Adulting is hard all on its own, but tack on a baby, and there are days when being a grown-up will seem downright impossible. Sure, you can ask friends, family, your pediatrician and even Internet strangers for advice on how to tackle every parenting problem thrown your way, but parenting books might be the smarter route to take.
That’s because for just nearly all of the baby-related issues you’re dealing with— sleep solutions, picky eating, potty training and definitely discipline—there are parenting books to bolster you with the knowledge you need. And while the advice other individuals give may be helpful, parenting books allow you to understand solutions based on facts and expert advice, all sans judgement.
Best Parenting Books
New parenting books hit the shelves every week, so it can be hard to know which to turn to. Here are the best of the best, the books that have stood the test of time. Build your collection of parenting books with this list, and you’ll be sure to turn to these bestsellers again and again.
5 Top Parenting Books (of All Time!)
Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock, MD, amazon.com
Perfecting parenting: Topping our list of parenting books is one considered to be the American bible of child rearing. In print for seven decades and updated to cover topics more revalent today—think child obesity, immunizations, environmental health and alternative family structures—this trusted companion guide is considered one of the best parenting books out there, a must-have for any well-stocked mom-to-be’s bookshelf.
The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN, amazon.com
Perfecting parenting: There are differing strategies on how best to raise your child, and this attachment parenting book explores how to do so by developing a nurturing connection between parent and child. Covered are the six “Baby Bs” for which attachment parenting is best known: birth bonding, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, bedding close to baby, belief in the language value of baby’s cry and being aware of baby trainers.
Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby's First Year: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too! by the baby experts at Mayo Clinic, amazon.com
Perfecting parenting: Bringing home a brand new baby can be scary business, but stashing this parenting book on your shelf is like having expert pediatricians (not to mention experienced parents!) on your couch to answer all your parenting questions—even at 2 a.m. Topics covered including caring for your baby, handling illnesses, and baby’s development, complete with month-by-month growth charts.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, MD, and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, amazon.com
Perfecting parenting: This pioneering book, created by a neuropsychiatrist and a parenting expert, takes a scientific approach to parenting by addressing the steps to foster healthy brain development. If the brain science stuff sounds intimidating, rest assured that everything is written for the “lay parent” in easy to understand language.This is a practical and straightforward guide toward growing calmer, happier kids while tackling daily parenting struggles.
Cherish the First Six Weeks: A Plan That Creates Calm, Confident Parents and a Happy, Secure Baby by Helen Moon, amazon.com
Perfecting parenting: Instead of feeling nervous and anxious in those crucial first six weeks of your newborn’s life, turn to one of the few parenting books offering a step-by-step plan to establish a routine that allows baby to feel less fussy, and mom and dad to feel less stressed.
Just because you and your spouse no longer living in the same house doesn’t mean your children can’t be raised by both parents. Compromise may not have worked when you and your partner were together, but these co-parenting books can show you how to make it possible now that you’ve split.
The Co-Parents' Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted, Resilient, and Resourceful Kids in a Two-Home Family From Little Ones to Young Adults by Karen Bonnell with Kristin Little, amazon.com
Parenting book to bridge the break: A split is challenging for the whole family—not just the couple parting. This read tops our list of co-parenting books because guides both adults and children through the transition process. When children start asking the tough questions, this parenting book helps you find the words you need.
Co-Parenting Works!: Helping Your Children Thrive after Divorce by Tammy Daughtry, amazon.com
Parenting book to bridge the break: It’s easy for kids to get lost in the shuffle of divorce-related changes. We added this read to our must-have co-parenting books because it places the emphasis on your child’s needs during this tumultuous period. Topics include helping your child feel at home in two different locations, how to integrate life with step-parents, building up your child’s self-esteem to combat anxiety and understanding how actions today may affect your child in the future.
Best Books for New Parents
When you’re a new parent, the learning curve is steep. Lucky for you, you’re not alone. Parenting experts have your back with the best books for new parents to lead you through the often-rough journey that lies ahead.
Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster Cline, MD, and Jim Fay, amazon.com
Raising good parents: If you’re seeking an owner’s manual book on raising your children to be responsible and ready for the real world one day, this is it. Focused on temperament and child development, this parenting book helps you lay groundwork for strategies that will teach your kid responsibility and build character, without the anger, nagging or bribery.
The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary, PhD, amazon.com
Raising good parents: Based on the idea that children mirror their parents, this conscious parenting book helps parents raise their children best by developing the parent first. It’s a mindful approach to parenting that can lead to less struggles and a more balanced child, as well as family dynamic.
The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp, MD, amazon.com
Raising good parents: A calm baby usually means a happy baby, which is why this book has been one of the most popular of the new parenting books. Thousands of parents have learned to rely on the soothing and sleep solutions created by Harvey Karp, MD. This new edition parenting book includes updated takes on infant sleep, bed sharing, swaddling, breastfeeding and SIDS risk.
Parenting Books for Moms
Your maternal instincts may have set in, but just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you have all the answers. Whether it’s how to deal with your postpartum highs and lows, tips for dealing with a fussy baby or pointers for how to stay sane through the mommy drama, these parenting books for mom can lend a hand.
Whoa, Baby!: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the !$& Just Happened)* by Kelly Rowland and Tristan Bickman, MD, with Laura Moser, amazon.com
Momlife: Your body went through the wringer during pregnancy, and now that baby’s here, you barely recognize yourself. After former Destiny Child’s member Kelly Rowland gave birth to her son, she had a lot of questions about everything from her boobs to bleeding to getting busy again. She teamed up with her ob-gyn to answer them all and the result is a funny tell-all read topping our list of parenting books for moms.
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman, amazon.com
Momlife: Do the French do it better? Apparently! Written by an American journalist raising a baby in Paris, this parenting book shares the French secrets to getting baby to sleep through the night earlier, play solo sooner and become a more adventurous eater.
The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity by Meg Meeker, MD, amazon.com
Momlife: Mom’s got her priorities, like baby, career and spouse, of course. Which means that her needs usually come last. But they shouldn’t. This parenting book helps you put the focus back on yourself by developing ten healthy habits that will keep you healthy and happy.
Parenting Books for Dads
As a first-time dad, you may feel like you’re fumbling through a minefield of Lego booby traps and diapers that just won’t stay dry. Before you decide to drink away the parenting pain, thumb through these parenting books for dads to help forge ahead with raising your new family.
The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year by Armin A. Brott, amazon.com
Get mad dad skills: When life feels turned upside down after bringing home your new baby, this guide, which tops our parenting books for dad list, lends a helping hand. While the book boasts a great sense of humor, it’s still down-to-earth, offering real information about what you, your spouse and baby are all going through month to month.
Be Prepared by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden, amazon.com
Get mad dad skills: We love the survival manual approach this parenting book for dads takes. While some books give you the basics, this guide digs further into real-life situations—you know, like changing diapers in crowded stadiums, staying awake on the job after multiple sleepless nights and how to MacGyver a diaper out of found objects.
The New Dad's Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice for First-Time Fathers by Scott Mactavish, amazon.com
Get mad dad skills: If you dry heave whenever your baby spits up or needs a diaper change, this no-nonsense but hilarious military-style guide will help you toughen up while transitioning from average joe to new dad boss.
Funny Parenting Books
When your life seems like nothing but toddler tantrums, exploding diapers, bribing babies with candy and so on, sometimes all you can do is laugh—or cry. To avoid the latter, grab a pint of ice cream and settle in with these funny parenting books to have the laugh you rightfully deserve (and need!).
The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby's First Year by Dawn Dais, amazon.com
Forget #parentinggoals: Feel like you’re raising a tiny terror? You’re definitely not alone, and this gem on our funny parenting books list will remind you of all the ways this parenting thing is bound to go wrong. This sarcastic take on parenthood will save your sanity when your baby is driving you bonkers.
Sh-tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, amazon.com
Forget #parentinggoals: Wise words here, and plenty of them. This funny parenting guide was written by four moms who have seen it all—and not just the blessed occasions people like to associate with parenthood. This laugh-out-loud parenting book lowers the standard on raising children to help you feel better about the “sh*tty” job you may be doing (and reminds you that you’re not alone!).
Naptime Is the New Happy Hour: And Other Ways Toddlers Turn Your Life Upside Down by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, amazon.com
Forget #parentinggoals: When you’re ready to stop taking parenting so seriously (even if it’s just for a brief moment), turn the pages of this comedian-turned-first-mom’s guide. Her biting wit will reel you in, but the helpful tips and worthy advice will keep you coming back for more.
Parenting from the ground up is hard enough. But when you add the word step to the word parent, it’s a whole new ball game.The mom and dad dynamic is different, making it not always a sometimes tough transition for you or the children. Be ready to tackle any situations with these stepparenting books that show you how.
But I'm NOT a Wicked Stepmother!: Secrets of Successful Blended Families by Kathi Lipp and Carol Boley, amazon.com
Bringing up stepbabies: Raising your own children is hard, but raising the children of others (especially when their birth moms are raising them, too) can turn you into an intruding outsider in a child’s life. While stepmothers are often seen negatively in movies, this faith-based book can smooth the path when blending families.
Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family by Susan Wisdom, LPC and Jennifer Green, amazon.com
Bringing up stepbabies: Of all the step-parenting books, we especially like this one for encouraging step-parents to take an active role in raising their step-children. So often step-parents are asked to take a backseat, but with its active co-parenting style, this book strengthens the bond between adult and child to create a healthy and happy home life.
Toddler Parenting Books
Before you know it, baby will be laughing, talking and taking his first steps, becoming a full-on toddler! And while this stage is super-fun, it can also present a whole new host of challenges. Think taming tantrums, tripping over toys you just put away minutes ago and training your little one to use the potty. Before you let your toddler take over, pick up some tips and tricks from these toddler parenting books.
No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, amazon.com
Surviving the “two-nado”: If you liked the scientific approach to parenting in the Whole-Brain Child, this follow-up for toddlers and older children may be just the parenting book you need to raise a responsible and respectful child. Taming tantrums without trauma (for parent or kid)? Sign us up!
How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life With Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King, amazon.com
Surviving the “two-nado”: Communication is key in any relationship, but if your little one won’t listen—or communicate with you—it makes the toddler stage that much more difficult. Through cartoons, stories and sample discussions, this parenting book equips you with tips and tools to positively transform toddler parenting by speaking your kid’s language.
Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right by Jamie Glowacki, amazon.com
Surviving the “two-nado”: We can’t cover toddler parenting books without recommending potty training books for parents. While the incentive of not shelling out constant cash for diapers may be your reward, getting your toddler on board is no easy feat. This parenting book shows you how to get it done right quickly the first time with a proven six-step process. Plus online resources provide extra support for potty-pooped parents.
Autism Books for Parents
Finding out your child is autistic can be devastating for a parent and leave you not knowing what to do next. Your goal is to help your child lead the most independent and happiest life possible, but because every child with autism is different, it can be frustrating to rely solely on the advice of other parents. That’s where these autism books for parents can help.
Autism With HEART: A Guide for Parents with Newly Diagnosed Kids by Katherine Kanaaneh, amazon.com
Meeting child and parents’ special needs: An autism diagnosis carries with it a strong lack of control. This books focuses on what to do to improve the life of not only the autistic child but also the parents of an autistic child. Through strategies, routines-building and sage advice, readers will find relief during a time that feels more chaotic than it may need to be.
Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm, amazon.com
Meeting child and parents’ special needs: Instead of breaking down the everyday needs of children on the spectrum, this guide on our autism books for parents list approaches autism from a broader level, helping you understand autism and the concepts and treatments that may lead to a better understanding of autistic child.
ADHD Books for Parents
There are already plenty of challenges with parenting, but when your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), those challenges can be heightened. Turn to these ADHD books for parents for tips on how best to adapt and change your home life to help your ADHD-diagnosed child be the best he can be.
Mindful Parenting for ADHD: A Guide to Cultivating Calm, Reducing Stress, and Helping Children Thrive by Mark Bertin, MD, amazon.com
Creating a calmer home: Mindfulness isn’t just for the yoga mat. Unlike many other ADHD books for parents, this guide shows how a mindfulness practice can be a powerful tool in helping children with ADHD and the parents raising them.
Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child With ADHD by Penny Williams, amazon.com
Creating a calmer home: This parenting book offers a firsthand depiction of a parent’s perspective while raising a child with ADHD. This is not your typical parenting book, offering step-by-step, how-to information. Instead this memoir-style parenting book takes you on one mother’s journey, allowing you to see what real life is like with an ADHD child, the challenges and hardships that come with it and the steps the author takes to move in a more positive direction.