The Best Infant Development Books

Infancy goes by in a flash -- 12 short months in which a baby learns to sit up, crawl and maybe even walk and talk. They say babies don't come with a manual, but these infant development books, written by renowned experts in the field, come pretty close. Moms and dads navigating the years of diapers, sleepless nights and first foods can find information and comfort in these best-sellers, parenting library must-haves.

Touchpoints: Birth to Three

The latest version is updated to reflect the current parenting climate with contributions from Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., a child psychiatrist. Notes the journal "Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics," "This book deserves to be in the library of every caring parent and practicing pediatrician. It glows with the warmth of the author but also contains his wisdom, his humanity, and his compassion."

The Essential First Year

Authored by the world-renowned child development expert Penelope Leach, Ph.D., "The Essential First Year" offers patient, reassuring guidance on issues of babyhood such as:

  • feeding
  • sleeping
  • crying

For this book, Leach draws on her background and experience, as well as what current research points to about how babies' brains develop. Her aim is to help parents understand and respond to their babies in an effective, nurturing style. "When all is bleak, a great many parents feel their only hope is to reach for their trans-Atlantic lifeline. It is the empathetic voice of Penelope Leach, a British psychologist who has become a popular dispenser of advice on how to survive parenthood and nurture a happy and healthy child at the same time," writes Carol Lawson of "The New York Times."

Your Baby's First Year

An all-in-one guide on babycare, "Your Baby's First Year" by the American Academy of Pediatrics is in its third edition as of 2013 3. Also useful is a month-by-month guide for baby's first year with information about growth, behavior and milestones, and an encyclopedia which covers illnesses, injuries and disabilities.

The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two

The work of William Sears and his wife Martha, a registered nurse, along with their two sons Robert and James (both doctors), "The Baby Book" is full of the latest information on all aspects of infant care. Writes Publishers Weekly, "...the authors of this comprehensive volume (who share their own parenting experiences along the way) are assured and reassuring experts."

Dr. Spock's Baby and Childcare

Relied on for generations, "Dr. Spock's Baby and Childcare" has sold more than 50 million copies around the world, and has been translated into 42 languages 1. "More than ever before, this essential and classic work will help all parents face their many challenges and responsibilities with new confidence and joy. As Dr. Spock always said: 'Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do,' " reads the description on the bookseller Amazon.com.

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