The right parenting book can be its own little bundle of joy. Whether you’re interested in baby massage and essential oils, or sleep strategies and tips for returning to work, there’s a book for you. Read on for the best books on pregnancy and caring for a newborn that came out this year.

Pregnancy Notes: Before, During & After by Rujuta Diwekar
With a focus on diet and nutrition, Pregnancy Notes helps expecting and new moms achieve and maintain solid health. Diwekar divulges tips for how and when to eat and exercise, along with guidance for post-partum recovery, while debunking many “half-baked truths.” You’ll find plenty of recipes, plus actionable advice on the benefits of adding coconut to your diet, how frequently you should be eating (every two hours!), and why you should be sipping milk with nutmeg before bed.

The Birth Partner (4th edition) by Penny Simkin
This book’s for the person mom-to-be relies upon most. The Birth Partner is the manual for helping her through it all, with warmth, wisdom, and plenty of specifics on knowing when she’s in real labor, how to assist during contractions, epidurals and other labor medications, non-drug pain management, Cesarean birth and complications, plus breastfeeding and caring for a newborn.

Precious Little Sleep by Alexis Dubief
From nighttime to naps, baby sleep can be elusive. But it doesn’t have to be. In Precious Little Sleep, Alexis Dubief explains why your baby might be up all night and how to rack up more sleep for everyone in the house. Based on years of sleep research and practical experience working with families in need of ZZZs, this book covers weaning off of nighttime feedings, early wakings, and practical approaches to common problems like crying out soon after falling asleep – all while taking into consideration your child’s age and temperament, as well as your parenting philosophies.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils for Mama and Baby by Christina Anthis
Whether you’re new to essential oils or have enjoyed their all-natural benefits for some time, you’ll find useful insights in this book for moms and babes. Several topics are covered: morning sickness, anxiety, breast tenderness, diaper rash, cradle cap, the sniffles, and more. And Anthis provides non-brand-specific recipes and recommends drop dosage from 3-6 months up to 6+ years.

Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Surviving the First Two Years by Chris Pegula with Frank Meyer
From tons of useful parenting hacks to laugh-out-loud baby stories only a dad could tell, Diaper Dude will help new fathers navigate the uncertain waters of life after birth. What are the first few weeks with a baby in the house really like? How do you babyproof your home and keep your little one from getting into all sorts of mischief? Will you ever have sex again? Plus, how can you parent as a team and keep your sanity? Pegula shows first-time dads the way.

Infant Massage (4th edition) by Vimala McClure
The latest edition of McClure’s wonderful introduction to infant massage will help parents and caregivers gently caress their babies to a multitude of benefits. Learn how to help relieve colic, fever, and chest and nasal congestion with these easy-to-follow methods (with instructional photos), along with lullabies, rhymes, and games to enhance the skin-to-skin contact. New parents will appreciate the step-by-step instructions for calming and soothing babies, with the added bonuses of releasing tension, increasing infant sleep, helping premature babies gain weight, and even improving breathing in asthmatic children.

Baby Names 2018 by Eleanor Turner
Turner’s tome of monikers both traditional and modern is like a dictionary of names organized by state trends – which can be useful when you want to avoid having the third or fourth Liam in your son’s kindergarten class. Popular culture is taken into account, explaining the rise of names like Kylo, Rey and Leia (thank you, Star Wars). And then there are names that seem to be gaining traction across the U.S., like Paisley. The book covers more than 8,000 of the year’s favorite names, so pregnant mamas and their partners will have plenty to choose from.

The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby by Lauren Smith Brody
Many women return to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave, but it can take time and plenty of growing pains to create new routines and find a new normal. For Lauren Smith Brody, returning to her desk was stressful and fraught with confusion, prompting her to write a book for women going through the same experience. Brody interviewed more than 700 moms in a diverse range of fields and combines their advice with that of experts and scientific studies. Her book helps new moms navigate issues like managing on so little sleep, figuring out childcare, negotiating flex-time, dividing responsibilities with your partner, and overcoming the all-too-common “I want to quit!” crisis.

Baby Food Universe by Kawn Al-Jabbouri
Creator of the popular Instagram account @babyfooduniverse, Kawn Al-Jabbouri outlines how to start your baby on solid foods. From cooking equipment and methods to 1- to 3-ingredient purees, plus tackling the tricky stuff like introducing healthy fats and subtle spices, Baby Food Universe is the perfect book for planning ahead if you’re a pro in the kitchen. Also a great baby shower gift for a foodie friend.

Which book are you most excited to read? Let us know below!

— Whitney C. Harris

featured photo: Penumbra via flickr