Honestly, I can't recommend any pregnancy books out there. I haven't seen any with valuable information that's not in a zillion places on the internet. Join your local TheMommiesNetwork.com affiliate, check out BabyFit.com and use common sense.
Okay, you really can't do without a printed book? William and Martha Sears have one; I haven't read it but I've found them pretty trustworthy--they're a doctor and nurse, and they do have six kids. If you're interested in avoiding unnecessary perinatal interventions, read Pushed by Jennifer Block--but not too close to your due date, because it's a little scary.
Since you do have more time to read before your little one arrives than after, though, I recommend reading lots of parenting books while you're expecting. There are so many books available that you could literally start reading the day you find out you're pregnant and not be done by the kid's high school graduation. Here's a start:
If you don't fancy dinnertime battles or caving to the chicken-nuggets-and-Lunchables lifestyle, Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter is a great guide to child nutrition and feeding.
The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp is brilliant. Unless you have the most easygoing child on the planet, this is a must-read--and one to keep so you can refer to it a lot. (A lot of people recommend The Happiest Baby on the Block as well.) If you later notice your child is... high-maintenance (trust me, you'll know by his or her second birthday!), see also Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.
Curious about ? The Attachment Parenting Book (William & Martha Sears) is the definitive guide; think of it as a menu, not a set of commandments.
Diaper-Free Before Three by Jill Lekovic is quite good. If you plan to work full-time, though, this won't work for you.
Last Child in the Woods by . A thought-provoking look at why kids today have a "nature-deficit" problem, why it matters and what to do about it.
You may be spending several months (or with a high-needs baby and little family support nearby, even years) in survival mode, so think now about your intentions for your child's moral development. Several books that raise interesting ideas or methods:The book I wish someone had handed me the day my baby was born (thirty-seven days early): any premature baby book. You don't need to run out and buy one if you're not expecting your baby to be a preemie, but definitely know how to get your hands on a copy of the Sears' or some other preemie guide quickly, because earlybirds are not just smaller versions of a standard-issue newborn. (Does your library carry some? Your closest bookstore?) Don't count on the hospital to educate you. Likewise, be able to get a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and know how to reach your local La Leche League chapter and/or a couple of lactation consultants.
You may notice there's nothing here about sleep. That is because no sleep book was helpful for us (and when I read Raising Your Spirited Child, I saw I was not alone!).A run-down of the big names:
Read all you like, find a pediatrician you trust, and by all means be informed--but some of your most important parenting lessons will come from your children. Pay attention and you will learn all the time. :)
- Some people swear by The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley (if you read one of her books, you've read them all); it might've been useful if I'd read it sooner.
- The Baby Whisperer was not compatible with my baby!
- The Ferber method just seems unnatural to me--but if you're going to use it, at least read the book first!
- Babywise seemed borderline crazy (but the Ezzos' toddler book is surprisingly sensible).
- Polly Moore's The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program looks promising, though I can't vouch for it personally.