Little Bookshelf: 5 Parenting Books I actually read (and used)


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There are many parenting books out there, even more blogs, and thousands of people willing to give you advice. Let me add to that! Just kidding. I’ve been a mom for eight years, and I started before mommy blogs were huge. I read books and magazines, and I talked to a lot of people. I ignored most of it. These five books are part of my parenting arsenal that in eight years, I have read and actually used these books, most of them repeatedly.

Parenting Books I Actually Used

The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins

If you only read one book before, during, or after your pregnancy, this should be it. I was a reluctant breastfeeder, and with the advice and help in this book, I have successfully nursed four children. This book contains not only the basic how-to’s of breastfeeding but also helpful advice. For me, the best part was how she broke it down into time frames, the first week, the first six weeks, etc., telling you what to expect both from your body and from baby and the common problems that arise. I have given it to all my girlfriends when they had babies. It’s still on my shelf; dog eared and marked where it will stay until I need to wean my last one. It may actually be harder for me to part with than the baby name books.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp

This book was one of those books that I grabbed from the library in desperation when I had a newborn and just wanted to sleep.  Happiest Baby was the only one I finished, the only one I actually tried, and the only one I gave to my husband and said, you must read this. His 5 S’s were a sanity saver that got my babies to sleep. I have used them to varying degrees on all my children. {To convince you that I’m just not joining the choir of Karp lovers, I found his Happiest Toddler on the block to be a stretch and couldn’t finish it. }

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth

This book was another one of the books that every parent I meet talked about in a love it or hate sort of way. For us, it worked and was super helpful with our firstborn. It helped us feel better about his sleep and get onto a nap schedule and routine that worked for our whole family. To this day, my first is our best sleeper. However, we did not pull this out as often with subsequent kids. Dr. Weissbluth does not do a good job addressing siblings or their schedules and the disruption that causes. While we had internalized some of the information, like sleep cues and a rough time frame for naps. Once you have multiple children, it’s near impossible to follow anything other than a “wing it” schedule with naps.

Your Baby’s First Year By the American Academy of Pediatrics

Admittedly this didn’t get used a lot. However, I found it way more useful than Dr. Google when my kids were sick. I could get information that I needed from a reputable source, and I didn’t have to dig for it or get a lot of other advice. It’s great for quick answers like when to call the doctor for a fever and necessary information about vaccines, weight gain, and development.

This title is the newest book on my parenting shelf. Despite the title, it’s not really about weaning per se but about introducing solid foods. While I followed my doctor’s advice and started at four months with my first, I pushed each child after that farther and farther back. When my third was six months old, I had some friends on Twitter talking about using this method, and I bought the book. My Aunt jokes that this is nothing new and how she feed her 2, 3, and the fourth child simply because it was easiest! I have to admit I agree! With this method, you skip the jars/pouches of purees and let the baby eat with what you are eating. With a busy family, this has been perfect. I’m sure it’s related, but the toddler we did this on is the best eater in our family, hoping for the same with number four, who just started.

So those are mine. As we are inching ever closer to the tween years, I feel I need to get some bigger kid books to test out. Do you have recommendations?

What are your favorite parenting books that you read and used? Please leave it in the comments!

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Little Bookshelf: 5 Parenting Books I actually read (and used)
About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

1 Comment

  1. I highly recommend “parenting with love and logic”. I have pulled it out and read it again now that my daughter is no longer a toddler. I feel that I can use different ideas from the book as she grows, some actually work on your husband too :)! It’s also a short and direct read. As a parent it’s often hard to weed through the fluff in parenting books but in this one you get right to the point and get behavior snags solved quick!

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