10 Best Books for Moms

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10 Best Books for Moms

As a mom and a bookworm, I’ve read more than my share of baby and parenting books over the years. Here are ten of my favorite (and sometimes surprising) books for moms:

1. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two, William and Martha Sears

This is my favorite all-around reference book. It covers birth and breastfeeding, infant nutrition and postpartum exercise, baby gear and developmental milestones.
I’ve referred to the chapter listing common childhood ailments and what to do about them a ton.

What mothers do

2. What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing, Naomi Stadlen

This book provides blessed encouragement for the mother who is exhausted at the end of the day, but feels like she’s not getting anything done. Stadlen explores the value of a mother’s time with her baby, and speaks to the worth of mothering itself.

What Mothers Do doesn’t give parenting advice; instead, it explores the topic from the mother’s perspective and provides many encouraging anecdotes from real mums.

I found this book hugely encouraging on the whole, but be warned: there was one chapter that made me want to throw the book across the room.

Sacred Parenting

3. Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls, Gary Thomas

This is also not a how-to book about how to parent your kids; instead it tells you how parenting your children changes you.

Parenting itself is an in-depth course in spiritual formation, and the opportunities for learning and growth are never-ending, if we embrace them.

Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work

4. The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman.

Statistics show that marital satisfaction takes a nosedive after the first child is born, and doesn’t recover until the kids leave for college. But there’s hope! Gottman is the famed researcher who’s able to predict with 91% accuracy if a couple will divorce after observing them for a mere 5 minutes.

In this book, Gottman fleshes out what successful relationships have in common, and shows you how to view your own relationship through a marriage counselor’s eyes. Investing in your marriage is easier than you might think: Gottman’s found that the difference between a failing marriage and a happy one is often just five magic hours a week.

the happiness project

5. The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s record of her year spent trying to boost her own happiness is funny, practical, and encouraging. Rubin’s thoughtful approach to tending her own happiness will inspire you to do the same and own your role in your own happiness.

Nobody’s happy if Mom’s not happy, so do what you can to make sure you’re a happy mama!

And then I had kids

6. And Then I Had Kids, Susan Yates

My expectations of what family life would be like bore no resemblance to reality, and I was a tired and overwhelmed new mom. Yates’s honesty about the joys and frustrations of raising kids made me feel like I wasn’t the only one who didn’t feel up to the task! Yates encourages mothers of young children to see their lives in seasons, and to embrace the season they’re in.

baby food

7. Super Baby Food, Ruth Yaron

So many moms are intimidated by the idea of making their own baby food, but let me tell you–it’s easy.
It’s also cheap and often healthier for your baby, and Yaron’s book does a great job of laying out the basic techniques. You can do this.

healthy sleep habits happy child

8. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Marc Weissbluth

I lean toward gentle, attachment-style parenting, and I’ve never been in the cry-it-out camp. But last winter my 12-month old went from waking up 2-3 times a night to waking up every 30 minutes around the clock, and something had to be done.
I got a copy of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and we started sleep training (which is just a nicer way of saying I put him in his crib and let him cry. A lot.)

We had two rough days, but after that baby and I were both sleeping again. And I emerged from my sleep-deprived fog with a lot more empathy for moms who make different parenting choices than I do. In fact, I called that one of the smartest things I did in 2011.

Out of Sync child

9. The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder,Carol Kranowitz

Many children deal with sensory issues, whether or not they have SPD. Kranowitz explains the many ways sensory issues manifest themselves, what parents can do, and how to help the child cope.

We do have a child with SPD, and this book has been a lifesaver. I only wish we’d found it sooner. Kranowitz has also written an excellent companion book called The Out-of Sync Child Has Fun, which contains numerous fun activities for kids with sensory issues.

10. In Style Magazine.
Or People.
If you want a loftier read, grab The Economist or The Atlantic.
But by all means, make sure you read something that has nothing to do with raising babies.

At least sometimes.

What’s your favorite book for moms?

Anne is a certified bookworm and homeschooling mom to 4 crazy kids. She loves Jane Austen, strong coffee, the social graces and social media. You can find her on her blog Modern Mrs Darcy or on twitter, which she adores.



  1. Jennifer H says

    #8 saved my sanity! I don’t know that I disagree with #10, but I preferred fluff paperback fiction to magazines.

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      I tend to avoid magazines in my house, but I think Facebook is a nice replacement. 😉

      Thanks for visiting!

  2. Janae @ Bring Joy says

    For book #2, which chapter was it?

    Love your #10! I agree with you, so important to have some balance & perspective & get some distance mentally (if not physically) from child rearing duties for a bit.

    I’m most interested in #3 & 5. Thank you for the suggestions, I LOVE a good, reliable book recommend. Now if only I can make some room in my day for personal reading time …. 🙂

    • Dianna Kennedy says


      I’m going to ask Anne to come back by and comment about her thoughts.

      Would audio books work for you? I’m considering using that approach.

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. It’s been a couple of years since I read What Mothers Do, but I remember having mixed feelings about it – I just can’t recall what they were! I’m curious as to what made you want to throw it against the wall.

  4. I’ve only read a few off of this list, but I wholeheartedly agree with you on The Happiness Project – I loved that book!

    My favorite “sleep” book was Elizabeth Pantley’s “The No-Cry Sleep Solution.” While it’s really more like “low-cry” it still meshed well with our preferences.

    I also really liked “Raising Your Spirited Child” because while I read it I felt like she’d been sneaking looks in to our house, spying on my son. And it made me feel better for finding him such a handful.

    And I found “Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches” to be very encouraging. I think I read it at a really great time when I needed it.

    I’m not much for magazines generally, but I enthusiastically endorse reading that isn’t always focused on parenting. Fiction, nonfiction, whatever, as long as it’s enjoyable.

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      I love everything I’ve ever picked up by Elizabeth Pantley. Her approach fits our parenting lifestyle.

      Im still working my way through Raising Your Spirited Child. For some reason, it’s slow going for me.

      Thanks for coming by!

  5. Nice list! I want to know what made you want to throw book #2, too. 🙂

    Here are my favorite parenting books.

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      I’ll drop Anne an email and ask her to address this …. There’s a number of people who have asked, and I have no idea!

      Thanks for coming by and sharing!

  6. Alison Solove @ExperimentalWifery says

    Every mother should read The Wonder Weeks. Two evolutionary biologists outline what skills babies are developing week by week and what toys help them hone their new skills. The book also explains why babies go through “fussy phases”–an explanation makes those rough patches a lot less stressful.


    • Kerry Kenney says

      great tip!! I will give that as a shower gift!

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      We’re right in the midst of a fussy phase, of course, right after I told everyone how good and laid back the new baby was. I’m adding this book to my list.

      Thanks for coming by!

  7. Kerry Kenney says

    I loved number 8 and 9. 9 didn’t help me but put me on the road to help. My son turned out to have ASD. We are happy with the community we found on A Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. Great folks. I also loved Happiest Baby on the Block, Last Child in the Woods and anything by Penelope Leach. Now that my boys are older I love Love and Logic and Abraham A Lowe’s writings on emotional self-leadership. Great tools all kids. And about 10, well, I also have my gossip magazines that I love. I like the mental break! I haven’t been able to read the Economist since I had kids. I wish my brain would come back….

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      I’m reading Raising Your Spirited Child right now …. but looking back at this post, I’m thinking I might need to check #9 out as well.

      There are so many parenting books I’d like to read …. I’m considering trying them as audiobooks.

  8. Pretty good selection, I own 4 of those books!

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