When I became a mom, I felt all the feels — extreme happiness, complete exhaustion, and anxiety that I had no idea what I was doing! I hadn’t spent much time around babies, so in addition to turning to family and friends, I sought out the experts — via parenting books — for some sage parenting advice. Not one of these books has had all the answers for my parenting conundrums, but I do like reading about different perspectives and ideas on child development. Here are the books that have helped me parent my son through different stages of his life so far.

The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp, M.D.

I started reading this book a few days after my son was born and found Karp’s five S strategies (swaddle, side or stomach, shush, swing, suck) to work well for him. Basically, we need to recreate a womb-like atmosphere for newborns in order for them to calm down. I was definitely using this advice many times at 3 a.m.!

Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work” by Jessica Shortall

When I was returning to work after maternity leave I wanted to continue breastfeeding but felt a little overwhelmed with the idea of pumping. This book is a great guide to help navigate all the issues with pumping at work. It also has some hilarious pumping stories from real life moms.

The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5” by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack

For me, the hardest part about parenting an infant was lack of sleep. When my son was around 4 months old I decided it was time to start sleep training. He would be starting daycare soon, and I wanted to get him on a more consistent schedule. “The Sleepeasy Solution” laid out all the steps for successful sleep training and had advice for lots of different issues that could arise. Sleep training is not easy, and I know it is not for every family. But it worked for my son, and now he sleeps 11-12 hours through the night and takes consistent naps every day!

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame” by Janet Lansbury

I found this book extremely helpful in dealing with my son’s “terrible twos” behaviors. We all know toddlers are going to have tantrums, and this book helped me discover strategies to handle these behaviors in a calm and empathetic way. I feel more confident in my ability to set limits while also connecting emotionally with my child.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

I read this book before I had my son (I was a primary school teacher for nine years), and it continues to be one of my favorite parenting books. The techniques taught in this book can be applied to all ages of children and even adults. It gives tons of helpful strategies for communicating effectively with your child in order to have a more respectful and enjoyable relationship.

I’m always on the lookout for more great books to read. What are your favorite parenting books?