Parenting / 8 May, 2023 / Ellie Thompson

Best Books For New Mums: Birth, Babies, Sleep, Sex, Self-Care & Gin

Motherhood is a tricky job, and no more so in those first few weeks and months when you’re trying to figure out precisely what you’re supposed to do. Don’t panic! We’ve created this list of best books for new mums to give you a little helping hand, trusted advice, expert tips, and a nappy load of humour to boot. Buckle up, and enjoy the ride!

Best books for new mums

My Child and Other Mistakes, Ellie Taylor

My Child and Other Mistakes is the honest lowdown on motherhood and all its grisly delights, asking the questions no one wants to admit to asking themselves – do I want a child? Do I have a favourite? Do I wish I hadn’t had one and spent the money on a kitchen island instead?

Stand-up comic, broadcaster and actress Ellie Taylor is relatable, clever and interested in how women can have it all. Her honest, hilarious and moving account of the whys and hows of having a baby makes perfect reading for expectant mothers and fathers everywhere, as well as those who’ve been there, done that, and wonder how on earth they did.

Midwife Marley’s Guide for Everyone

When it comes to the best books for new mums, Midwife Marley’s guide is a must-read for advice on pregnancy, birth and the fourth trimester.

Birth is a unique experience for every person, and the book contains the latest guidance that will help you to understand the full picture all the way through an entire 12 months. Each chapter is illustrated with Marley’s original doodle-drawings and is subtly colour coded, so you can flick through and find exactly what you’re looking for right now, when you need it.

Listen to our podcast with Midwife Marley: Midwife Marley’s Nitty-Gritty Guide To Common Pregnancy Complaints

Welcome to Motherhood, Bitches, Victoria Emes

Welcome to Motherhood, Bitches is your one-stop, no-filter guide to everything from swollen vulvas and dinner-plate areolas. From shitting in labour to the horror of postpartum haemorrhoids; from mindless sleep deprivation to salvaging a sex life when your pelvic floor has hit the floor. But mainly, it’s a reassuring reminder that feeling slightly (or shockingly) out of control with a newborn baby human is entirely normal… we promise. If you’re after a no no holes barred approach, this best book for new mums is for you!

The Blissful Baby Expert, Lisa Clegg

There are few life experiences more joyful than becoming a parent, but caring for a newborn can be daunting, particularly when you’re not sure whose advice to follow or what your baby really needs.

In The Blissful Baby Expert, Lisa Clegg draws on her own experience of motherhood and her professional life as a nanny and maternity nurse to share her essential, trusted advice. Gentle, reassuring and practical, her book guides you every step of the way from birth to two years.

Listen to our podcast with Lisa Clegg: Why A Routine Is So Important From Day One With The Blissful Baby Expert Lisa Clegg

Raising a Happier Mother, Anna Mathur

In Raising a Happier Mother, Anna Mathur breaks down the six hurdles that prevent many of us from having a truly fulfilling experience of motherhood, and provides us with the practical tools and warm reassurance needed to navigate them.

Many of us have bookshelves groaning with brilliant parenting books, but we struggle to properly implement the wise words on the pages. The truth is that parenting tools are far easier to implement when we aren’t anxious, battling guilt or feeling depleted. With her new book, Raising a Happier Mother (Penguin Life, 31st August), Anna Mathur presents the solution – the book you should come to before reading all of the other parenting books, to properly lay the foundations for real, positive change.

Hurrah for Gin: A perfect book for imperfect parents, Katie Kirby

This book is not a how-to guide. It won’t tell you how to get your baby to sleep, how to deal with toddler tantrums, how to be a good parent, a cool parent or even a renegade parent. It is a book about parenting that contains absolutely no useful advice whatsoever.

Instead, it shares beautifully honest anecdotes and illustrations from the parenting frontline that demonstrate it is perfectly possible to love your children with the whole of your heart whilst finding them incredibly irritating at the same time.

From pregnancy to starting school, Hurrah For Gin takes you through the exciting, frustrating, infuriating and wonderful whirlwind of parenthood, offering solidarity and a friendly hug after a tough day. Best served with gin.

The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan, Alison Scott-Wright

Packed with tips, hints and reminders, case studies, at-a-glance charts and a daily journal to help you keep track of your baby’s progress, The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan is a step-by-step, must-have manual to ensure sleep for you and your baby.

For over twenty-five years, recognised sleep guru Alison Scott-Wright aka The Magic Sleep Fairy has been working ‘hands-on’ with families, sharing her knowledge with her clients and, most importantly, bringing sleep to thousands of homes, and that’s why she’ll always be in our best books of new mums round-up. 

Listen to our podcast with Alison Scott-Wright: Alison Scott-Wright On Reflux: Spotting The Symptoms And When To Get Help

Maybe Baby: On the Mother Side, Kate Lawler

Kate Lawler has never been maternal. And yet here she is: mother to Noa, after years of going back and forth about whether to have children at all.

This is the story of her journey from parentally undecided to early motherhood, via raging hormones, sleepless nights, emergency hospital trips, mum guilt, unspoken regrets and post-natal depression.

Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer, Melinda Blau

In this remarkable parenting book, Tracy demystifies the magic she has performed with some five thousand babies. She teaches parents how to work out what kind of baby they have, what kind of mother and father they are, and what kind of parenting plan will work best for them. Believing that babies need to become part of the family – rather than dominate it – she has developed a practical programme that works with infants as young as a day old. Her methods are also applauded by scientists: ‘Tracy’s is a voice that should be heard. She appears very knowledgeable about modern infant research and has incorporated this to a level parents can understand. In spite of all the baby how-tos on the market, this one will stand out.’

Letters on Motherhood, Giovanna Fletcher

In this beautiful and poignant collection, Giovanna writes deeply heartfelt letters to everyone who has helped her to become the mother she is today. To her young sons: Buzz, Buddy and Max. To Tom, and her mum and dad. But also, to herself, her body, and more. And finally, to all of the mums, dads and mums-to-be out there doing the work too. These letters cover everything from her fears and hopes to the love and uncertainty of being a mother today.

Honest, heartwarming and hilarious, Giovanna’s relatable musings on motherhood are both a joy and a comfort, paying testament to the power of family.

What to Expect The First Year, Heidi Murkoff

This comprehensive and practical month-by-month guide clearly explains everything parents need to know – or might be worrying about – in the first year with a new baby.

This is the only book on infant care to address the whole family’s physical and emotional needs. This edition is organised more intuitively than ever before.
Covering the most up-to-date knowledge, both medical and developmental, WHAT TO EXPECT THE 1st YEAR is, above all, down-to-earth and reassuring – and an invaluable aid for all parents of new babies.

I Am Not Your Baby Mother, Candice Brathwaite

When Candice fell pregnant and stepped into the motherhood playing field, she found her experience bore little resemblance to the glossy magazine photos of women in horizontal stripe tops and the pinned discussions on mumsnet about what pushchair to buy. Leafing through the piles of prenatal paraphernalia, she found herself wondering: “Where are all the black mothers?”.

Candice started blogging about motherhood in 2016 after making the simple but powerful observation that the way motherhood is portrayed in the British media is wholly unrepresentative of our society at large.

This thought-provoking, urgent and inspirational guide to life as a black mother is the result. It explores the various stages in between pregnancy and waving your child off at the gates of primary school, while facing hurdles such as white privilege, racial micro-aggression and unconscious bias at every point. Candice does so with her trademark sense of humour and refreshing straight-talking, and the result is a call-to-arms that will allow mums like her to take control, scrapping the parenting rulebook to mother their own way.

Your Baby Week By Week, Simone Cave

The first six months with a new baby is a special and exciting time full of milestones and new experiences. This updated edition of Your Baby Week by Week explains the changes that your baby will go through in their first six months. Each chapter covers a week of their development so you’ll know when your baby will start to recognize you, when they’ll smile and laugh for the first time and even when they’ll be old enough to prefer some people to others!

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read, Philippa Perry

In this Sunday Times bestseller, leading psychotherapist Philippa Perry reveals relationships’ vital do’s and don’ts. This is a book for us all. Whether you are interested in understanding how your upbringing has shaped you, looking to handle your child’s feelings or wishing to support your partner, you will find indispensable information and realistic tips in these pages. Philippa Perry’s sane, sage and judgement-free advice is an essential resource on how to have the best possible relationships with the people who matter to you most.

The Positive Birth Book, Milli Hill

Challenging negativity and fear of childbirth, and brimming with everything you need to know about labour, birth and the early weeks of parenting, The Positive Birth Book is the must-have guide for pregnant women. A widely acclaimed bestseller since it was first published, it has empowered hundreds of thousands of women worldwide to make informed, positive choices about their births.

Fully revised and updated, this new edition will help you work out what kind of birth you really want, and learn how to maximise your chances of getting it. The book’s trademark Visual Birth Plan icons can be downloaded for free to help you create a birth plan for every eventuality.

Listen to our podcast with Milli Hill here: Parental Control, Ep 60: Bestselling Author Milli Hill On The Realities Of Giving Birth

The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums, Beccy Hands

Read this book for an instant pick-me-up. Whether this is your first or fifth baby, The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums is your handy survival guide to managing the emotional and physical rollercoaster of becoming a new mum.

Bringing together decades of experience from a midwife and a doula, you’ll find invaluable tips and tricks to boost confidence and calm frazzled nerves – plus answers to all those questions you may be too embarrassed to ask. From creating cooling breast pads with chamomile tea and quick stretches to relieve aching muscles through to easy recipes to nourish your postnatal body and 5-minute fixes to restore your sense of humour, this is the book you can turn to when the overwhelm sets in.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? Dr. Julie Smith

Drawing on years of experience as a clinical psychologist, online sensation Dr Julie Smith shares all the skills you need to get through life’s ups and downs.

Filled with secrets from a therapist’s toolkit, this is a must-have handbook for optimising your mental health. Dr Julie’s simple but expert advice and powerful coping techniques will help you stay resilient no matter what life throws your way.

Written in short, bite-sized entries, you can turn straight to the section you need depending on the challenge you’re facing – and immediately find the appropriate tools to help with . . .

Stress-Less Mama: Feel Happier and Healthier Postpartum & Beyond, Yana Abramova

Becoming a mother is a life-changing event that brings both delight and stress in its wake. Many new mums often struggle mentally in their new role, experience deterioration in their relationship with a partner, and miss their pre-baby life. These feelings are normal but can lead even the most confident women to feel stressed out and anxious.

Stress-Less Mama balances scientifically sound techniques with friendly advice from fellow new mums to help overcome self-doubt and feel happier and healthier in postpartum and beyond.

Get Your Mojo Back: Sex, Pleasure and Intimacy After Birth, Clio Wood

A frank guide to an under-discussed feminist topic: sex after birth. Enables women to reclaim their sexuality and improve their mental and physical wellbeing in motherhood.

Get Your Mojo Back breaks the silence around the feminist topic no one is talking about: how to have enjoyable sex after birth. This book is a rallying call to women to reclaim their sexuality and find sexual fulfillment. Focusing on the physical, mental and practical aspects that can affect your sexual experience and relationship.

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