I rounded up 10 books that make great gifts for new moms (or even dads), whether you’re looking to make them laugh, feel all warm and fuzzy, or calm their nerves with some bestselling advice.
When I gave birth to my first daughter, I was completely terrified. I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I knew I would give birth and that it would be somewhat painful and that there would be a tiny person that I had to take care of and teach how to be a good human at the end of it all. That stuff was scary enough on its own, but what about all of the unknowns?!
I grabbed all of the books I could get my hands on and, with a highlighter and notebook at my side (in true nerd fashion), dove right in.
In a lot of ways, it helped me. It let me get a better understanding of the things I could learn about (baby gear, changes to expect in my body, etc), which made things slightly less overwhelming. I just wish that instead of only reading practical books full of tips and facts, I also read from parents in the thick of it. Parents laughing at the absurdity of it all would have helped to take the edge off. Parents writing about their uncertainty would have made me feel less alone.
I try to keep all of this in mind when I talk to new or soon-to-be moms. There are so many things they might need reassurance about. Books come in handy for that and make great gifts for new moms.
That said, try to think a little bit about what they might need reassurance about. Has she been worrying about how she’ll get baby to sleep? Is she so nervous that she’s taking everything too seriously? Does she have that deer in the headlights look that seems to say what the hell did I get myself into?! These are all things to keep in mind before gifting a momma-to-be a book (which, by the way, you should totally pair with a gift to pamper her, like this homemade body butter).
To help you out, I found ten books that get rave reviews and broke them into categories.
10 Books That Make Great Gifts For New Moms
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If you’re looking for a classic parenting book…
What to Expect in the First Year by Heidi Murkoff with Sharon Mazel — A go-to book for many new parents, this guide to baby’s first year is broken down by month to make the experience less overwhelming. It’s filled with tips and advice on everything from crib and sleep safety and baby products to trends and hot-button topics like attachment parenting and green parenting. A practical guide for parents who want to know as much as they can about what the next year will hold.
The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp, MD — Baby expert Dr. Harvey Karp teaches readers his four revolutionary techniques for soothing babies and increasing sleep, arming you with the advice necessary to transform even the fussiest infant into the happiest baby on the block.
If you’re looking for easily digestible parenting tips and tricks…
Parenting: 101 Ways to Rock Your World by Susan G. Groner — Filled with short, easy-to-read and actionable tips for parents of all stages (see photo above), this slim book is like a little pep talk on topics ranging from Rules and Respect to Parenting Golden Rules. It also includes quotes on parenting from famous people.
Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids by Asha Dornfest — Drawing from her website Parent Hacks, Dornfest collected 134 ideas for simplifying life with kids and arranged them by category (from pregnancy & postpartum to sleep, travel and more). Each page is illustrated and includes easy, unconventional solutions to common parenting problems.
If you’re looking to make a new mom laugh…
The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting by Ilana Wiles — The hilarious mom blogger “pays homage to the every-parent” in this collection of essays on motherhood. Also included are lots of photos and infographics meant to make you giggle.
The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year by Dawn Dais — In this book, real parents offer advice as well as hilarious stories, clever tips, and genuine encouragement designed to help new moms survive the first year of parenthood. It cuts through the sugar coating and tells it like it really is.
Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner — Each chapter in this laugh-out-loud funny book presents a common parenting scenario with advice from four moms on how to get through it in the easiest and most efficient way possible. Chapter titles include “How to Sleep Until 9 A.M. Every Weekend” and “When Seeing an Infant Triggers a Mental Illness That Makes You Want to Have Another Baby.”
If you’re looking for beautiful, heartfelt personal narratives…
Homing Instincts by Sarah Menkedick — After spending her twenties traveling the world and always chasing the next big adventure, Menkedick moved into a tiny little cabin on her family’s Ohio farm to start her newest adventure: motherhood. She explores this drastic change, the changes in how she sees herself, and so much more in eight beautiful essays.
The Magic of Motherhood: The Good Stuff, the Hard Stuff, and Everything In Between by Ashlee Gadd — From the writers behind one of my favorite sites full of mothering essays, Coffee + Crumbs, this book was created to “remind you of your identity, both as a woman and as a mother” and to reassure you that you’re not alone in your wildly swinging emotions. It includes essays about identity, adoption, body image, miscarriage, friendship, faith, infertility, and more.
Making Babies: Stumbling Into Motherhood by Anne Enright — Novelist Anne Enright documented the first two years of each of her kids’ lives, capturing the mess and the beauty of motherhood with candor. Moria Hodgson of Wall Street Journal had this to say about it: “[Enright’s] first work of nonfiction, Making Babies is a collection of short essays, some of them stream of consciousness, that move chronologically through the landmarks of motherhood. She writes with brutal candor and irreverence about the things that the feel-good baby books don’t tell you….”
If you know of a book that I missed that would make a great gift for new moms, leave it in the comments!
Want to do more reading about motherhood? Start here:
- Becoming A Mom Terrified Me
- Lessons From a Decade of Motherhood
- This Week I Was a Shitty Mom
- Celeb Moms on Instagram Who Keep It Really Real
- Get an inside peek at the lives of real moms in my Glimpses of Motherhood series.