Getting Beyond What to Expect: Great Books for New Moms and Pregnant Ladies

pregnant mama reading

I didn’t even try to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting because I’d heard how fear inducing of a book it was (If you eat any soft cheese, your baby might die!). And honestly, you don’t really need a book anymore for advice on how-tos since we have the internet (as long as you know how to decipher credible sources). I needed books for companionship, laughter, and guidance. Here are what I consider the best books for a new or pregnant mom:

1. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott

If you have a friend that’s having a baby soon, you must give them this book as a gift. It saved my life. It is written in short snippets, which I read while nursing or pumping, and Lamott is so raw and honest and funny. You feel like your best friend is going through early motherhood with you and not holding back any of the gruesome and beautiful details. A must read.

2. It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong

If you or anyone you know is suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety, this is a great companion. Heather somehow writes hilariously about her struggle with postpartum depression.

3. Expecting Better by Emily Oster. I wish I hadn’t read any how-to books or terrifying Babycenter articles. Oster gives you all the facts, statistics, and research studies on everything from eating deli meat while pregnant or nipple stimulation to induce labor. She doesn’t offer her opinion, but she does offer tons of research in a concise and easy-to-read book.

4. Baby 411: While I did find this book a little preachy and conventional, it is an easy, go-to guide for quick answers. When you have only had two hours of sleep in the last 24 hours, you can still make sense of this book. The glossary and table of contents are just really user friendly.

5. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman: This is kind of like a parenting book/travel book. Druckerman is an American journalist raising her children in Paris. She contrasts the French styles of parenting with American. It’s just interesting and a little bit of an escape from pure, boring parenting advice. Did you know almost all French children sleep through the night by three months?

I wear berets and sleep through the night.

I wear berets and sleep through the night.

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