“I was given a bunch of books and have only briefly thumbed through The Mother of All Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas. I figure people have been giving birth for a very long time and I most likely won’t absorb the info in all of these books, so I’m counting on using my instincts.”

Molly Guy, mother to 3-year-old daughter Sonny and 1-year-old daughter Coco?
Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon and Blessing For A Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel Ph.D. are pretty great parenting reads.”

Amanda Chantal Bacon, mother to 5-year-old son Rohan.
“Waldorf-educated authors like Rudolph Steiner. I have a stack of spiritual parenting books by my bedside with every intention of reading them, but have not had a second! When I was pregnant, I read every single one of Ina May Gaskin’s books. Parenting inspiration also comes out of a lot of the books I read for myself, such as Living Beautifully by Pema Chodron and Shambhala by Chogyam Trungpa.”

Maura Ambrose, mother to 2-year-old daughter Ada.
“I’ve been inspired by the information we’re learning through the birthing center. It’s been important for me to have a community of expecting mothers to relate to and share with through group meetings, phone calls, and text messages. Ina May Gaskin‘s books are a great source of comfort and inspiration.”

Kristina Meltzer, mother to 6-year-old Dashiell, 4-year-old Forrest, and one more on the way!
“I do love parenting books. I haven’t focused as much on the pregnancy part this time, admittedly. But here are some books I love, some parenting some memoirs, all very applicable: The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott, Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman, and Recipes For A Beautiful Life by Rebecca Barry.”

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