The parenting section of most bookshops is enough to bring even the calmest of us out in a cold sweat. So many titles. So many promises. How do you know which to trust, and which to leave right there on the shelf?

From breastfeeding to parenting styles, sleep deprivation to sibling rivalry, here are 10 parenting books we’re giving a big Lifecake thumbs up to.

The book for preparing you both for the big push:

How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out, by Clemmie Telford

Technically you’re a parent before your bundle joy comes screaming its way into the world. Which is why this pregnancy manual is allowed on the list. Midwife and relatable Instagram Mom @Motherofdaughter’s first book is a stage-by-stage guide to what to expect when you’re growing a human. In a time that can be fraught with uncertainty, multiple decisions and let’s face it, a lot of unknowns, this is a funny, straightforward guide to feeling more prepared both about birth, and your new role as a parent. Our favorite piece of Clemmie’s advice – buy something to wear after birth so you have something to look forward to. Now that’s a suggestion we can get on board with.

The book for dealing with sleep deprivation:

The No Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley

Ah, sleep deprivation. When burning tiredness follows your every moment, and you’re struggling with mind mush. With millions of books promising to get your baby to sleep, it can be overwhelming choosing whose advice to follow. If ‘cry it out’ seems grim, and ‘grin-and-bear-it’ sounds worse, then there is a third option presented here in mother of four and parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution. With info on baby sleep cycles and scientifically backed step-by-step guides to help you get your little one to sleep through the night, it’s not only pragmatic, but it actually works. Our (slightly) smaller eye bags can testify.

The book for breastfeeding:

Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding: From the Nation’s Leading Midwife, by Ina May Gaskin

It’s funny how such a natural process can turn out to be so darn difficult. Enter the birth powerhouse that is Ina May. In her follow up to one of the most well-read birthing guides in America, Ina’s calm, straightforward advice radiates from the page. Here she explains the science behind breastfeeding, the challenges you might face and the myths that need to be busted. Essential reading for every nursing Mom.

The book for building better relationships with your kids:

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did), by Philippa Perry

A new title to hit the shelves is psychotherapist Philippa Perry’s clever approach to building better relationships with your children. Navigating difficulties from pre-birth to grown-up children, this is a book that goes way deeper than ‘parenting hacks’, instead encouraging parents to look at their own childhood to make links to current relationships with their brood. At times it’s a personally challenging book, but one that’s both funny, full of wisdom and will no doubt make you a more reflective parent. Ours is almost dog-eared and we only picked it up a couple of weeks ago.

The book for understanding the science of it all:

The Science of Parenting, by Margot Sunderland

What’s going on in your toddler’s brain when they have a tantrum? How do you create an emotionally balanced child? How do you discipline kids properly? Using the latest research into baby and children’s brains, this practical guide to raising children based on scientific evidence is a godsend. Boundaries, separation anxiety, sleep patterns, it’s got it all – so if someone suggests a harsh parenting technique from the 1920s, you have the scientific evidence to politely decline their advice.

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The book for the troublesome toddler stage:

The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being, by Simone Davies

There are fewer occasions more painful than waiting out your toddler’s meltdown in a busy store. Simone Davies is here to help. Using educational pioneer Dr. Maria Montessori’s approach – guided by a belief that children learn best when doing and feeling confident in their own independent learning – this book shows how to flip toddler time from terrible to terrific. The book is brimming with practical advice for all of the trying times, with advice on how to set limits, balance chaos, and shift our own perspectives to see the world through young eyes.

The book for helping navigate parenting in a social age:

Social Media: Your Child’s Digital Tattoo: Understanding & Managing Your Child’s Digital Footprint, by Stephen Smith

If you’re a Lifecake user, you’re probably already in tune with the hazards of social media and privacy. But it’s not going anywhere, and chances are your kids are going to want to get in on the action. Stephen Smith’s parents’ guide to navigating the pitfalls of kids and teens using social media looks at everything from self-esteem to distraction, anxiety, and privacy. It’s a must-read in our digital age.

The book for dealing with sibling rivalry:

Siblings: How to Handle Sibling Rivalry to Create Strong and Loving Bonds, by Linda Blair

Want to nip sibling rivalry in the bud before things reach Liam and Noel Gallagher levels? If so, we recommend reading Siblings by clinical psychologist Linda Blair. This refreshingly realistic handbook takes into account our children’s natural rivalry, but instead of fuelling its flames, looks for ways to use sibling relationships to build emotional intelligence and good social skills.

The book for mothers:

Lost in Motherhood, by Grace Timothy

There are times in motherhood that you can feel completely alone. This book is here to show you that you’re not. From the irrational fears that something bad is going to happen to your baby, unjustified anger at your partner, the changing shape of down there, the possessive rage when someone else dares hold your precious spawn, the ups, the downs, and the everydays. This is a no-holds-barred account of motherhood that will have you laughing and weeping in equal amounts.

The book for fathers:

Man vs. Baby, by Matt Coyne

What started as a viral blog post about the early stages of fatherhood, with Ashton Kutcher calling it “one of the best descriptions of fatherhood I’ve ever read,” has evolved into one of the most applauded books on the realities of fatherhood. In Man Vs. Baby, author Matt Coyne compares birth to a Saw movie, diaper-changing to a pit-stop Formula One crew, and the sound of a baby crying at 3am to “having the inside of your skill sandpapered by an angry Viking”. This is a raw and heartfelt depiction of what to expect as a new Dad; told with truth and lashings of baby poop.


Why not also read our blog on top resources for LGBTQ+ parenting?

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learn more about lifecake baby milestone app and record your photos from bump to birth and beyond