11 Books For Baby Shower Gifts That Aren't 'What To Expect When You're Expecting'

Whether you’re looking for the perfect baby shower gift for your book-loving bestie or you’re on the hunt for a fun (and MUCH less personal than that breast pump she registered for) gift to give the newly-pregnant person in your office, this parent-to-be has just one tip for you: books are the best baby shower gifts. Ever. And practically nobody thinks to give them. (I’m in line returning approximately 11,000 gray-and-white striped baby body suits as I write this, I swear.) Whether it’s because everyone just assumes the new parent will be too busy with their new wee-one to pick up a book (valid concern) or books just aren’t as cute as bunny-footed baby sleepers (depending on who you ask) you can pretty much bank on the fact that a bookish gift will stand out amongst the onesies. And when it comes to the best books to give as baby shower gifts, there is a whole wide, bookish world out there beyond What To Expect When You’re Expecting (because believe me, they already have at least four copies of that one.)

Here are 11 books that make the best baby shower gifts — some for parent-to-be, others for baby, and plenty that both parent and baby will love.

‘Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong—And What You Really Need to Know’ by Emily Oster

This is hands-down my absolute favorite pregnancy book — taking traditional pregnancy “wisdom” (see: rules that mostly boil down to a list of the ABSOLUTELY, EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN) and actually looking at the studies, data, and statistics that back that wisdom up (or, more often than not, don’t.) Funny and relatable, Emily Oster not only eases a pregnant person's mind, she helps readers make the best data-backed choices for themselves and their bodies, regardless of the endless unsolicited advice pregnant women receive all day, every day. Just make sure you gift this one early enough in pregnancy that your glowing pal can enjoy it.

Click here to buy.

‘The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality’ by Kimberly Ann Johnson

Chances are, most of the gifts (books and otherwise) your blossoming bestie is receiving right now are all about pregnancy and baby — but they're definitely going to need some time to think about themselves post-baby too (sounds crazy, I know.) The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality by Kimberly Ann Johnson is all about mom’s mind, body, and spirit after birth, and it’s filled with comforting and empowering wisdom for getting through that “fourth” trimester — whether it lasts several weeks, a few months, or more.

Click here to buy.

‘The Insider's Guide to Maternity Leave: Real Stories and Expert Advice on Preparing for Work, Career, and Life after Baby’ by Victoria Hefty

While focusing on baby and body is definitely key when it comes to considering maternity leave, Victoria Hefty’s The Insider's Guide to Maternity Leave: Real Stories and Expert Advice on Preparing for Work, Career, and Life after Baby focuses on something that many pregnant women aren’t encouraged to consider — at least not right away: that career they’ve dedicated practically all their energy to, thus far. This will definitely be a welcome and empowering read for any new mom eager to head back to her other baby: that career she loves.

Click here to buy.

‘Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This new, essential feminist read was written by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for a girlfriend seeking advice about raising a feminist daughter. But Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is definitely a title appropriate for all mothers — whether raising feminist boys, feminist girls, or both. Slim and powerful, it reminds readers that we should all be feminists — no matter how small, at first.

Click here to buy.

‘Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters’ by Barack Obama

Written and illustrated as a letter to his own young daughters, Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters is a beautiful, hopeful, and inspiring testament to the power of American ideals, and Americans when we’re actually being our best selves. This book serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of a new parent having dreams for her little ones while empowering them to cultivate their own dreams and ambitions as well.

Click here to buy.

‘The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purées, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals For Every Stage’ by Stephanie Middleberg

If your favorite parent-to-be is pretty solid that Gerber will be making their baby food — and hey, I hear that — then you can probably just skip right by this one. But for anyone who loves to get a little dirty in the kitchen, The Big Book of Organic Baby Food: Baby Purées, Finger Foods, and Toddler Meals For Every Stage by Stephanie Middleberg is an awesome, super easy to follow guide for introducing foods to baby, and how to make and store them easily. And if I’m being totally honest, there are tons things in this book that I’m up for chowing down on myself.

Click here to buy.

‘Baby’s First Year: A Simple Book Of Firsts’ by Haily Meyers

While a “baby’s first” book might seem like a too-personal purchase to make for someone else, this Baby’s First Year: A Simple Book Of Firsts by Haily Meyers is kind of perfect. It’s filled with easy to follow and no-fuss ways to document that new baby’s first year, without actually having to dedicate hours to perfect scrapbooking (because, you know, there’s a new baby in the house who’s probably keeping their parents busy.)

Click here to buy.

‘Dream’ by Matthew Cordell

This entirely adorable children’s book by Matthew Cordell is one I’ve read throughout my entire pregnancy, and it’s one that a new parent will never get tired of reading their little one — no matter how many times they might eventually want it read, over and over again. Telling a heartwarming story about a great ape momma and all her dreams for her little one, Dream is definitely a book to pick up after all those pregnancy hormones have subsided (because it’ll definitely lead to lots of tears.)

Click here to buy.

‘Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future!’ by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl

Whether your soon-to-be-showered parent-to-be is having a girl, a boy, or a tiny mystery, Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl’s Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! is another title that won’t grow tiresome with repeated reading requests. Sure, it’s not written specifically for baby, but this illustrated A-Z book distills the stories of amazing American women down to brief bios and anecdotes, and is super inspiring for readers of any age.

Click here to buy.

‘Little Feminist Board Book Set’ by Emily Kleinman and Lydia Ortiz

Another book (or rather, books) that should definitely transcend gender-stereotyped reading is the Little Feminist Book Board Set by Emily Kleinman and Lydia Ortiz. Filled with high-contrast images (great for baby’s developing eyesight) and tons of female-forward inspiration, this is a gift you’ll feel good about giving any parent-to-be.

Click here to buy.

‘It Takes a Village’ by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Marla Frazee

One last children’s book that moms will look forward to reading with their little ones is Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village — a picture book celebrating the diversity of our world and the power of people working, living, and even playing together. It also encourages young readers to think about ways they might be able to make a difference in their own communities — making this one a great gift with an even greater message for young’uns of nearly any age and reading level.

Click here to buy.