A Tour of the Ellis Chique Bookshelf: My Top 5 Baby Book Recommendations

Becoming a parent is no easy feat. In fact, for those of us who had full-term pregnancies, nine months is barely enough time to prepare and learn everything there is to know about newborns, feeding schedules, sleep routines, starting solids, etc! 

And what about becoming a good parent? What kinds of values should we emphasize when raising our children? How can we help them become confident, resilient, productive people that aren’t little screen zombies in their toddlerhood? What about raising a good student? A good reader? A good friend? There’s a million questions that we begin asking ourselves when we’re expecting a new baby and we never truly stop asking them. Luckily, I have a few book recommendations to share that might help calm some of your fears when it comes to all things parenting that will come in handy no matter where you are in your parenthood journey! 

#1: Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality 

A practical, evidence-based guide to your baby’s first year of life written by two pediatricians who are also moms themselves. This 3rd edition copy by Laura A Jana, MD, FAAP & Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP has the stamp of approval from the American Academy of Pediatrics and details everything you need to know about bringing home your new baby. A must read for expectant mothers. I sincerely appreciated the layout of the information in this book. It makes it easy to digest and not overwhelming, even if you’re going to be the primary caregiver to your baby, like I was, and not expecting to really divide any parental responsibilities at least in the baby’s first 6 weeks of life! So for the single parents, this is a book for you, too! 

This book lays out all the facts you need to know whether you’re deciding to breastfeed, formula-feed or bottle-feed your baby with no judgement as well as details of safe sleep and sleep strategies for your baby. My personal favorite elements in this book are its in-depth explanations of baby brain development and early learning activities as well as its comprehensive guides on leaving the house and travelling with your baby (strollers, car seats, airplanes & more!) This book also covers a multitude of common illnesses, medical concerns, medications, at-home remedies, and vaccinations for your baby! (Tip: the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend any screen time for your baby under the age of 2 years old!)

#2 The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year by Dawn Dais

Read it! Just take my word for it. This crude, profanity-laden, hilariously written book is exactly what you need if you’re expecting your first (or second) baby or if you’ve just brought baby home. It offers a dose of reality and relatability that’s extremely comforting when you’re dealing with all the highs and lows of new parenthood. From hectic birth, to teething nightmares and diaper changing catastrophes, this book isn’t just comedy gold, its a godsend for parents. You’ll find yourself laughing alongside the author and her wife’s struggle as first time parents to their new baby Vivian and see yourself reflected in their all-to-relatable parenting hurdles. What’s even better? Dais offers a section at the end of every chapter from her own personal arsenal of moms of all ages and stages in parenthood who contributed their own experiences and memories of their baby’s first year to give every mom (and dad) a little representation and to show that you are not alone when it comes to raising littles and all the Sh!t that comes with that!

#3 What to Expect the First Year by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff, and Sandee E. Hathaway, B.S.N (Authors of What to Expect when You’re Expecting)

I call this one the “Baby Manual” or sometimes the “Baby Syllabus” in our household. My copy was handed down to me and printed in the USA in 1996 but still contains incredible info! This is my go-to book every single month to check on Ellis’s developmental progress. This book is broken down into months “The First Month”, “The Second Month” and so on and contains sections such as what your baby should be doing by month ____, what your baby will probably be doing, what your baby will possibly be doing and what your baby may even be doing to give parents a comprehensive guide on well, What to Expect (pun intended).

Baby development isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing, and I find it extremely helpful for me at least to check a month ahead in this book every time to help Ellis work on her skills and milestones she should be hit by the next month. And I always check back in at the end of the month to see what milestones Ellis successfully achieved as well as what we still have to work on! This one has been a lifesaver for me! 

This book also contains some frequently asked questions from moms (surprising that 20 years ago we were STILL asking the same questions about our growing babies), and advice on the most prevalent topics you may encounter on a month by month basis with your baby. I love it, I love it, and did I mention that I love it?

#4 The Big Book of Organic Baby Food by Stephanie Middleberg MS, RD, CDN

Whether you realize it or not, food is at the cornerstone at every important stage in your life, many meaningful social interactions, holidays, etc; and good nourishment a constant source of energy, good health, and if you enjoy cooking, many incredible memories for you and your family. This book empowers families and parents to cook at-home, organic baby food purees for their children from first bites to full-family meals, packed with all the nutrients of a colorful, well-rounded, healthy diet for every member of your family. Even though this book is filled with recipes, it’s an easy read that’s also full of advice on what to feed your baby at what stage and it is packed with humor and lightheartedness as Middleberg reflects on feeding her own son, Julian, and all the trials and errors they had in the kitchen! 

I knew I wanted to make my own baby food from the get go, and more so to raise an adventurous, healthy eater and I felt that having some control over the flavors I give my baby and introducing a wide variety of foods at a very young age could help me to do this and this book has been a useful tool in achieving this goal! I started Ellis on solids at 4.5 months old and by the time she reached 6 months old, she’d tasted a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and has hardly ever disliked anything! 

Better yet, following the recipes in this book gave me an excuse to get back in the kitchen finally after a rough pregnancy and exhausting newborn stage. It was time to start eating better, and this helped me to do this for both myself and Ellis. So, so good. A must-have on your baby registry and a worthwhile investment regardless! You don’t have to make your own baby food to feed your children a healthy diet, but if this idea brings you a lot of satisfaction and is the source of some really happy memories for you and your family, its 10000% worth the endeavor. 

#5 The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl

At any point you decide to pick up this book, in your baby’s first year, when they enter toddlerhood or even if you’re totally childless, you won’t regret it. This book isn’t about learning to be a better parent, it’s about learning a new lifestyle that’ll improve your family dynamic and overall happiness in the world. The skills in resilience & authenticity taught in this book are meant to be applied by adults to help them strengthen their relationships with their children and teach valuable life skills that’ll ultimately raise happy children… but I believe you can begin practicing “The Danish Way” at any time in your life, not just in parenthood! Written by a Danish psychotherapist and an American author and Danish parenting expert (who married a Dane) these two mothers set out to write a book to break down what’s so different about the parenting style in Denmark and why this specific country continually produces the world’s “happiest” people. 

Hopefully these books are enough to get you started on building the parenting, infant care and nutrition shelf of your own personal mini library and empower you to make confident decisions raising your baby as well as offer you some comedic relief and relatability when you need it most. Combining a fair mix of pediatric medicine, neuroscience, humor, fun and flavor, I know these books will keep you entertained for months to come. After all, there’s nothing like thumbing through a new book to keep yourself awake during those nighttime feeds. In fact, its good for the soul, we think. Plus, a few of these reads will shed some light on what you and your baby are going through at every stage. I hope they mean as much to you as they have to me. Leave a comment below if you’ve read any of these yourself or if you plan to purchase one!

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