While there is nothing that can take the place of experience where taking care of a tiny human is concerned, it really does help to be as prepared as you can possibly be when your spawn descends on you. 

In those early hours when you've been up for almost 48 hours, and the little monster won't stop screaming, being armed with as much theory as possible helps to give you a mental checklist to run through. Of course, there are days when that just won't help, and you will want to kill yourself and your child in a murder-suicide, but hopefully the fact that these books were written to be sleep-deprivation friendly will help ease the burden a little!

This list is arranged in order of what you will need. Hopefully you will read the first and third before the baby comes, and not have to speed read them in the dead of night while breastfeeding your baby because she decided to kick her way out early

1) The Happiest Baby on the Block - Harvey Karp, M.D.


This book is the first thing you (AND YOUR PARTNER) should read when you find out you're pregnant. Then read it again, and again, and again until you have committed it to memory. It works, and you won't see how well until you try it for yourself with the screaming little monster who just won't stop.

Essentially, it details Dr. Karp's 5 S's baby calming method which entails swaddling, side position, shushing, swinging and sucking.

The book details each of these, and the different variants of them you could employ. Of course, the method here will only work until your baby is 3 months old because it activates their in-built calming reflex. It truly is magical and it makes me sad that this book isn't tucked into the new baby kit hospitals give out. I really, really wish I had discovered this earlier than I did, but better late than never.

2) The Shit No One Tells You - Dawn Dais


This book took me through my long nights of marathon feeding sessions, and a baby that just hated sleep. It's like having a best friend who tells it like it is, and it really helps to have some commiseration while you're trapped in your private little torture chamber with your tiny torturer. 

It's written hilariously with a lot of truths in-built, and it just eases the severity of what you're going through enough to stop you from selling your child on eBay.

3) Baby 411 - Dr. Ari Brown and Denise Fields


This is a truly excellent reference book that's extremely user-friendly in that it has a question and answer approach to it. It deals with all your major questions, and ensures that it's easy to refer to should you need a quick response to something in the dead of the night (always the case, isn't it?). It's co-written by a medical doctor, as well as a parent so it takes into account both perspectives. 

4) Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - Marc Weissbluth, M.D.


This is the book you're going to need when your baby hits 3 or 4 months and becomes too damn heavy for your to rock to sleep. It's what you're going to want to read when the advice in The Happiest Baby on the Block runs its course.

While I lucked out and didn't really have to implement nights of hearing the baby scream her head off (please don't stop sleeping just to spite me, Megatron), this was the least averse method I read up on, and it seems to have had excellent success with all and sundry.

What I liked about it was that it covers baby sleep cues, so you know when your baby is getting tired or overstimulated before they start wailing inconsolably. Following this advice, it's helped me to put her to bed before she gets overtired and then becomes too difficult to sleep on her own. 

5) Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care - Benjamin Spock, M.D.


This is a really good all-rounder because it will take your baby through to their teens. Dr Spock was the original touter of formula as the cure-all, and for that reason, he's gotten a bad rep, but in truth, the book is really accepting of your choice of parenting style. 

I like that it provides brief glimpses of what's to come, and you can easily refer to the chapters corresponding to your child's present development in 3-month snippets. It also has a chapter on weaning, which was really helpful as a reference point. This book is updated every few years, so definitely pick up the latest copy when you get round to it. 



I really found all of them very useful because I was wholly unprepared to be a parent. I read most of these on the Kindle app on my phone during the first couple of months of having the baby because I hadn't gotten round to it before she was born. I don't recommend you do this, though it does help to kill the time!

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