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Five Beautiful Books for the Brand New Mom

When you're a new mom, you suddenly find yourself more tired than you've ever before been, more in love than you've ever before been, more needed than you've ever before been and exploring new territory in which you have never before been. These five books—recommended by myself and by other real moms who've been there—will help you find your way. Psst: They're also great for gifting.

"How to Love" by Thich Nhat Hanh

This is not a parenting book. It's a personhood book, and it's perfect. Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh is true to form in offering nuggets of wisdom that, at their deepest level, help us foster loving relationships with ourselves. By extension, they help us to relate more skillfully to others, and they apply just beautifully to the delicate, sometimes difficult dance of motherhood. Presented in short, easily digestible sections, each little more than a few sentences long, new moms will be able to dabble their way through this lovely little marvel at whatever pace suits them, and they'll return to it again and again.

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"An Awesome Book of Thanks" by Dallas Clayton

"Parenting can be thankless, especially in the early days. This book is a good reminder that you can always find a reason to be grateful for what you have. In this era, too, when many of us are so incredibly fortunate, giving (and expressing) thanks is one of the most important practices we can pass along to our children. This book got me into the habit early on—and always made me smile. Now my son and I enjoy it together." —Nicole B., Mom of one, Austin, TX

"Elevating Childcare" by Janet Lansbury

Not your average babycare advice book, Lansbury's short essays offer practical, reassuring guidance on everything from infant sleep and diaper changes through all things toddlerhood. At its heart, though, this book encourages moms to trust themselves and their babies, a simple and yet revolutionary concept, and the foundation of the RIE parenting philosophy Lansbury illuminates in her wonderfully warm, connection-focused work. I love this book. Although my kiddos are still small, I know I will be drawing—and building—upon the concepts I've explored in its pages and then applied to our lives together for many years to come.

"Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year" by Anne Lamott

"This book made me feel normal when I felt crazy, made me feel like I had a community when I felt lonely and made me feel like less of a failure when I doubted my capabilities as a new mom. I could read bits of it in the midst of sleep deprivation and I would always end up laughing. " —Carol C., Mom of two, Denver, CO

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"The Other Baby Book" by Megan McGrory Massaro and Miriam J. Katz

"This book is epic. Its eight easy and fun-to-read chapters are worth every second of your time. They bring to life a forgotten truth about mothering: 'A mother's instinct is the best resource she has to create a joyful and connected relationship with her baby.' Forget marketing ploys, forget bad advice from strangers, forget the 'baby training' ways of other parenting experts. This book will serve as a guide for all mothers who want to mother from their heart and soul." —Jennifer Saleem, mom of one, blogger at Hybrid Rasta Mama

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