by Lori Ann

I learn by reading, so when I knew I was going to become a Mama, I started scouring the library shelves. Virtually, anyway (we don’t have public libraries here nor books in English): I asked Mamas I knew and Mamas online what resources were most useful to them. When we returned to the U.S. for Tigger’s homebirth, I had a list of my “most wanted” books and found several of them at used bookstores. The others, I used my swagbucks-earned Amazon giftcards to buy as ebooks. A few are still on my wishlist :)

So which books won out as my absolute favorites? Well, Tigger’s just over 9 months, so over time that remains to be seen. But for this first year so far, the following 10 (click “more” to see) are my top picks for parents everywhere. I have this list on Amazon’s listmania as well, so you can always see the updated version (I’ll switch in & out books as I find new favorites) at this link.

Top 10 Parenting Book Picks

  1. The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity by Sally Clarkson
    This Bible study book really helped me understand and love the role God gave me when He allowed me to become “Mama.” Besides reducing insecurities about being ‘just’ a mom, it helped me learn to enjoy each and every moment, and to live in those moments, with Tigger.

  2. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by William & Martha Sears
    This is my #1 go-to resource when something new happens I don’t know how to handle, when Tigger gets injured or shows signs of illness, or when I just want to read up on what she might be going through this month.
  3. The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins
    There are a ton of breastfeeding books out there, but this is the one that happened to be available inexpensively at our used bookstore, so I picked it up and was glad I did. I read it almost daily during the first month or two!

  4. Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving…or Missing Sleep? by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
    For the first 6 months, Tigger seemed to always be too wound up to fall sleep, but we weren’t willing to leave her crying alone in a dark room. Elizabeth Pantley’s “No Cry Sleep Solution” was a good read but nothing in it seemed to actually help. This book, on the other hand, was exactly what we needed to identify and remove her obstacles to sound, healthy sleep.
  5. Sign with Your Baby ASL Kit by W. Joseph Garcia
    We have the Baby Signing Time DVDs too, but since infants under 2 aren’t supposed to have any screen time, we’re saving those for gifts when Tigger’s a little older. I still wanted to use sign language to allow her to communicate earlier (especially since her speech will likely be delayed from growing up in a trilingual environment!), so we thrilled with this baby shower gift from my MIL. It has a book, chart, and DVD — all for the adults.
  6. Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer
    I reduced diaper use by learning how to recognize Tigger’s need-to-go cues and responding by allowing her to pee or poo in the toilet (or a sink, trash bag, etc.) It really is possible, and is the most common way where I live in rural China!

    note: Now out of print, this one’s only available as an ebook but you can use the free Kindle Reader on your computer.

  7. Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley
    We didn’t actually use this book (real-life observations plus info on the author’s website were enough for us) but hear it’s the best resource for the topic. Basically, we introduced solids to Tigger that were the same as what we ate, so no expensive processed baby food, messy kitchen prep, or begging her to eat a funny paste on a spoon.
  8. Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeffrey VanVonderen
    We want our family relationships to reflect God and the ways He treats us, so grace is our goal. This book deals with that in the context of all family relationships, especially how to guide your kids with love, not shame.

  9. Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen
    The word “discipline” makes me think of the word “disciple,” both of which involve teaching, guiding, and leading. Tigger has just begun to frequently need correction, and Baba is way better than me at doing so with an upbeat, fun attitude that is both playful and effective! So this book is on my wishlist.
  10. The Creative Family by Amanda Soule
    What would a list from me be without a craft book!? Actually, though this read does have some great patterns, it’s a good overall resource for enjoying craft, outdoor, and creative play time with your kids.

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