Meg Suderman's son Harvey was just born in March, but she's already learned an important lesson since he arrived. Like most new moms, Meg sometimes gets nervous about bringing her son out in public in case he cries or she isn't able to "maneuver the stroller gracefully enough in a cramped, hipster cafe," she says. But that's the funny thing about expectations: Meg can still feel anxious, but she's learned to appreciate the unexpected kindness of strangers, too.
"I'll be surprised by who takes the time to stop and coo over my child," she says. When she and her husband were out for a walk in their adopted hometown of Vancouver, Canada, they were congratulated by a stranger who rolled down his car window to offer the kind word. And then there was the teenager who was listening to loud music, and when he noticed Harvey asleep in his stroller "he suddenly looked totally aghast and said, 'Oh no! Is the baby sleeping?!" while hurriedly turning down the volume.
Lessons abound when a new baby arrives, whether they come in the form of serendipitous goodwill or hard-earned victories. And if you're a new mom who hasn't yet experienced what Meg describes, let us do something to fix that. We reached out to the MyDomaine Moms Facebook Group (where Meg is a member) to ask for any page-turners that made motherhood easier. And guess what? Strangers came together to provide eight books new moms should read and why they were so helpful. Read on to see why we think Meg is on to something.
"This is my go-to book for nurturing integrated brain development at all stages of life. It has pictures I can show to my child and even a refrigerator cheat sheet. It has helped me educate myself on how to be a better parent and what behaviors are normal along each developmental stage." — Shelley C.
"It's so informative and plans out everything for you, but the best part is it really works. I had several friends who used this with great success, but it wasn't until my sister did that she then bought it for me. I had a very fussy baby with colic, so this book really saved my life. It has great information around what to feed a baby when, with sleep schedules to follow. She also has a Facebook community you can join and ask questions. It's very active and supportive." — Sacha S.
"It saved me from losing it with my baby and taught me to really understand baby sleep. There's also an amazing Facebook group by the same name made up of admins and members who generously help new moms (and repeat moms) with their baby sleep issues." — Lin K.
"Helpful because it makes sense of our own experience as children and how that experience could impact parenting. It's hopeful and helpful." — Allison G.
"Another really helpful book for the intense first month of having a new baby was The Happiest Baby on the Block. It has some solid go-to's for how to soothe fresh babes." — Cara R.
"The book provides hands-on fun ways to help understand my baby. It explains how babies develop and includes ages 0 to 24 months. It would be of interest to any parent, I think, but its evidence-based approach has been particularly fun to explore for me as a mum with a science background and my own mum, who is a physicist!" — Miranda G.
"Bringing up Bébé was great. It set the tone for anyone who doesn't want to be a major helicopter parent but instead let their child have some space to figure things on their own." — Cara R.
"My midwife recommended this to me after the birth of my second son. Originally published in 1994, Lamott's take on the insecurities and delights of the first year of parenthood are timeless." — Talia K.