5 Books to Survive the First Year!

Don’t panic! You don’t need to read any of them cover to cover in one sitting and submit a report but each one of them contains invaluable information. Together, I found the combination to be a winning one and the closest I could get to an instruction manual! (Disclaimer: I have not been asked/sponsored/paid to recommend any of these books)

1. What to Expect in the First Year by Heidi Murkoff.
This book gives a great overview of what your baby will be doing month to month. It’s useful to start reading it before your baby arrives.

So, what’s good about it? The best bit of the book? Is each month its says by this month your baby should be doing, could be doing, may even be able to etc … when your baby smashes those milestones you feel such an incredible sense of pride and joy which is validated and confirmed by this book! (When your baby can’t do something listed you simply ignore it!)

What’s bad about it? The book is big and bulky for starters. DO NOT attempt to read it whilst breastfeeding! It could seriously harm your baby. If you are interested in breastfeeding past 12m or baby-led weaning you may want to skip the information included on those subjects. Take the book with a pinch of salt but it does have some useful lists if that’s what you are into!

Not got the time? Check out the What to Expect site

2. Best Friends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Iovine
A hilarious, frank account of what to expect when you become a mother. The whole book is focussed on you rather than your baby; your body, your breasts and your bits!

So, what’s good about it? It’s hilarious! It really is funny! It’s a lighthearted read with a few home truths.

What’s bad about it? It’s a witty read nothing more and nothing less – it doesn’t contain any medical advice or stats – its just a light hearted read for a tired new mummy!

3. Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth 
This book has been my instruction manual to date and I feel it will take me a lot further!

So, what’s good about it? It has all you need to know about getting your baby on to a healthy sleep routine with no tears (or very few). It makes sense, it respects your babies rhythms and does truly result in a happy, healthy child. In just a few pages you will be ready to understand your baby’s needs and be able to respond

What’s bad about it? So far I’ve yet to find fault with this book – perhaps it is a bit wordy in some places but it really is worth the read. The book may look daunting but it really isn’t – just a few pages and you are set for the next few weeks or months depending on the age of your child.

4. Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
This is every parent’s must have book for introducing solids.

So, what’s good about it? It explains simply how BLW is a natural and positive way to introduce solids. It calms even the most nervous of parents into realising that it really is the way to go!

What’s bad about it? I’ve yet to find fault with the book. Maybe the name puts people off – many people have preconceived ideas about what BLW entails. Give this book a read and it will make you a true BLW convert!

Not got the time? Check out the amazing BLW blog for real life experiences!

5. Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh
The Elimination Communication (EC) Bible) A must read for anyone who is interested in understanding the natural rhythms of their babies elimination needs … i.e pee and poop!

So, what’s good about it? Filled with real life experiences of other ECing parents, this book tells you how and WHY you should be ECing. Dispelling the myth that babies should be in diapers for years, this book helps you understand how you can EC your baby full-time, part time or occasionally.

What’s bad about it? Maybe the name? Many feel that ECing involves a lifetime of staring at your baby waiting for them to pee which is not the case. The book is a non-starter for many parents who have a preconceived idea of what it entails.

Not got the time? Check out my posts on easy how to’s on ECing

So that’s my top 5 … what are yours?

15 thoughts on “5 Books to Survive the First Year!

  1. allykat

    I second “What to Expect the First Year” and “Baby Led Weaning”. Not such a fan of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”, though. I also found these really helpful: Dr. Sears’ “The Baby Book”, “The Science of Parenting”, “The Wonder Weeks”, and “Happiest Baby on the Block”.

  2. mummyinprovence Post author

    What did you not like about Happy Sleep Habits? Would love to hear your feedback? Would you recommend the other books for now considering BiP is *gulp* almost 11months?

    1. allykat

      Re: Healthy Sleep Habits, I rented it from the library twice: once while pregnant with DS and once when DS was about 2 months old. I’m not a proponent of sleep training or CIO, so the recommendations didn’t fit for me. Re: the other books, probably the only one that would still be applicable would be The Science of Parenting. It covers a whole spectrum of parenting issues beyond just the first year.

      1. mummyinprovence Post author

        I’ve never heard of The Science of Parenting – I am off to check it out!

        (BTW we don’t “Cry it Out” (CIO), I liked HSHHC because it gave you options to avoid CIO)

        1. allykat

          Re: HSHHC, I have to admit I didn’t read the whole thing, just the intro and the chapter that was for my DS’s age at the time. My impression was it suggested sleep training, but maybe I should check it out again if it only suggests it as an option. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Mamatha

    Thanks for the list MiP. I love “The womanly art of breast-feeding”. A must-read for expectant and BFing moms.

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      I must get The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – I have heard great things about it!

  4. Diane H.

    Strongly second the comment about “Happiest Baby on the Block”. Being able to do a proper swaddle was so important as a brand new mom. There is a DVD also that is more visual and shorter if you don’t have the time.

    I personally LOVED “Happy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child”, as a new mom, particularly the information about how typical sleep patterns evolve from new babies to 4-months old etc. It really helped me to recognize when it was time to drop a nap vs. make sure they had the opportunity to nap more by pushing the time back vs. moving bedtime up, etc. (the crankiness was the same no matter what the problem was).

    What I didn’t like about HSHHC was all the case studies and preachiness – like the idea that helping your child learn how to sleep was something you needed to be convinced to do. I skimmed all those parts. And once my kids were at the one-nap-a-day stage I found the advice stopped working for us.

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Thanks Diane, its great to hear from a mum who has older kids that the method we are using works. I, like you, skim through bits that don’t ring true or irritate me. I’ve never followed any of these books (or anything for the matter) to the letter. I think it’s important that you pick and choose what works for you and go with it

  5. Piglet in France

    Great! Thanks for these suggestions! I had just got some French books which were given to me and had bought some others online but they weren’t very inpiring to me! There are so many baby books out there and as a first time mom I have/had no idea what to read so these recommendations are great! I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Let me know what you think of them Piglet!

  6. Marcy

    I read Hralthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child when my first son was a baby. I was not abig fan of the book…. I felt like it gave very little instructions on what to do if 1) your baby didn’t simply drift off to sleep when set down “drowsy but awake” and 2) simply shutting the door till morning wasn’t ok with me (maybe I missed something but I don’t remembered much useful advice that fit between the2 extremes) It probably didn’t help that he didn’t follow the sleep schedule/timeline the book assumes of all babies (eg- he didn’t settle into a 3-nap-a-day routine till 1yr).

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      I found the book interesting and useful, I’ve never read the whole thing – I just read the bits that are relevant to the stage we are at and then re-read it etc … I found it useful but I have to admit that BiP has always been easy to soothe and settle so I can’t comment on anything other than my own experience.

      I’ve heard people didn’t like it but I am wondering if it’s because they read it in one go …

  7. Stef

    I love Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child! I think there is some excellent information to glean from it as well as plenty of other sleep books. I also use The SleepEasy Solution by Waldburger and Spivack and The Baby Sleep Solution by Suzy Giordano, because every baby I meet is different, especially when it comes to sleep!
    Stef (the nanny from askananny.com)

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Thanks Stef – yes, I love HSHHC … I’ll have to check out the ones you recommended too!


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