Becoming a parent leads to a lot of questions. How do I get a newborn to sleep through the night? What is the best way to raise kids to grow up as a productive member of society? How do I handle an independent toddler? All these questions and more have been explored by experts. Below is a list of 8 parenting books I love and hope you do too!

Newborn 101

This award-winning book is written by Carole Kramer Arsenault, an RN specializing in obstetrics and maternal health. She goes through everything you need to know during your pregnancy and how to prepare for your baby. Additionally, she goes into expert baby nurse advice for the fourth trimester (baby’s first three months of life). Tamara Jessiman, a certified nurse midwife at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA said, “The stack of books available on breastfeeding, pregnancy, and postpartum can be overwhelming. Carole Arsenault covers all these topics and then some – including prenatal exercise and nutrition, choosing a pediatrician, raising a ‘green baby,’ and more. The Q&A format and highlighted baby care tips make this book fun to read and easy to use.”

The Happiest Kids in the World

I absolutely love the laid back parenting style in this book and being able to learn more about another culture. It is about Dutch parenting through the eyes of two mothers raising their families in the Netherlands, one originally from America and the other from the UK. Authors, Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchinson, see that calm parenting without pressuring children to be number one leads to happy, independent, and successful children. The book doesn’t necessarily give specific advice on parenting, but instead gives research-based facts while explaining Dutch child rearing. It made me think about many scenarios and how I could approach them more calmly with my children.

The Power of Showing Up

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D. are the authors of the New York Times bestselling books, The Whole-Brain Child, as well as, No-Drama Discipline. This parenting book, The Power of Showing Up, discusses how a caregiver’s presence molds a child into who they will become. At a young age a parent’s actions shape how a child’s brain is wired. By reading this book you will learn ways to nurture secure attachment with your child leading to positive personality traits such as confidence, independence, a strong self-esteem, and the ability to share feelings. Michael Thomson, author of Raising Cain encourages parents to read it by saying, “There is parenting magic in this book.”

Operating Instructions

Annie Lamott was already a well-known author when she found herself embarking on the journey of motherhood. She wrote Operating Instructions as a diary of her first year with her son and it is a hilarious and honest look at all the emotions of the first year. Her son is now fully grown and the two of them cowrote a sequel Some Assembly Required, to welcome her grandson and document his first year. This parenting book will make you feel that you are not alone on this whirlwind of a ride through parenting. Lamott helps new parents build confidence and also laugh through the difficult times.

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen

This book is authored by Joanna Faber and Julie King. It targets parents of 2-7 year olds. Many parents who read it say it changed their relationship with their child. It is an easy read explaining how to validate children’s feelings while also encouraging them to cooperate with you. The parenting book offers advice that you can actually follow through with and bullet points to summarize each chapter. Lydia Kiesling was quoted in the New York Times saying, “This parenting book actually made me a better parent.”

Bringing Up Bébé

This parenting book is about the Parisian culture. The author, Pamela Druckerman, is a journalist from America raising her child in Paris and writes in a way that makes you never want to put the book down. This book has many positives, but some parts I disagree with. If we could just pick the best from both worlds and combine them that would be ideal. After all, the more we learn the more knowledge we have to form our own opinions and parenting style that fits our family best. I love that Parisian parents teach manners early and expect children to be respectful. They are strict in a few important areas, but otherwise relaxed. Parisian parents respect the child’s feelings, but still remain in control. “You have the right to be upset with me, but you do not have the right to yell at me.” My favorite piece of advice from Bringing Up Bébé is “Le Pause.” This is the practice of parents waiting a short pause when their baby begins crying (not if in distress), leading to patience at an early age.

Good Inside

Dr. Becky Kennedy, a mom and psychologist wrote this New York Times best seller. She gives easy to follow parenting tips in challenging situations. You will learn to find the right approach to an individual child, as everyone is different. It can be hard to stay calm when dealing with difficult behaviors, but Dr. Becky Kennedy reminds you how to be empathetic and find a positive route to walk down together. The New York Times quoted Eve Rodsky saying, “This book is for any parent who has ever struggled under the substantial weight of caregiving—which is to say, all of us. Good Inside is not only a wise and practical guide to raising resilient, emotionally healthy kids, it’s also a supportive resource for overwhelmed parents who need more compassion and less stress. Dr. Becky is the smart, thoughtful, in-the-trenches parenting expert we’ve been waiting for!”


Emily Oster, the author of the parenting book Cribsheet, is an economist. Due to her background, she takes a very academic approach to the book. Before going into a topic, she starts off by summarizing the studies she has read pertaining to the matter. A few examples are when she discusses what kind of monitoring doctors and midwives may use during labor, developmental milestones, and potty training rewards. She lays out all the data and may even give a personal experience. Then Oster lets you decide what is best for you and your family. The Washington Post states, “Oster repeats her ingeniously simple formula with Cribsheet: taking conventional wisdom and diving into the research behind it, often showing that “the studies” are thin or nonexistent, or their findings that have been overstated . . . Cribsheet is not another call for the end of helicopter parenting or snowplow parenting or whatever kind of parenting is lighting up social media today, and it’s not a call to overthrow medical wisdom; it’s a call for parenting with context, and it’s freeing.”

Okay, there you have it, a list of my favorite parenting books. I am sure there are many more award-worthy books for new and veteran parents out there. I hope I have the opportunity to get through them all. It can be hard to find the time to read in the busy life of parenting. Try an audio book on the way to work or fitting in 20 minutes of reading before going to bed. Reading is an enjoyable experience that you should fit in for a little self-care.

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About The Author

Kelsey Dickson has over 15 years of experience working with children as a nanny, preschool teacher, and now a mother. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education and is a Certified Potty Training Expert. At Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny she is the eLearning and Social Media Manager. Check out our online childcare classes, such as Baby Sign Language and Sleep Coaching 101! In her free time she enjoys gardening with her children, going for walks with her family, and discovering local wineries in New England.