Baby's First Year: 10 Best Books

Mother sitting on mat with baby and reading a picture book.

It's been said that the first breath of a newborn infant is enough to take away the breath of its parents upon first seeing it.

Having a baby changes everything for a parent. And parents have to contend with all the changes their infant will endure during its first year of physical growth and development.

The average weight of a newborn infant triples by its first birthday

Most babies grow taller by 50% in their first year, almost to a foot in height. And a one-year-old's brain has grown to a 60% size equivalent of a full-grown adult's brain.

One-year-old babies should be learning to stand or walk. And it is usually by one-year-old that babies begin uttering their first words or word fragments.

Most babies learn to use hand, bodily, and facial mannerisms to communicate, like shaking their head or finger to say "no," or nodding to say "yes."

If you have gotten through your first year as a parent, then congratulations! Still, new parents have a lot to learn about caring for their babies. Even veteran parents can always learn new things.

And since new parents aren't given helmets and a guidebook after birth, many turn to books on parenting to cope.

There are many books on parenting that can help new parents learn how to deal with babies. And many are designed to be read to babies and help them get interested in reading early.

Since there are so many books about parenting and dealing with babies out there, we want to help make the process easier. Here is a list of the ten best books to help parents raise babies during their first year.

123 Baby Box is an innovative subscription box service that sends monthly boxes of items instrumental to a baby's growth. Contact us today.

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The Best Parenting Books for Baby's First Year

The first year of parenting is an incredible time in the life of parents. 

But they also can be terrifying and unpredictable.

First-year parents are adjusting to their new roles. First-year parents don't sleep often. And they have to master the art of changing diapers efficiently and often.

One of the scariest parts of being a new parent in the first or second month is learning how to travel with a small baby.

It's hard to be a parent. Parents are basically learning on the job.

To make the experience easier and more, here are ten book suggestions for parents raising a baby during the first year.

The books listed here are Audible versions of their corresponding print book. The first five books are on parenting advice and the second set of five are for reading to babies.


1. What to Expect The First Year 

Baby laying on floor reading picture book while surrounded by toys.

"What to Expect The First Year" is a 704-page parenthood instruction book designed to help prepare new parents for the first year of a baby's life. It was written with the accumulated experiences of ten authors who gathered their parenting knowledge to create this book.

However, if you don't have time to peruse 704-pages, a 40-minute Audible version of this important book is also available.

This book comprehensively teaches parents how to travel with a baby, sleep enticement strategies, transition to solid foods, a breastfeeding guide, and a manual on what to do when a baby gets sick. 

"What to Expect The First Year" has reportedly sold over 11 million copies and has helped many parents get through their baby's first year.


2. The Confident Parent

"The Confident Parent: A Pediatrician's Guide to Caring for Your Little One - Without Losing Your Joy, Your Mind, or Yourself" is an 8-hour Audible book written by four doctors and parenting experts.

This book helps new parents gain confidence and feel less overwhelmed by newfound parenthood. 

"The Confident Parent" doles out helpful advice to help parents banish insecurity, cut down on confusion, and parent without overthinking.

3. Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting

This selection is the Audible version of "Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool," written by Emily Oster. 

Many parenting advice books are well-meaning but can offer generalized advice sometimes. Oster's book is designed to help new parents make critical and necessary decisions relative to their circumstances.

Oster used scientific data compiled by herself and based upon her experience as a mother that can be helpful to any parent who wants to develop their parenting style and not just follows general advice.

4. The Happiest Baby on the Block 

"The Happiest Baby on the Block" is an 8-hour Audible version of the book written by Dr. Harvey Karp.

Dr. Karp is an expert on baby care renowned for helping new parents learn how to soothe cranky babies and get them to sleep. This book also has advice on sharing a bed with babies, breastfeeding, and managing the risk of SIDS.

5. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

"Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" is a 12-hour and 40-minute Audible version of the book written by Tracey Hogg and Melinda Blau.

Blau is a parenting expert specializing in helping new parents learn how to communicate with their infants in the first year. 

The Best Picture Books for Baby's First Year

An infant has over five trillion functioning synapses in its brain when it is born. 

So, here are five of the best picture books for reading to a baby during its first year.

1. Goodnight Moon

"Goodnight Moon" is a 4-minute Audible version of the picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown.

It is about a baby rabbit that learns to complacently fall to sleep about becoming familiar with the surroundings of its house.

2. Guess How Much I Love You

"Guess How Much I Love You" is the title of a 26-minute Audible version of the picture book written by various authors.

It is about a group of young animals who get into adventures learning about their environment.

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is an 8-minute Audible version of the picture book written by Eric Carle.

It is about a hungry caterpillar who eats a lot of fruit, falls into a cocooned slumber, and then awakens as a butterfly.

4. Go, Dog. Go!

"Go, Dog. Go!" is the 6-minute Audible version of the book written by P.D. Eastman. It is a 50-year-old classic edited by Dr. Seuss.

It is a humorous book about several dogs who operate vehicles and hurry about culminating in a party.   

5. Where is the Green Sheep?

"Where is the Green Sheep" is a 32-page picture book written by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.

It is about various colored sheep frolicking about and having fun. It is designed to get babies to differentiate colors and use cognitive skills to find the green sheep.

Find the Best Baby Books in 123 Babybox Subscription Box

Father with baby in his lap as he reads the baby a picture book.

If you want a simplified way to find the best baby books for parents and babies alike, subscribe to 123 Baby Box subscription boxes.

123 Baby Box is an innovative subscription box service that sends up to six baby-related items to your door monthly. Sign up today!

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