Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.0.48″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]

Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms and What to Expect Isn't One of themWe are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

You know the classic pregnancy book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and while it’s full of information I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to read that book when it comes to your first pregnancy. I founds when I was pregnant with my first that What to Expect kind of scared me; it almost had too much information and when you’re a newly pregnant mama, too much information can be a bad thing. I’ve compiled a list of the top ten pregnancy book for first time moms that I think is worth your time.



Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms

Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too! 

To the point but friendly this pregnancy book has a way of being authoritative in a non-condescending way. Publisher’s Weekly said, “…the book contains at least one feature that most pregnant women will find indispensable: charts that indicate how to handle ‘troublesome signs and symptoms’ during each three week period. For example, if a woman has slight spotting during the first four weeks of pregnancy, the chart tells her to notify a doctor during her next hospital visit. But if she has any bleeding at all during weeks 29 to 32, the chart indicates that she should tell her doctor immediately.”

The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts (Sears Parenting Library)  

I like Dr. Sears and for the most part adhere Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms to a lot of his practices so for me, this book is a given. As a mother who gained a whopping 70 lbs during her first pregnancy I so wish I would’ve read this kind of a book when I was pregnant for the first time. Not only does Sears and the contributing authors look at nutrition but they look at all sides of pregnancy in a very easy to read book. 










Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms

The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (Sears Parenting Library) 

Written by the same authors, Dr. William Sears MD, and Martha Sears, RN, of The Healthy Pregnancy Book I appreciate this book because it gives every single option you have as a first time mom when it comes to labor and delivery. It also does it in a very non-judgmental way. If you are aiming for a pain medication free childbirth, Dr. Sears and his wife, Martha Sears, give you the ins and outs of your options, as well as talks with dads about what to expect and how to be helpful before, during and after L&D. said, “In this helpful resource guide, the Searses cover the gamut of possibilities, and teach readers what they need to know to take control of their own birthings. The Birth Book is divided into three parts: ‘Preparing for Birth,’ ‘Easing Pain in Labor,’ and ‘Experiencing Birth.'”

Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth for Mother and Baby 

I did not try to go all natural with any of my labor and deliveries; it wasn’t something I Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Momsaspired to do either. For some reason though, there are a lot of books out there on how to have a natural, medication free L&D experience and there’s little to no resources on every option that’s available for first time expecting mothers. I like what Jeanne Faulkner has to say and how she says it.

Pregnancy: The Ultimate Survival Guide to Pregnancy and Birth 

This book was very interesting to me because it’s written by a psychologist, Dr. Jane Smart, and while it is by no means Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Momsa medical book I think there’s something to be said about having a different perspective to all of the emotions that go along with pregnancy. I would recommend getting this book as a companion to Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy 

This book is a stitch! If you’re an avid reader and want another book to read that’s related to your pregnancy as a first time mom this is definitely it! Be Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Momsforewarned that this is not written by a doctor or midwife so you should not think of the advice given in the book at medical, at all. There are over one million copies that have been purchased so I guess you could say that it’s a good book.

The Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms

Belly Laughs, 10th anniversary edition: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth 

Jenny McCarthy’s national best seller is a favorite among most moms-to-be. I haven’t read it but a few of my friends have and they swear by the honesty that McCarthy displays in the book. Booklist reviews, “What’s noble about this book (yes, noble) is that women who find these topics too embarrassing to bring up now have a place to read about them in a frank and open discussion. After all, they’re as real as morning sickness, and McCarthy treats them with a candor that borders on crude but that is refreshing, and, ultimately, necessary. Not to mention funny.”

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: Updated With New Material 

If you want to have an all natural, pain medication free labor and delivery, Ina May Gaskin’s book is the way to go. Laura used Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Momsthis book, along with birthing classes to help her prepare for her first L&D. Ina May is an expert midwife with 30 years of experience.

Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time MomsWhat to Eat When You’re Pregnant: A Week-by-Week Guide to Support Your Health and Your Baby’s Development 

I love when books have clear, concise purposes. Take this book, for example, it’s clear what the goal of the book is. I know what to expect from it and what I will gain by reading it. There’s also 50 recipes for mom to cook from so she can guarantee that she’s getting the best for her developing child. Dr. Mark Hyman says, “New research shows that when you’re eating for two, your diet can have profound affects on your baby. In this smart and easy-to-follow guide–which also features simple and delicious recipes–Dr. Nicole Avena tells moms-to-be how to give their babies a healthy start in life by eating foods that support baby’s development and keep mom feeling nourished and satisfied. A copy of this book should be on every pregnant woman’s bookshelf.”

The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be 

You can’t forget Dad! A friend of mine recommended this book to my husband when I was pregnant for the first time. My Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Momshusband isn’t a reader, he’d rather listen to an audio book, but I skimmed through the pages and from what I read this is an easy read. It’s important for the dad-to-be to be just as knowledgeable to what’s happening to his partner’s body and the child developing inside.

So drop what you’re doing and do a little shopping, or check out your library to see if they have any of these titles. What’s your favorite pregnancy book?

Top Ten Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms and What to Expect Isn't One of them


To the Exclusively Pumping Mama: A Standing Ovation

To the Exclusively Pumping Mom

I have to write this out, say it out loud and applaud a few special moms living day in and day out the way we all do. Only, they do it differently than I ever did. How? Why am I feeling like giving every single one of these mothers a standing ovation? Two words: Exclusive Pumping.

That’s right. For some reason, lately I’ve come to know of more and more women around me who made the choice, when the going got tough to exclusively pump. I looked into exclusively pumping when my oldest, Brennan, was only a few weeks old. He just couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding and I was a brand new mother. I had no clue what I was doing and thought that my baby would magically latch on with ease. I was not prepared for the difficulty of a disorganized eater; one who could not coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing. So I looked into exclusively pumping. I tried to do it actually. That last for about half a day.

Exclusively pumping mom
Photo by LOvB Photography

The reason why this has been on my heart lately is because when I’ve been talking with my mommy friends who exclusively pumped I sense this twinge of guilt coming from their mouths. It’s like they feel like they aren’t good enough moms because they are using or had to use a breast pump to feed their baby breast milk. That couldn’t be farther from the truth and I would like to say that I think you’re more of a mom because you have done what you had to do for your baby. You didn’t give up. The going got tough and you know what? You said, “Fine. Bring it on. I’ll add on a pumping schedule on top of a feeding schedule. I’ll bring on those bottles and pump accessory parts that have to be cleaned round the clock. I do it for my child.”

Hold your head up high, woman. Don’t think for a second that this isn’t good enough because the original plan wasn’t working. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Do you hear me saying this?

Exclusively pumping is not a failure in the scorecard of motherhood.

Exclusively pumping is not a failure in the scorecard of motherhood.

P.S. There really isn’t a motherhood scorecard; I made that up. And those of you mamas who use formula are not failures either. [At this point, Bert, stands up from her chair and looks at you in the eye to say, “You aren’t a failure for using formula and I really think you’re an awesome mom because you are keeping that child healthy and loving that baby. This post is for the exclusively pumping mamas though, okay?]

At the end of the day, we’re all trying to do what’s best for our children. Whether it’s physical challenges that makes conventional breastfeeding not possible or emotional challenges that make it difficult, you are still doing what is best for your child. I applaud you, Mama, for taking on extra work. For not only giving your sweet baby that bottle of breast milk but for also pumping that breast milk, cleaning the parts, storing the milk and then starting it all over again in two hours. If I could see you now, I would be standing up from my chair, huge cheesy grin on my face applauding you and saying, “Bravo! Bravo!” Then I would give you a big ‘ol hug, and I must confess, I’m not a hugger. You deserve it though. Cheers to you, lady, cheers to you!

Pumping breastmilk
Photo by LOvB Photography

Think a mama could use some encouragement? Pass it on! Use the social sharing buttons to encourage another mama!

Five products toddlers need to aid sleep because if that toddler isn’t sleeping you’ll be miserable

Five Products Toddlers Need to Aid Sleep

Just when you think you have it all together, your sweet little baby is now a toddler. Toddler sleep, while you may think is not as important as baby sleep, you’ll find that it’s still just as important as it was when your fiesty threenager was just a little two-month-old. What’s more than the occasional “mine” confrontation and hitting phase are the common problems that come with toddler sleep or lack thereof. That, my friend, is enough to make you want to drink yourself to blissdom but don’t do that! If you aren’t familiar with the common toddler sleep problems read the blog post here covering the four most common toddler sleep problems. You can’t be yourself lady if you feel like you’re losing your mind because no one in the house is getting sleep!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

How much sleep does my toddler need?

By the time your baby is a toddler he or she will need about 10 to 14 hours of sleep total. Now, that doesn’t all happen at once, although for some toddlers they can do one long stretch of nighttime sleep with a shorter nap. For the most part, your toddler will sleep about 12 hours at night (7:00pm – 7:00am) and take one or two naps during the day. Most 18-month-olds are down to one afternoon nap and the majority of 24-month-olds are taking only one afternoon nap.

How much sleep does my toddler need?

When should my toddler go to bed? 

It’s really up to you, the parent but my favorite sleep authority, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, suggests that toddlers go to bed no later than 8:00pm. Now, if your toddler is still napping then you can probably sneak in something a little past 8:30pm but understand that sleep begets sleep.

What products will really help my toddler sleep better?

Toddler Pillow from Little Sleepy Head – Last fall we reviewed Little Sleepy Head and Abigail said she loves their pillows. What sets Little Sleepy Head apart from other toddler pillows is their Hypoallergenic Cotton, being made in the USA, its easy to travel size and it holds its shape over time. Read the full review here

little sleepy head toddler sleep aids

Books that help toddlers calm down for bedtime. – In the previous blog post and Facebook live regarding toddlers and their sleep common sleep issues, I talked about setting a routine and making those minutes even the hour before lights out, a time of calming down and relaxing. Reading books that have a soothing rhythm and bedtime stories that talk about falling asleep peacefully are excellent to add into your routine if you haven’t done so already. Here are a few that I like:

Books that help toddlers calm down

OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light  – A common problem toddlers have is staying in bed once it’s the wee hours of the morning. This is where the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock comes in handy. The clock not only acts as an alarm clock but it’s also a nightlight. Then the 4.5″ bedside clock with soft yellow night-light glows green when it’s OK for your child to get out of bed. Other versions include My Tot ClockKids Sleep Trainer Night Light and Bluetooth Speaker – Pam The Penguin and Claessens’ Kids Kid’Sleep My First Alarm Clock and Sleep Trainer.

OK to Wake Clock

Nightlight – Not every toddler needs a nightlight, however, if you have a kiddo who is spooked by darkness then finding a nightlight that isn’t terribly bright is extremely important. Many of the clocks that I listed above can double as a nightlight. Here are a few of my favorite standalone nightlights:

  1. Starry Sky Rotating Projection by Bananas Over Baby – Portable Device Powered By Battery Or USB
  2. ANTEQI Carton Night Light – Features Dual Light Modes: Warm White Light and 9-Color Flashing Modes, Sensitive Tap Light Control, BPA-free Washable Soft Silicone, 12-Hour Portable Usage Supports All-Night Companion, Handheld Size and Standing Design for Flexible Placement
  3. Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light, Turtle – Projects a complete starry night sky onto the walls and ceiling of any room, three soothing color options blue, green and amber to create magical, tranquil environments and 5 minute timer ensures complete darkness during child’s deep sleep

Nightlights to Help Aid Toddler Sleep

Transitional Object – If your child has a transitional object such as a teddy bear, blanket, these objects can really help your toddler sleep longer in the nighttime. Read more about what a transitional object is here.

The main thing to remember with toddler sleep problems is that usually it’s a phase so if that means you keep reminding yourself, “It’s not going to be forever.” You will get through this and thankfully there are a few products out there that will help make that happen.

First Time Mom's Five Products Toddlers Need to Aid Sleep

Plan the Perfect Baby Registry with Target

Plan the Perfect Baby Registry with Target (1)
This post has been written in partnership with P&G. All opinions are 100% my own.

I wish that I lived in the same town as all of my family members but growing up in the military and moving every two to three years didn’t really make that desire possible. Planning ahead for anything was challenging. My wedding was out of state for the majority of my guests. No one was able to attend any bridal showers for me either because they were all traveling for the wedding. When my husband and I got pregnant with our first baby I so wanted to look at all of the cute boutique stores but you know what? Registering at a store like that just wasn’t logical for us and it certainly wasn’t easy for extended family who wanted to bless us with gifts. You know what is practically everywhere? Target. For me, when I was registering for baby items my go-to place to register was Target.

Target Baby Registry Why

It’s not that I don’t like other stores but honestly? Who isn’t absolutely in love with Target? They’re nationwide and can ship anywhere and for free when you order $35 or more. Their registry was really easy to use, not only for me but for my less than tech savvy relatives. Plus, little known fact, Target does have price matching. No joke. It’s part of their registry so it’s a no brainer!

Another new little treat for Target Baby Registry users is the welcome kit every parent-to-be receives. It’s full of $50 worth of coupons and samples. I cannot tell you how many products I ended up using because I received a sample as a newly pregnant mom-to-be. I received a Pampers sample in the hospital when my son was born and to this day I prefer Pampers Swaddlers over other newborn diaper brands.

Actually speaking of Pampers, did you know that the average newborn uses approximately 320 diapers in the first month? I’m not kidding. I cannot tell you the number of times I was changing my daughter and she peed right on the new diaper. I had to toss that not-even-worn diaper out because you cannot put a baby in an already soiled diaper! With Target’s Baby Registry they help kick start your registry with a few must-have items like diapers. Just don’t forget to add more to your registry in different sizes as well. You’re going to need them, trust me!

Plan the perfect baby registry with Target


Not sure what to put on your registry? It’s completely overwhelming how much you can put on your registry too. Like baby socks, do you really need them? It’s debatable. Find out what seasoned moms chose as their must-have items in the Mom Picks section! You’ll find it under Starter Ideas on your Baby Registry!

Oh yeah and you also get 20% off of your remaining registry items after you’ve had your baby when you sign up for a Target REDcard (or 15% without). That means that if no one else saw the meaning behind that giant teddy bear you found on, you can buy it for at least 15% off. I get you, Mama, you want to keep track of baby’s month progression. Don’t worry, I’m stackin’ what you’re bailing so just go and ahead and buy that giant bear. It is a brilliant idea and for 15% off, plus another 5% if you have Target’s REDcard, you’re the real winner here.

Tell, me, have you registered yet and if so where are you registered?

The First Time I Ever Breastfed a Baby

The First Time I Ever Breastfed a BabyI have partnered with; all opinions are 100% my own.

I did everything a first time expectant mother should do; I went to birth classes and like the dutiful mother-to-be that I was I attended breastfeeding class. Not because I wanted to attend one more class but I just knew that it was the right thing to do. I mean how hard can breastfeeding be? I had nipples and as far as I could tell two working breasts. I mean sure they hadn’t been put to the test in any way other than pleasure but breastfeeding can’t be that difficult. The baby will just naturally take to my breast and voilà! Baby’s fed and happy and I will just begin to lose hordes of weight.

The First Time I Ever Breastfed a Baby

The First Time I Ever Breastfed a Baby

The first time I ever breastfed a baby did not go the way it did in the video I watched in my breastfeeding class.

The first time I ever breastfed a baby, I had no idea that my baby wouldn’t be able to latch on.

The first time I ever breastfed a baby I needed help from my nurse.

The first time I ever breastfed a baby I sat and cried because nothing was working and I felt like a complete failure.

The first time I ever breastfed a baby I cursed the day I decided to breastfeed my baby.

The first time I ever breastfed a baby they told me it would get better.

…but it didn’t get any better.

The First Time I Ever Breastfed a Baby
Photography by Photography by Nealy

Every time my son would cry while we were still in the hospital I dreaded what was coming next. “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “He’s hungry…again.” I would press the call button on my bed because I needed help from my nurse. I just could not get my son to latch to my breast. I waited patiently as my husband held our son and the nurses would come with a new contraption to try to get him to understand how to nurse. Syringes with this sugar water solution, manually compressing the colostrum out of my breast so that he would get a taste of what was coming and then open his mouth wide enough. Every single time we used all of the tricks in the books but it never really did get any better. Then the time came to leave the hospital. I sobbed uncontrollably. I couldn’t believe that they were sending me home with this tiny baby whom I couldn’t feed! Were they crazy?

Finally getting help

Things only continued to get worse and by day three my son had lost a significant amount of his birth weight, had jaundice and needed a bilirubin bed. The home health nurse who came to visit us watch me try to feed my son and she watched us fail miserably. I sat and sobbed, feeling not only like a failure but also like a complete basket case because I couldn’t stop crying. The home health nurse was so sweet though and she offered me something that dramatically changed my breastfeeding journey with my son: A nipple shield.

I used the nipple shield and supplemented with formula after every feeding and my son gained enough weight back in time that he didn’t need to be admitted to the hospital because of his jaundice. I had never heard of a nipple shield before so I entrusted the advice of good old Google. I never should’ve done that.

The First Time I Ever Breastfed a Baby
Photography by Photography by Nealy

Every single article that I read said that nipple shields were quite possibly the worst thing you could use when trying to breastfeed your baby. Not only would my son never learn how to properly latch to my breast but the plastic that the shield is made of would take away any benefit my breastmilk had. Sounds crazy, right? It was. The articles I read made it sound like I just needed to give up because my efforts were worthless.

My trip to see an angel…the lactation consultant.

In a last act of desperation my husband and I went in with our son to see a lactation consultant. This was it, the final test in whether or not I could be breastfeeding this child. I shamefully pulled out my nipple shield as she asked to watch how I feed my baby. I started sobbing when she asked me what my concerns were. I told her that I was so sorry and that my body was broken; I couldn’t feel my baby by myself I cried to her. She looked at me with these empathetic eyes and rubbed my son’s full head of newborn hair.

“Oh honey,” she said, “This is not your fault at all. The problem is your son, not your body. He is a disorganized sucker.” She had me watch how he struggled, without the nipple shield, to suck, swallow and breathe. She was right. He couldn’t figure it out on his own but when we added the nipple shield back into our routine he got it. I asked her if it was really okay to use the nipple shield and then told her my findings from my extensive Google research. She reassured me that it was really fine and a lot of the information out on the internet was from old studies. She encouraged me to use the nipple shield and said that as long as he was eating that is what mattered. Then she gave me her number and told me to call her whenever I had questions. She wrote down notes and handed me a copy. I referenced those notes more than once over the course of a month. I even called her once or twice and much to my surprise she called me to check up on me.

The First Time I Ever Breastfed a Baby
Alexis Colon; photograhy by Kate Martin Photography

A word of advice for you…

Don’t give up if you really want to breastfeed your baby.

Take the advice of lactation consultants. If they are anything but kind and gentle find a new one.

Do not Google breastfeeding problems; you’ll feel like a failure especially if you’re already in a fragile head space.

Understand that struggling with breastfeeding is fairly normal, not every baby gets it naturally. Not every situation will be addressed in the breastfeeding class you take.

Be flexible.

Don’t be hard on yourself.

Fed is best.

Would it be amazing is every mother could easily breastfeed their baby without any problems? Yes. Sometimes that isn’t possible though and that’s okay.

Be open to suggestions.

Accept the support you need from those around you.

Do not belittle yourself, you’ve grown a human inside you for the last nine months for goodness sakes!

First Time Mom Advice: The First Time I Ever Breastfed a Baby (1)

Have you struggled with breastfeeding? What did you do to overcome that struggle?