You may hear the practice of Natural Parenting referred to by many different names, including Conscious Parenting, and Gentle Parenting.
Whatever you choose to call it, if you’re an expectant parent who is inclined towards parenting based on mutual love, respect, and emotional as well as physical wellbeing, you may be a Natural Parent.
Natural Parenting, on the surface, might sound like the easiest thing in the world. After all, the clue is in the name - what could come more naturally than being nurturing and sensitive to your child’s needs?
However, the concept of Natural Parenting is based on decades (centuries, even) of psychological and physiological research, and it really helps to understand the science and psychology behind Natural Parenting in advance.
Moreover, researching Natural Parenting can help you to choose which aspects of this parenting style appeal to you and how you wish to practice Natural Parenting in your home.
To help you prepare for your new arrival, we have created a selection of the best Natural Parenting books on the market. The books we have chosen
The 5 Best Books On Natural Parenting
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The Other Baby Book by Megan McGrory Massaro is one of the most popular general parenting books that promotes Natural Parenting.
This book focuses on 8 specific areas of Natural Parenting, each of which is given its own chapter. The structure includes a chapter on breastfeeding as well as sections on baby-led feeding.
However, there are two sections in particular that make this book on Natural Parenting stand out.
For one thing, there is a chapter dedicated to sign language, which makes The Other Baby Book an excellent stepping stone for communicating with very young children.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of Natural Parenting, and this book will help new parents to start the learning process as soon as possible.
Additionally, The Other Baby Book has an entire section devoted to providing self-care tips for new mothers who are practicing Natural Parenting.
Becoming a new parent is a notoriously exhausting (albeit incredibly rewarding) experience, so it’s important that new parents find the time to take care of their own physical and mental wellbeing throughout the journey.
Our only criticism is that the self-care advice, and most of the advice in the book, is primarily geared towards new mothers.
While this is not a bad thing in and of itself, it does mean that new fathers or parents who do not identify as women may wish to seek advice from other sources as well.
Because this book is only 196 pages long, it is concise, clear, and can be read in a relatively short time. This is perfect for new or expecting parents who are very busy.
- Focus on communication - Includes sign language
- 196 pages - Relatively short read
- 8 chapters - Simple, clear structure
- Includes self-care tips - Beneficial for parents
- Primarily focuses on mother - Limited advice for fathers
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Another highly-recommended Natural Parenting book is Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason.
This book by Alfie Kohn specifically addresses the behavioral side of Natural Parenting, teaching new parents how to incorporate discipline into your parenting without relying on traditional methods of punishment and reward.
Essentially, this is a book about how to discipline from a place of unconditional love.
Unconditional Parenting has received literary acclaim in the familial sphere, winning the NAPPA (National Parenting Product Award) Gold Award in 2006.
Because of this, new parents can trust that the advice in this book has been read and followed successfully by thousands.
This book is almost 300 pages long, so while it’s long enough to provide a lot of detailed information, it’s not an overwhelming read.
The text is divided into 10 chapters, allowing for a focus on the practice of discipline in Natural Parenting from many perspectives, including the opposing concept of conditional parenting and the issue of fixating on success.
Crucially, the final chapter of the book is called ‘The Child’s Perspective’, and this chapter ensures that the emotional experience of the child is centralized in new parents’ learning and decisions regarding parenting.
Another very interesting part of this book is the Appendix, which addresses the ways in which factors such as cultural norms and class impact parenting styles.
With all of that being said, some readers have reported finding the writing style somewhat scattered and difficult to follow. Thousands of readers, including ourselves, enjoy Kohn’s writing, but it’s certainly not for everyone.
- NAPPA Gold Award Winner - Acclaimed
- 10 chapters - Various perspectives
- Focus on child’s perspective - Centralizes the child
- Addresses cultural impacts on parenting - Thought-provoking
- Divisive writing style - Not for everyone
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Susan Stiffelman’s Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids is considered one of the most ground-breaking books on Natural Parenting.
The author is a licensed therapist, which means that readers can read about Natural Parenting from a professional perspective. However, because Stiffelman is a mother herself, the book reads engagingly and relatably for expecting and new parents.
Excitingly, the forward to Parenting with Presence is written by famous spiritual teacher and self-help author, Eckhart Tolle, which speaks volumes to the wisdom and knowledge imparted in this book.
The writing style of Parenting with Presence is often anecdotal, which is not everybody’s cup of tea and has drawn some criticism from readers.
However, many parents find these anecdotes to be helpful because they are peppered with useful tips and examples of empathetic and compassionate Natural Parenting.
These moments in the text can easily be translated into practical, easy-to-follow advice.
- Written by a licensed therapist - Professional perspective
- Forward by Eckhart Tolle - Endorsed by famous self-help author
- Practical advice - Useful tips and examples
- Engaging writing - Relatable
- Largely anecdotal - Not the preferred format for some readers
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Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby takes principles of Natural Parenting such as communication, understanding, and emotional intelligence and applies them to facets of everyday life with a baby, such as eating, sleeping, and general interactions.
The entire book is founded on the basis of communication between parents and their babies, advocating for opening channels of communication from a very early age.
Readers of this bestselling book have been amazed at how early they are able to communicate with their newborns through various means.
Communication is one of the basic foundations of Natural Parenting, and this book demonstrates how to utilize this tool to raise healthy, happy children and settle into a routine that works for everyone.
At 352 pages, this isn’t an enormous paving stone of a book, but it’s lengthy enough to pack in a lot of information and provide a comprehensive perspective.
We especially love that Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau advocate for parents to make time for rejuvenation, seek support, and divide responsibilities effectively for everyone’s wellbeing.
Another excellent part of this book is the chapter that focuses on unforeseen circumstances, from premature births to unexpected hospital stays.
This chapter provides a realistic but hopeful perspective on dealing with difficult situations at the start of your Natural Parenting journey.
One word of caution is that some of the advice and beliefs in this book are stated in a fairly blunt manner, which some parents have reported finding off-putting or abrasive.
Others find the matter-of-fact approach to Natural Parenting refreshing, however, so it’s down to individual preference.
- Based on communication - Core principle of Natural Parenting
- 352 pages - Detailed and informative
- Advocates for self-care - Encourages parental wellbeing
- Considers special circumstances - Inclusive of unforeseen situations
- Some advice is bluntly worded - May be off-putting for some readers
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The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind is a #1 bestselling book in the parenting category.
Written by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, The Whole-Brain Child encourages Natural Parenting from a place of psychological understanding.
Siegal and Bryson outline, in an accessible way, the basics of psychology and neurobiology as they apply to raising emotionally and mentally developed children. Chapters include advice on exercising both the left and right brain and self-integration.
This book is only 192 pages in length, so it’s short enough to be read quickly, with relatively short chapters to facilitate easy learning and understanding of Natural Parenting.
The Whole-Brain Child is full of practical, actionable advice that even new parents will take to with ease. It can, however, feel a bit repetitive in places - although, arguably, this could help readers to take in the information.
- 192 pages - Short and information-packed
- Psychological focus - Centralizes the child’s mental experience
- Scientific perspective - Highly research-based
- Practical tips - Easy to practice
- Slightly repetitive - Not the most gripping in places
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How To Choose Books On Natural Parenting
Not sure which of these incredible books to start with? Read on for some advice on selecting the perfect Natural Parenting book for your family.
The first step to choosing a Natural Parenting book should be to decide which specific subject appeals to you.
You can find plenty of general overview books on Natural Parenting, but you can also find books that deal specifically with the psychology behind Natural Parenting, how to navigate discipline as a Natural Parent, or how to use Natural Parenting techniques to help your baby settle into a routine.
Decide which area of Natural Parenting you feel is most important, that you are most interested in, or that you feel less informed about, and go from there.
It’s also important to consider who a Natural Parenting book has been written for.
Generally speaking, Natural Parenting books should aim to make their content applicable to parents of all genders, but it’s not uncommon to find Natural Parenting books that are primarily written with mothers in mind.
If you are a mother yourself, this isn’t necessarily a problem, but if you do not identify with this parenting role or have a partner of another gender, this could be an issue.
It’s also a good idea to get a sense of the tone of the book before you buy it. For example, is it written using highly academic language, or is it using specialist terminology?
Some books on Natural Parenting are written for psychologists and researchers, meaning that they can be a little inaccessible.
A well-reviewed, reputable author is always a reassuring sign when it comes to childcare and parenting books. Look into the author of any book that interests you before you purchase it.
Although psychological perspectives on Natural Parenting can sometimes make for complex reading, qualifications in a field concerning psychology, wellbeing, or childcare are good signs. Additionally, authors who are parents themselves tend to be excellent sources of knowledge on this subject.
Layout And Length
Try to look inside a book before purchase if you can, to get a sense of the structure, length, and layout.
If you’re expecting a baby, you may be very busy with preparations right now. Is the book short enough for you to read in time?
Conversely, is it long enough to provide you with as much information as you need? Is it divided into chapters or sections that you can easily dip in and out of? These are all important questions.
Natural Parenting might be based on a set of simple, human principles, but it’s still helpful to have some guidance going into the process.
Books are some of the best sources of knowledge and advice on Natural Parenting, so if you’re interested in this parenting style, our top Natural Parenting books are great starting points.
Each of the 5 books on our list is informative, accessible, and insightful and are definitely representative of the best books on Natural Parenting available. Which will you read first?
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