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Helpful Books for New Parents

B. Dixon
The list author says: "Out of the many parenting guides, I wanted to record which ones I found truly helpful."
Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, 2nd Edition
Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, 2nd Edition
"Definitely great for those of us who didn't have a clue about the practical side of diapering, feeding, etc.  Heading home from the hospital, I didn't feel completely unprepared."
Babyhood
Babyhood
"After getting the basics out of the way (feeding, diapering, getting him to sleep), this book helped me understand my son's development, and how what I did could help or hurt. Like other reviewers, I am disappointed it hasn't been updated in a while, but much of the book remains extremely valuable.)"
The Happiest Baby on the Block
The Happiest Baby on the Block
"So worth it.  Made it (almost) easy for us to get our son to sleep.  (And the Miracle Blanket got him to sleep through the night once he was asleep.)"
Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby's First Year
Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby's First Year
"Lots of clear, straightforward information.  Great reference to have.  I read it through once, then referred back to it regularly, especially with rashes, medical questions."
Baby Hearts: A Guide to Giving Your Child an Emotional Head Start
Baby Hearts: A Guide to Giving Your Child an Emotional Head Start
"Maybe the best of the "Baby Signs" books"
Baby Play (Gymboree)
Baby Play (Gymboree)
"Has things to do with a baby even from 0-3 months.  Very helpful -- most books only have activities that aren't appropriate for such young babies."
Baby Minds: Brain-Building Games Your Baby Will Love
Baby Minds: Brain-Building Games Your Baby Will Love
"Games to play with infants and toddlers were good, and helpfully indexed by age in back of book"
Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
"A bit over the top, but a fun read about child development.  (If your child is already born, skip the parts relating to pregnancy -- you'll drive yourself crazy thinking about missed opportunities.)"
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
"As the title says, it's Freakonomics for raising children -- very interesting and engaging."
When Parents Disagree and What You Can Do About It
When Parents Disagree and What You Can Do About It
"Even helpful in the first year, to avoid setting up bad patterns for later.  Try to avoid "Mom's in charge and Dad helps out.""
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last
"Author is John Gottman.  Yes, this is a new parents list, but the marriage is at risk even more now -- Read this book, it's great."
Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun.
Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun.
"This is not actually useful for newborns, so you can skip it until your child is a year or more."
Playful Parenting
Playful Parenting
"Helped me think about a philosophy of raising our son that would make him feel loved, secure, independent, respected. The book is a bit repetitive, but the main ideas well worth absorbing."
Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting
Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting
"super book!"
Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages (A Little Hearts Handbook)
Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages (A Little Hearts Handbook)
"A quick read, and very cheap as an e-book.  Included very practical advice on how to get through the day keeping yourself and your child happy."
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
"Already on its way to becoming a classic."
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
"Turned my head around about why so many problems happen to kids, especially in high school."
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame
"Wish I'd found this earlier than I did.  I think it would have let my little guy play independently at an earlier age, and would have better encouraged his own creativity and individuality."
Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
"Fascinating, thought-provoking. Can't go all the way with his conclusions, but definitely worth thinking about when considering school options."