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How do you prepare for a big life change? If you’re like me, you read as many preparatory books as possible! When Luke and I were dating and engaged, we poured through countless marriage books. (They helped!) Now that we’re expecting our first baby, I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting a newborn. Though no amount of reading can fully prepare me for the role of motherhood, I’m hopeful that my “prep work” will give me a good jump start on being the best mom that I can be. Here are a few of the books on my pre-baby reading wish list.

Baby Prep Reading Wish List

The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp

I’m currently half way through this popular book on how to soothe a crying baby. In it, Dr. Karp outlines five time-tested strategies for soothing colicky babies. Despite the cheesy illustrations and convoluted references to Cave Man parents, Dr. Karp’s advice seems sound. I appreciate the parent testimonials and the detailed explanations of how to implement these soothing strategies, and why they are effective. I’ll be passing this book on to Luke when I’m finished so that we both will be prepared to make sure our baby is the happiest on the block!

The Baby Book, by William and Martha Sears

As one of the foremost proponents of attachment parenting, Dr. Sears is certainly a controversial figure. I’m prepared to disagree with many of Sears’ suggestions. (As the daughter of a pediatric nurse, I just can’t get behind the anti-vaccine movement.) Nevertheless, I’ve heard excellent things about Dr. Sears and his approach to parenting, and this book seems like it could be an invaluable resource when it comes to issues of breastfeeding, baby wearing, and co-sleeping.

What to Expect the First Year, by Heidi Murkoff

No baby-prep reading list would be complete without this classic book! Its precursor, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, has been by my side through every stage of my pregnancy, and I’m looking forward to continuing with the series once my son arrives. I read through much of this book a couple of years ago when I was taking care of a young baby in her first year, and the monthly guidelines and suggestions were incredibly helpful. Of all the books on this list, I imagine that What to Expect. . . will be the one I’ll return to the most.

Grace-Based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel

I’ve read nothing but glowing reviews about this Christian guide to parenting, in which Dr. Kimmel suggests a balanced approach between permissive and legalistic parenting. I’m sure there will be (many!) occasions on which I feel as though I’m failing as a mother, and though I haven’t read this book yet, I’m already thankful for Kimmel’s reminder of God’s abundant grace for me as I learn to parent my child with both boundaries AND grace.

Baby Day by Day Book

I have loved reading about my unborn baby’s daily developments and milestones in Pregnancy Day by Day, and was so excited to discover that there is a similar book that covers baby’s first year! Filled with insights from pediatricians, child psychologist, and other parenting experts, this book provides an unbiased approach to several parenting theories and practices. Like What to Expect the First Year, I’m sure this book will be an often-referenced guide in our household.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley

Like many parents-to-be, the one aspect of impending parenthood that I am absolutely dreading is the inevitable lack of sleep. I’m already eager for the days when my child sleeps through the night, but the prospect of sleep training through cry-it-out methods has me uneasy. The No-Cry Sleep Solution promises a third alternative to helping little ones (and their parents) get the sleep they need. I admit that I’m a bit skeptical that such perfect solution exists, but I’m eager to read this book to find out what it is!

21 and 22 Weeks

At 22 weeks pregnant, I have four more months to study up on parenting. . . then the real test begins! (And hopefully all the wisdom I’ve gleaned over the previous months doesn’t go out the window!) To all you mamas out there: have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Are there any books that need to be added to my list? Thanks in advance for your advice!

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