Essential books for every new parent

Got a baby on the way? Mumsnetters share their favourite books for pregnancy and beyond, from the least patronising parenting guides to downright silly and uplifting reads

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First-Time Parent - Lucy Atkins

"If you're after solid advice without the preaching, this is an excellent resource. Like a lot of things, parenting is something you learn by doing, but practical, essential information, conveyed in an adult-to-adult tone, is invaluable. It's also set out very clearly with no waffle - she gets to the point quickly and is never the slightest bit patronising, just reassuring and wise." 

The Expectant Dad's Survival Guide - Rob Kemp

"I found The Expectant Dad's Survival Guide really useful and non-patronising. Many of the others on offer seemed to be the useless 'Wahey! Blokey bloke' type, but the Survival Guide was actually useful throughout my other half's pregnancy and also useful on practical things like picking car seats, pushchairs etc."

"Your Baby Week by Week is great. It was invaluable for me in the first couple of months."

"There are a couple of pages on each week about what to expect in terms of crying/sleeping/feeding etc. It's not a parenting guide, it just tells you what to expect that particular week."

"It was very accurate for my daughter and very reassuring about what was normal and when various phases were likely to end."

Nobody Told Me - Hollie McNish

"If anyone is looking to buy a pregnancy or parenting book, they should get this instead as it's much more realistic and definitely more entertaining."

"Anybody who has had or intends to have children should be given the chance to read it."

What Mothers Do - Naomi Stadlen

"Brilliant. Doesn't tell you what to do, but focuses on how fabulous and underrated we are."

"Highly recommend What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen which helps you get your head around some of the more unexpected emotional changes that come with motherhood."

"What Mothers Do (especially when it looks like nothing) by Naomi Stadlen should be required reading for every new mother."

Go the F*ck to Sleep - Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cort├ęs

"Hugely accurate and hilarious!"

"I absolutely love Go the F*ck to Sleep (especially when read by Samuel L. Jackson) and am very much looking forward to the sequel, You Have to F***ing Eat. Modern classics but maybe not for the very young."

Your Baby and Child - Penelope Leach

"Sensible advice arranged in developmental order, lovely pictures of real families, and a real sense of love for both babies and parents throughout." 

"Originally published in the 70s or thereabouts. It has been updated since then. Penelope Leach is fairly non-prescriptive and gives mostly the sort of common sense advice you'd want from your own mum, but without the judgement or agenda."

The Quick Guide to Parenting - Laura Quick

"Beautifully drawn, honest and hilarious illustrated guide to the everyday life of a parent."

How Not to Be the Perfect Mother - Libby Purves

"Not patronising or over-prescriptive, it's great anti-guilt stuff with some top time-saving tips and shortcuts."

"I love this book and re-read it regularly as I come up against different problems! Required reading. It basically espouses the 'benign neglect' school of parenting but the most important thing it gave me was that most of it just doesn't matter - the baby will still be fine. And he was, and is." 

The Mum and The Dad - Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris

"It has a very nostalgic feel as it is written and presented in the style of the old Ladybird books of your schooldays yet contains wry (and very apt, I must say) observations of motherhood which are, in some cases, very witty indeed. A nice little book to keep on your coffee table or give as a stocking filler-type gift." 

Babies - The Mumsnet Guide

"It has kept me company and in stitches through many a long night feeding!! Practical and honest. It's a good read and a far cry from the other regimented baby books."


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Last updated: 3 months ago