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7 Best Baby Development Books (2022 Reviews)

Baby and toddler laying outside
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As a new parent, you’re bound to run into a few questions about the best way to raise a smart, happy, well-balanced child. Fortunately, there are lots of baby development books written with the intention of providing parents with credible answers to all the inquiries on their mind. Here are the seven best baby development books.

The Best Baby Development Books

  • 1. Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool by Emily Oster

    (Most data – $$)

    Why it’s great: This book, written by award-winning economist Emily Oster, covers your little one’s first days at home all the way to their first days at preschool. Offering insight and clarity into the countless, complex studies about children and childcare, this book is approachable and easy to read. The author’s goal isn’t to deliver one-size-fits-all advice, but rather provide parents with all the information they need to make the best decisions for their families.

    Keep in mind: Some readers report there is a lot of discussion on research methodology in this book.

    Good for: Parents looking for a well-researched and easy-to-read baby development book.

  • 2. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

    (Most scientific — $)

    Why it’s great: This book, written in collaboration by a neuroscientist and a parenting expert, examines children’s brain development, offering twelve strategies to foster growth and learning. Packed with guidance for a range of ages, this book also includes illustrations to share with your child. Parents praise this book for being easy to understand and useful in practice.

    Keep in mind: This book covers concepts related to psychology and neuroscience.

    Good for: Parents looking to learn more about their child’s brain development.

  • 3. The Montessori Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Nurturing Your Baby with Love, Respect, and Understanding by Simone Davies and Junnifa Uzodike

    (Most practical – $$)

    Why it’s great: This book harnesses the Montessori Method to interpret baby behavior and development. Filled with lists, line drawings, and helpful advice, this book is geared towards parents looking to simplify their approach to daily life with a little one. This book also provides a comprehensive and informative introduction to the Montessori principles related to raising children.

    Keep in mind: Some readers say this book is a bit repetitive as it reviews key concepts across a variety of situations.

    Good for: Parents interested in learning more about the Montessori Method.

  • 4. We’re Parents! The New Dad Book for Baby’s First Year by Adrian Kulp

    (Most humorous — $)

    Why it’s great: While many parenting books can feel geared towards Mom, this book comes with advice specifically for Dad. Written by a father of four, this book offers step-by-step instructions for how to tackle common parenting problems as well as includes cheat sheet checklists and discussion of developmental milestones. Covering the first year of life with a little one, this book is perfect for novice dads, who will love the funny tone and easy-to-read format.

    Keep in mind: Some readers report this book is more of a light read and not as informational as other baby development books on the market.

    Good for: Gifting to new dads as this book caters specifically to that audience.

  • 5. The Wonder Weeks: A Stress-Free Guide to Your Baby’s Behavior

    (Most trendsetting – $$)

    Why it’s great: Pipette makes a baby lotion that is soothing, natural, and features a plant-derived scent that is mild. This hypoallergenic baby lotion is made with rose, geranium, and patchouli, to give it an earthy and grounding aroma that is free from the synthetic fragrances that many other lotions contain. This lotion is great for everyday use and is perfect to apply after bath time.

    Keep in mind: This lotion has a scent but it entirely plant-based.

    Good for: Parents looking for a straight-forward guide to decoding their baby’s behavior.

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  • 6. Birth to Age 5 by the American Academy of Pediatrics

    (Best medical perspective – $$$)

    Why it’s great: Published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, this book provides advice and guidance based on current medical research. Designed as a practical parenting manual for children up to the age of five, this book covers topics ranging from breastfeeding to language development to allergies and nutrition recommendation. This book also delves into how to detect and address disabilities and injuries as well as physical, emotional, social, and cognitive developmental milestones.

    Keep in mind: Some readers report this book does not address alternative birth experiences or diverse family structures.

    Good for: Parents looking for expert advice from pediatricians.

  • 7. What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff

    (Best classic — $$)

    Why it’s great: One of the most popular and highly rated parenting books on the market, this book covers the first year of life with a new baby. Following a month-by-month format, this book breaks down baby development into bite-size pieces that parents can read one chapter at a time. Parents praise this book for being easy to read and a great resource for all the basic parenting questions.

    Keep in mind: Some readers say this book is dense and at times, redundant.

    Good for: New parents looking for a comprehensive guide to their little one’s first year of life.

Best Overall

The Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool by Emily Oster is our overall top recommendation. It's the highest quality product we have found with the most affordable price making it the best value on our list..

FAQs about Baby Development Books

  • 1. What are some of the topics baby development books include?

    Baby development books cover a wide range of topics. While some books are geared towards providing a more general overview of a baby’s development, other books focus on specific concepts or theories, such as brain development or behavior patterns. Some baby development books follow a specific approach, such as the Montessori Method, while others lean on guidance from medical experts or evidence-based studies. Most books are written to answer questions relevant to all parents, including those about basic infant care as well as a baby’s physical and neurological development. Chapter content often covers sleep training, eating solids, and even potty training.

  • 2. Do I really need a baby development book?

    It can be tough to make time to read as a new parent and may feel overwhelming to come face-to-face with a book full of dos and don’ts. Fortunately, most baby books are broken down into bite-size chapters that can be read one day at a time or as you run into specific questions. Most books on the market today don’t parent-shame but strive to provide support and guidance when you need it most. While it’s tempting to turn to Google as your sole source of parenting information, not everything on the internet can be trusted to be credible. Fortunately, baby development books are written by experts in the field and include information that has been vetted and reviewed.

  • 3. How do I know which baby development book is right for me?

    This mostly depends on your preference and what questions you have about your baby’s development. Some baby development books focus specifically on the first year of life while others offer insight into a child’s development from infancy through toddlerhood. Some baby development books explore brain development or behavior patterns while others seek to answer more general questions regarding childcare basics. Once you’ve decided on a genre or topic, you’ll want to look for a style of writing that works for you. Some books are written with a tone that’s approachable or funny, while other strive to be more formal.

  • 4. Which baby development book is best for new parents?

    New parents will benefit from any book about baby development as this entire genre is designed to prepare and educate parents about raising children. That being said, it may be useful for new parents to start with a title that follows a baby’s development during their first year or focuses on the basics of caring for infants.

  • 5. How many baby development books should I read?

    This is entirely up to you! While baby development books may all seem the same on the surface, the truth is that there is a lot of nuance to the genre. Some parents will like having one book that provides information about a variety of ages and phases while other parents will decide to read several books, each of which caters to a more specific sub-topic. Mostly, you’ll want to think about what kind of information you’re seeking from a baby development book and whether it can be found in just one book or will require reading several.


Think of baby development books as the instruction manual you wished your baby came with. Written by experts and based on research and practical knowledge, these books are designed to guide parents through their little one’s development, step-by-step. While some books are a straight-forward discussions on the best practices for basic childcare, other books offer new parenting strategies to nurture and support your little one’s growth. Whether you’re a first-time parent or a veteran parent looking for a fresh approach, baby development books are sure to provide helpful guidance and practical strategies to fine-tune your parenting technique.