How to pick out the few books to read from the endless list of pregnancy and parenting books.
There are endless mummy book resources when it comes to fertility, pregnancy, labour preparation and parenthood.
The hard part is deciding which ones you will actually have time to read and which will give you the best bang-for-your-buck without overwhelming you.
I’ve found there is a balance between knowing so much that you are unwilling to be flexible with your birth and parenting plans versus having no control or idea of what will happen when the inevitable time comes (planned or emergency options). The middle ground lies in being able to pay attention to your family’s needs in the moment and using your resources to make well-educated decisions.
At MummyCare, we’ve identified the top book resources in each stage of mummyhood with a brief description of what each book has to offer. Highlight the ones that you feel with offer you the most supportive information in the areas that you might be worried or uncertain about.
NOTE: Try not to only choose books that already align with your birth/ parenting vision and perspective. It’s always healthy to challenge your current way of thinking to have a well-rounded view of how mummyhood can be. Remember, there is very few black-and-white circumstances when it comes to parenting.
I recommend reading no more than 3 books on labour prep and dealing with labour pains. It’s easy to focus on the labour portion while pregnant, but remember that parenthood is a disproportionately longer period of time than pregnancy and labour combined.
My top 3 labour prep books were:
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – a wonderful resource with lots of anecdotal stories at the beginning
- Hypnobirthing – my planned style of dealing with the intensity of labour
- Birthing From Withing – the extensive explanation of people’s artwork was not for me, but there were great nuggets in between
Alison (aka Mummy G)
Best Mummy Book Resources
Best FERTILITY Mummy Books
- FAVORITE FERTILITY MUMMY BOOK:
Infertility Cure (by Randine Lewis) – Infertility affects one out of six couples today. Dr. Lewis presents a groundbreaking alternative approach to infertility, explaining how she used traditional Chinese medicine to treat her own infertility, successfully conceiving and giving birth to two children.
- Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine, 2e (by Jane Lyttleton) – Clinically focused, the book begins by covering all the essential fundamentals you will need to understand and treat infertility. Jane Lyttleton importantly devotes a large part of the book to discussing ways in which Chinese medicine and Western medicine might work together to overcome infertility, and details the increased experience over the past decade in working with IVF patients and understanding of conditions such as Polycystic ovarian syndrome and immune infertility.
- Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (by Susan Weed) – Simple, safe herbal remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. A confirmed favorite with pregnant women, midwives, childbirth educators, and new parents. Packed with clear, comforting, and superbly helpful information.
- The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy & Childbirth (by Debra Betts) – In this beautifully-designed clinical textbook, acupuncturist Debra Betts draws on more than 15 years of experience specializing in the use of acupuncture during pregnancy and childbirth.
- Essential Guide to Women’s Herbal Medicine (by Dr. Cyndi Gilbert, ND) – Gilbert provides clear information on herbal medicine treatments that meet the distinctive needs of women. There are 25 topics covered, from anemia and Dysmenorrhea to pregnancy, menopause and endometriosis. A complete profile for 49 herbs is featured with the corresponding condition or ailment it treats along with an easy-to-follow protocol.
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health (by Toni Weschler) – Toni Weschler has taught a whole new generation of women how to become pregnant, avoid pregnancy naturally and gain better control of their gynecological and sexual health by taking just a couple minutes a day using the proven Fertility Awareness Method.
- It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF (by Rebecca Fett) – Based on a comprehensive investigation of a vast array of scientific research, It Starts with the Egg reveals a groundbreaking new approach for improving egg quality and fertility.
- Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for Your Fertility Journey (by Mary Wong) – Pathways to Pregnancy is a collection of wide-ranging and relatable stories, shared by an expert who also knows first-hand the pain and joy of the fertility journey from her own experience. Through their stories, Mary explains the central principles of fertility treatment by both Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and Western doctors.
Best PREGNANCY Mummy Books
- FAVORITE PREGNANCY MUMMY BOOK:
The Natural Pregnancy Book: Your Complete Guide to a Safe, Organic Pregnancy and Childbirth with Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices (by Aviva Romm) – A classic handbook for women seeking a safe, organic, eco-friendly, and natural pregnancy, featuring an integrative-based approach with new medical, herbal, and nutritional information.
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (by Penny Simkin PT, Janet Whalley RN IBCLC) – This book covers all aspects of childbearing, from conception through early infancy, and tells you what to expect. It offers detailed information, suggestions on decisions to make, and advice on steps to take to have a safe and satisfying experience.
- Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong–and What You Really Need to Know (by Emily Oster) – Pregnancy—unquestionably one of the most profound, meaningful experiences of adulthood—can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. Moms-to-be desperately want a resource that empowers them to make their own right choices.
- The Mother Of All Pregnancy Books (by Ann Douglas) – The ultimate guide to conception, birth, and everything in between. Unlike those other bossy, tell-you-what-to-do pregnancy books, this funny, entertaining guide presents expectant parents with all the facts they need to know about conception, birth, and everything in between.
- Transformation Through Birth: A Woman’s Guide (by Mary Miller) – Readers are given a glimpse of how protecting the integrity of birth, beginning on a personal level with our own peace of mind, may help bring about more positive, conscious birthing for everyone – Midwifery Today.
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting (by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel) – Must-have information, advice, insight, and tips for a new generation of moms and dads. With What to Expect’s trademark warmth, empathy, and humor, it answers every conceivable question expecting parents could have, including dozens of new ones based on the ever-changing pregnancy and birthing practices and choices they face.
Best LABOUR Mummy Books
- FAVORITE LABOUR MUMMY BOOK:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (by Ina May Gaskin) – What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you. Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience.
- The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (by Dr. William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears) – Prepare for a safe and joyful birth-with the help of America’s foremost baby and childcare experts Since women enjoy more birthing options today than ever before, the path toward a safe and satisfying birth can be fraught with important decisions.
- From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent (by Rebecca Odes, Ceridwen Morris) – Drawing on the experiences of hundreds of real parents and the expertise of doctors, midwives and other birth and baby pros, this indispensable resource is filled with the most accurate and up-to-date information about having and caring for a baby.
- Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (by Pam England, Rob Horowitz) – Here is a holistic approach to childbirth that examines this profound rite-of-passage not as a medical event but as an act of self-discovery. Exercises and activities such as journal writing, meditation, and painting will help mothers analyze their thoughts and face their fears during pregnancy.
- The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (by Penny Simkin) – The Birth Partner remains the definitive guide for preparing to help a woman through childbirth and the essential manual to have at hand during the event: Preparing for labor and knowing when it has begun; Normal labor and how to help the woman every step of the way; Epidurals and other medications for labor; Non-drug techniques for easing labor pain; Cesarean birth and complications that may require it; Breastfeeding and newborn care; And much more.
- The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth (by Marshall Klaus, John Kennell, Phyllis Klaus) – For an entire generation of new parents, this warm, expert work has become the standard guide to the shortest, easiest, and healthiest childbirth. Now a thoroughly updated and revised edition offers new research showing how labor support reduces the rate of cesarean sections, length of labor, need for pain medicine, and number of episiotomies.
- Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth (by Grantly Dick-Read) – In an age where birth has often been overtaken by obstetrics, Dr Dick-Read’s philosophy is still as fresh and relevant as it was when he originally wrote this book. He unpicks every possible root cause of western woman’s fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and does so with overwhelming heart and empathy.
- Hypnobirthing: The natural approach to safer, easier, more comfortable birthing ( ) – HypnoBirthing helps women to become empowered by developing an awareness of the instinctive birthing capability of their bodies. It greatly reduces the pain of labor and childbirth; frequently eliminates the need for drugs; reduces the need for caesarian surgery or other doctor-controlled birth interventions; and it also shortens birthing and recovery time, allowing for better and earlier bonding with the baby, which has been proven to be vital to the mother-child bond.
Best POSTPARTUM Mummy Books
- FAVORITE POSTPARTUM MUMMY BOOK:
Natural Health after Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness (by Aviva Romm) – Provides essential advice for adjusting to the many challenges facing women during the first year after giving birth.
- Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth: The New Mom’s Guide to Navigating the Fourth Trimester (by Dr. Jolene Brighten, ND) – You’ve meticulously poured over decisions to make your baby’s transition into this world just right. But how much thought and planning have gone into your transition into motherhood? In this comprehensive and warmhearted guide, Dr. Jolene Brighten, ND and mother, shares her tips, natural techniques, and over 30 herbal and nutritional recipes to support healing and the transition into motherhood.
- The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solving Guide to Breastfeeding (by Jack Newman, Teresa Pitman) – In this comprehensive guide, Dr. Jack Newman, a leading authority on infant care, and Teresa Pitman, a La Leche League leader for more than twenty years, give you the facts about breastfeeding and provide solutions for the common problems that arise.
- Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding: From the Nation’s Leading Midwife (by Ina May Gaskin) – Everything you need to know to make breastfeeding a joyful, natural, and richly fulfilling experience for both you and your baby.
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – La Leche League (by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West) – It’s no secret that breastfeeding is the normal, healthy way to nourish and nurture your baby. Dedicated to supporting nursing and expectant mothers, the internationally respected La Leche League has set the standard for educating and empowering mothers in this natural art for generations.
- Life After Birth: What Even Your Friends Won’t Tell You About Motherhood (by Kate Figes, Jean Zimmerman) – Life After Birth doesn’t cloak the truth in pastel colors, but explores the actual physical, psychological and emotional consequences of giving birth. Through extensive research and interviews, Figes tackles the tough realities of a new mother’s life. What she discovered can help a new parent face some of the most difficult decisions she’ll ever have to make.
- And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives (by John Gottman Phd, Julie Schwartz Gottman) – Having a baby is a joyous experience, but even the best relationships are strained during the transition from duo to trio. In And Baby Makes Three Love Lab™ experts John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman teach couples the skills from their successful workshops, so partners can avoid the pitfalls of parenthood.
Best PARENTING Books
- FAVORITE PARENTING BOOK:
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (by Jennifer Senior) – Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior now asks: what are the effects of children on their parents?
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting (by Dr Laura Markham) – Based on the latest research on brain development and extensive clinical experience with parents, Dr. Laura Markham’s approach is as simple as it is effective. Her message: Fostering emotional connection with your child creates real and lasting change.
- Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child (by Shauna Shapiro PhD, Chris White MD) – Raising happy, compassionate, and responsible children requires both love and limits. In Mindful Discipline, internationally recognized mindfulness expert Shauna Shapiro and pediatrician Chris White weave together ancient wisdom and modern science to provide new perspectives on parenting and discipline.
- No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame (by Janet Lansbury) – No Bad Kids is a collection of Janet’s most popular and widely read articles pertaining to common toddler behaviors and how respectful parenting practices can be applied to benefit both parents and children. It covers such common topics as punishment, cooperation, boundaries, testing, tantrums, hitting, and more.
- Baby’s Best Chance: Parents’ Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care (Ministry of Health publications) – A free PDF resource that will help you during your pregnancy and prepare you for the birth of your baby, and the first six months of your baby’s life.
- Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (by Pamela Druckerman) – The runaway New York Times bestseller that shows American parents the secrets behind France’s amazingly well-behaved children.
- The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children (by Dr. Shefali Tsabary) – In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, children serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness.
- Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers (by Gordon Neufeld, Gabor Mate MD) – International authority on child development Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., joins forces with bestselling author Gabor Maté, M.D., to tackle one of the most disturbing trends of our time: Children today looking to their peers for direction—their values, identity, and codes of behavior.
- The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother (by Heng Ou of MotherBees) – Based on author Heng Ou’s own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi, a set period of “confinement,” in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby, The First Forty Days revives the lost art of caring for the mother after birth.
Best PEDIATRIC Books
- FAVORITE PEDIATRIC BOOK:
The Happiest Baby on the Block (by Harvey Karp) – In perhaps the most important parenting book of the decade, Dr. Harvey Karp reveals an extraordinary treasure sought by parents for centuries—an automatic “off-switch” for their baby’s crying.
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (by Marc Weissbluth M.D.) – The perennial favorite for parents who want to get their kids to sleep with ease. Dr. Marc Weissbluth, one of the country’s leading pediatricians, overhauls his groundbreaking approach to solving and preventing your children’s sleep problems, from infancy through adolescence.
- The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program: Follow Your Child’s Natural Sleep Rhythms for Better Nights and Naps (by Polly Moore Ph.D.) – For every parent who struggles with their baby’s sleep (and for every parent who wishes their toddler had better sleep habits), finally a straightforward, all-natural solution to help baby get the sleep she needs—both through the night and during the day.
- Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby (by Tracy Hogg, Melinda Blau) – When Tracy Hogg’s Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was first published, it soared onto bestseller lists across the country. Parents everywhere became “whisperers” to their newborns, amazed that they could actually communicate with their baby within weeks of their child’s birth.
- The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health-from Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years (by Dr. Paul Thomas) – In The Vaccine-Friendly Plan, Paul Thomas, M.D., presents his proven approach to building immunity: a new protocol that limits a child’s exposure to aluminum, mercury, and other neurotoxins while building overall good health.
- What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Children’s Vaccinations (by Stephanie Cave MD) – This is an essential guide for parents about vaccinations. Dr. Stephanie Cave explains their pros and cons and the book provides information to help parents make a knowledgeable, responsible choice about vaccinating their children.
- Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History (by Suzanne Humphries MD) – Not too long ago, lethal infections were feared in the Western world. Since that time, many countries have undergone a transformation from disease cesspools to much safer, healthier habitats.
- Childhood Vaccinations: Answers to Your Questions (by Katia Bailetti, ND) – Few issues can cause such widespread confusion—and even panic—as vaccination. Childhood Vaccinations provides parents with clear answers to their questions regarding childhood vaccines. Bailetti puts fears to rest with up-to-date and reliable information about safety, side effects, and efficacy.
- Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies (by Neil Z. Miller) – Many people sincerely believe that all vaccines are safe, adverse reactions are rare, and no peer-reviewed scientific studies exist showing that vaccines can cause harm. This book ― Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies ― provides the other side of the story that is not commonly told.
- Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five (by John Medina) – In his New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina showed us how our brains really work—and why we ought to redesign our workplaces and schools. Now, in Brain Rules for Baby, he shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five.
- Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child (by Janet Zand, Robert Rountree, Rachel Walton) – Written by a naturopathic physician, a medical doctor, and a pediatric nurse, this unique book gives parents easy access to current information and advice regarding their children’s health and acts as a bridge between time-honored healing systems and mainstream medicine.
- Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health (by Aviva Jill Romm) – Committed to finding natural ways to care for their children, many parents seek techniques that do not require the invasive procedures and medications often associated with Western medicine. Midwife and herbalist Aviva Romm offers a comprehensive handbook that addresses the common health issues of children, from newborns to preadolescents.
- The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (by Dr. William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears) – A practical, contemporary approach to parenting that reflects the way we live today. Focusing on the essential needs of babies–eating, sleeping, development, health, and comfort–it addresses the questions of greatest concern to parents.
- Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too (by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish) – This wise, groundbreaking book gives parents the practical tools they need to cope with conflict, encourage cooperation, reduce competition, and make it possible for children to experience the joys of their special relationship.
Other Great Mummy Book Resources
- Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (by Michael T. Murray, Joseph Pizzorno) – The most comprehensive and practical guide available to the extraordinary healing powers of natural medicine. Murray and Pizzorno present an evidence-based approach to wellness, based on firm scientific findings.
- Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness (by Tori Hudson, ND) – In Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, naturopathic physician Tori Hudson shows you how to safely and effectively combine conventional and natural medicine to maintain health and address specific medical conditions.
- Smart Medicine for Healthier Living: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments (by Janet Zand, James B. LaValle) – Written by a medical doctor, a naturopath, and a registered pharmacist, Smart Medicine for Healthier Living is a complete A-to-Z guide to the most common disorders and their treatments, using both alternative care and conventional medicine.
- Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year (by Cassandra Vieten) – From hormones to stretch marks, labor pains to diaper changes, motherhood is an adventure like none other. The rapid changes in your body, your lifestyle, and your very identity call for a certain mental agility. Mindfulness can help you meet the challenge and approach every experience with your new baby with open eyes and an open heart.
- Principles and Practices of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine (by Kerry Bone, Simon Mills) – Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy covers all major aspects of herbal medicine from fundamental concepts, traditional use and scientific research through to safety, effective dosage and clinical applications. Written by herbal practitioners with active experience in clinical practice, education, manufacturing and research, the textbook is both practical and evidence based.
- Obstetrics and Gynecology at a Glance (by Errol R. Norwitz, John O. Schorge) – This comprehensively updated new edition provides a thorough and dynamically-illustrated overview of the female reproductive organs, care of the female during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. It is clinically relevant, with a focus on diagnosing, managing and treating disorders and abnormalities and is fully aligned with medical school curricula.
- After Birth (by Elisa Albert) – A widely acclaimed young writer’s fierce new novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high stakes a proving ground as any combat zone.
- You Can Heal Your Life (by Louise L. Hay) – Louise Hay, bestselling author, is an internationally known leader in the self-help field. Her key message is: “If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed.”
- Messages from the Body: Their Psychological Meaning (by Michael J. Lincoln Ph.D. FKA Narayan-Singh Khalsa) – Messages From The Body is more than a PDR from the Homeopathy Field. Illnesses and disorders are linked to beliefs and changes of beliefs about oneself, about the nature of one’s relationships with others, about one’s position in the social world, and about where one stands in relation to the Universe.
- Constant Craving: What Your Food Cravings Mean and How to Overcome Them (by Doreen Virtue) – Each food craving actually corresponds to a specific underlying emotion; so once you understand the meaning behind your particular craving and apply the information and affirmations within these pages, you’ll be able to heal your cycle of emotional overeating.
- Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (by Sue Johnson) – Heralded by the New York Times and Time magazine as the couple therapy with the highest rate of success, Emotionally Focused Therapy works because it views the love relationship as an attachment bond.
And don’t forget to bookmark The 83 Best Mummy Websites For 2017.