The Best Parenting Books and Apps For The First Year

Best Parenting Books

It’s a bit crazy to me that our first year of parenting is coming to a close in less than a week! In some senses it seems like just yesterday that our little man was born, but on the other hand it can seem like a long time ago when you think about some of the early newborn days with sleepless nights and cluster feeding.

It probably would be great if I could tell you that I read a bunch of parenting books before Nicholas was born, but that just isn’t true. I think the only parenting book I read before he arrived was Bringing Up Bebe. Once he arrived, I read Happiest Baby On The Block within the first month and through out the first year I opened up What To Expect In The First Year more times than I can count. Besides these books, I used two apps very frequently-Sprout and The Wonder Weeks- so thought I’d include them in my list too as I couldn’t have survived the first year without them. These books and apps were my “go-to’s” for Nicholas’ first year- here’s a little bit more about why I loved them if you are looking for some parenting books/apps yourself!

The Happiest Baby On The Block I read this book during Nicholas’ first month of life and it definitely changed how we approached things when it came to soothing and helping Nicholas get to sleep. This book provides the details on Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s to soothing babies and why they work. It helped me understand why swaddling is important even though your baby like mine may resist it and also why pacifiers are okay. I would recommend this read to all new parents- the soothing strategies Dr. Karp shares are easy to follow and in my experience, they work!

The Sprout Baby App– I’m not exagerating at all when I say I used this app multiple times a day. When I first started breastfeeding, I was looking for an app to help me keep track of how long I was nursing for. This app was one of the most highly rated so I downloaded it and never looked back! It was super helpful in the first several months for tracking nursing time and dirty diapers (yes, you care about how many of those your baby has!). When I went back to work, I used the pumping tracker to keep track of my pumping sessions. In addition to the trackers, it also offers helpful tips based on your child’s age and has a place to store milestones or memories to make sure you don’t forget any of baby’s firsts!

What To Expect The First Year– Pretty much exactly like its’ title, this book chronicles what you can expect each month of your baby’s first year. I liked it because I could easily manage reading each month’s chapter when the time came and could actually retain information or easily refer back- essential for busy parents! It has a great reference section so you can look up specific questions you might have. This book is a great one to have in your parenting library, but probably best for first time parents I would guess!

Bringing Up Bebe– The only parenting book I read before Nicholas was born 🙂 I liked this book because while it gave factual info, it did read like a memoir in some ways as it is told from the point of view of Pamela Druckerman who is an American woman who moved to France with her husband and started her family there. Hearing about the French approach was super interesting and also has stuck with me- I think about “the pause” daily. If you’ve read the book, you know what I mean!

The Wonder Weeks App– One of my friends recommended this app to me and I’m obsessed! The Wonder Weeks outlines the mental development “leaps” that your baby is going through and alerts you to what the leap is and what your baby is learning during these periods. It really helped me with understanding how Nicholas was learning about the world and what skills he is developing. Based on their over 35 years of research, babies do have fussy periods that align to these developmental leaps- makes sense as they are exhausted from learning new things! These fussy periods (stormy periods) are identified on a calendar in the app which is one of my favorite features.  If I noticed certain behaviors I could refer to the app and feel better that it was all part of the leap and understand why Nicholas may be frustrated. There is a Wonder Weeks book which I haven’t read, but honestly I’ve found the app to be a wealth of information so not sure I’d need more/read more in a book.

Did you read any helpful parenting books during the newborn phase- what were they? Are there any toddler focused parenting books you would recommend I read next? Please leave any other recommendations in the comments so we can all share!

xoxo, Jenna

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