Wednesday, May 23, 2012

first birthday week: best books for new moms

To continue this week-long celebration of Lorelei's first birthday, I thought I'd share my list of must-have books for new moms:

The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins: a no-nonsense guide to all of the nitty-gritty about breastfeeding. This book has been my constant companion for the past twelve months -- it's the best resource I came across for everything from initial latch-on to starting solids to lancing a plugged milk duct (yikes!).

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott: I could have written this, if I could write like Anne Lamott. Captures the emotions of the first year of motherhood perfectly. Read my full review here.

The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher, MD: a book all about creating a solid, loving family environment in a world where feuding families are cheap and easy fodder for primetime TV. Read my full review here.

Your Baby's First Year: AAP-approved advice, milestone charts, lots of good parenting basics. Nothing too new or fancy, but a good solid resource to have around.

Great With Child by Beth Ann Fennelly: warm, inspirational, honest account of motherhood. Read my full review here.

I Love You, Mouse by John Graham: out of print, but a wonderful bedtime story that surpasses Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You, in my opinion. The Tomie dePaola drawings are darling.

You might have noticed I'm not recommending any sleep books. I've read at least a dozen (not hyperbole), and none of them are a perfect fit for my baby. There are many parents who will tell you "This book will get your baby sleeping through the night in two days!" and I'm sure that is true for their baby, but not necessarily for yours. I'd advise borrowing sleep books from friends and/or the library until you hit on one that works for you -- and then buy it once you've decided it's worth its weight in gold!

I'd also suggest investing in an e-reader and a subscription to for those long hours of nursing, or rocking, or pacing the floor with your newborn in arms.


  1. Too true about the sleep books. I was talking to a mommy-friend yesterday, and told her that I'm about to throw mine out the window because we're still getting up 3ish times a night. I'm sure I'll long for that in about 15 years when I can't pry him out of bed, but until then...

  2. This is such a great list! I haven't read any of them but I want to. I completely agree about sleep books. Read at least five and while they helped us understand infant sleep patterns/needs, none of the actual application fit for us. We are just hoping that they sleep by age two ;) That second picture of her reclining with her book is stinkin' cute.