When I had James, I had no idea that she would help me discover a love for reading. If anyone knows James at all, even a little, you know that she loves reading. Well, becoming her mama has driven me towards books too. Where I am still not reading for fun yet, I have read so many parenting books and blogs and articles that I lose sleep reading sometimes. When I first came home from the hospital with James, I began reading a few parenting books. These books proved to be so helpful that I discarded the advice to sleep when the baby slept, and would stay awake drowning in parenting books.

From these books I have formed my parenting philosophies and learned how to deal with the challenges being a parent presents. These books gave me the tools to parent in ways that resonated with me and the reminders for my priorities. Here are a few of my top parenting books:

Happiest Baby on The Block

I was pregnant with James and headed to get an ultrasound. We had time to kill and I was starving. We stopped to eat at Au Bon Pain. The lady working the counter was kind and friendly. She helped us get our food and we paid. As we were on our way, she sparked up a conversation, as people in the South are known to do. She noticed my pregnant belly and offered unsolicited advice, as most people are known to do with a pregnant woman (and I am clearly doing now). She told me that her daughter had a baby recently and said that her absolute favorite book was, “Happiest Baby on the Block”. I said ok and went my way. I hadn’t thought about that book for months when I read about it again in a mommy blog. It claimed to help your baby sleep. So, I bought the book.

I started to read it days before we had James. She eventually came earthside ten days late and we couldn’t be happier. As the nurse was discharging us from the hospital, we were hesitant to take this baby home by ourselves. With reassurance they kicked us out and wished us the best of luck. Night one came and she slept well. Easy enough. Night two at home, she was screaming and crying if we even thought about putting her down. She could read our minds. Well, not really, but it seemed like it. We swaddled her up nice and tight and she was still screaming.

Then, I remembered the book. Find the book! WE MUST FIND THE BOOK! Book in hand, I quickly flipped to the reference pages featuring the 5 s’s. I don’t think we ever made it to the fifth “s” in all the months we used these brilliant steps. She fell asleep and I read the rest of the book that night. 

I have started reading The Happiest Toddler on the block and so far, it seems just as good as its predecessor. I’ll let you know more when I am finished with it.

Bringing Up Bebe:

I don’t recall who referred me to this book, but whoever you are, you saved my life. Literally. This book is all about French Parenting. I haven’t read this gem in about four years so I have forgotten so many of its principles but the most crucial belief I came out of it with was, I am a woman first. Yes, I am a mom. I am a new mom. This is part of my identity. But, this is not my whole identity. I was a person before I had a baby and I will be a person after the baby. This book gave me the permission to take care of myself. It reminded me that while being a new mom was exciting and shiny and all consuming, to not let it consume all of me. It gave me permission to acknowledge my wants and needs and meet them. I will forever be indebted to this book, for it has given me the foundational philosophy of my parenting, on top of which all other philosophies stand. 

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: 

This book is great for the toddler age. As someone who believes in respectful parenting, this book gives me real tools to use in everyday situations. For a person who is as loud as me, I typically don’t yell at my kids. Frankly, I am more likely to roughly bring her to her room and lock the door than scream. I am not sure why I am like that but I just am. I know a lot of parents more prone to yell, and will never spank their kids, and parents who send their kids to time out with diligence.

No Drama Discipline:

No Drama Discipline helped me a ton in these toddler years. It literally took the drama out of discipline. As someone who was raised in an authoritarian household, and who was trying their best not to repeat that upbringing, I needed to gain an understanding of respectful parenting as well as practical tools to use. I was scared that this book wouldn’t help me with the intense behaviors James was displaying. Hitting, throwing, yelling, spitting. My sister has two boys and she will say she’s never seen a tantrum like a James Elizabeth tantrum. I didn’t think this book or any book would give me real life examples that would actually help. This book went above and beyond. Within the first few pages, I felt like the author knew James and were writing about her. This book changed my life. Truly.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding:

I saved this book for last, because it only applies to families on the breastfeeding journey. If you are not on that journey and are choosing formula, that is perfectly fine and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. We all do the best that we can for our children, and we know what is best for them and us. That said, if you are breastfeeding, this is like the encyclopedia of breastfeeding. It’s like a lactation consultant in a book. When I decided not to pump, it was inspired by this book, and encouraged as well. When James was biting me while feeding, this book gave me all the tips and tricks to make her stop. Whatever breastfeeding question you have, this book answers it. It would save me at 2am when I was confused about something and needed immediate answers. I could not recommend this book strongly enough the breastfeeding families.

Reading has become a huge part of my life since becoming a mom. As someone who tends to read almost exclusively non fiction, it was only natural that I would be consumed by parenting books. In fact, many of the books I am currently reading (list here) are parenting books. These books have made me feel less alone on this parenting journey and have given me the tips and tricks to make the trenches feel a bit more magical.


What parenting books do you swear by? Leave a comment to let me know.


Posted by:Sarah Scott

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