A Roundup of the 21 Best Postpartum Books to Buy

When you’re buying the pregnancy and baby books, don’t forget to buy a few for postpartum, too. Here are our favorite reads we highly recommend for new mothers.

No matter how your baby enters this world, recovering from birth is serious business and demands some preparation on your part. Check out the below books to help you navigate and better prepare for your postpartum phase.

You’ll find books from recovery to nutrition to self-help to journals and beyond.

book and mug of tea on a quilt

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In a world where everyone prepares for birth, but no one prepares for postpartum, don’t let yourself get caught off guard by what recovery from birth really entails. No matter where you are in your journey of new motherhood, these books can help you feel supported.

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Postpartum holistic recovery books

From recovery tips, self-care advice, nourishing recipes, and more – these books have it all for a supported-feeling postpartum recovery.

1. Nurture

Author: Erica Chidi

While Nurture covers pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, there’s a large emphasis on the postpartum recovery period for new mothers and just how important that phase is. Written by the Loom HQ founder and doula, Erica Chidi, this comprehensive guide aims to help new mothers feel in charge of their transition into motherhood.

What Readers Say: “Cohen encourages moms to take care of themselves and speak up when they need the help of others around them. She continues her intermixing of specific advice on things like baby massage and breastfeeding with self-care tips, journal prompts, healthy recipes, and no-nonsense advice. Nurture was invaluable to me.”

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2. The First Forty Days

Author: Heng Ou

In the modern culture of the United States, new mothers are often pushed to recover too quickly and “bounce back” to their pre-baby self. This book is the answer to that dilemma and focuses on 40 days of deeply nourishing the postpartum mother.

Inside readers will find “60 simple recipes for healing soups; replenishing meals and snacks; and calming and lactation-boosting teas, all formulated to support the unique needs of the new mother.”

What Readers Say: “This book is so helpful. Planning for postpartum is overlooked too often. This book gives you a template you can cater to your personal postpartum plan. Recipes, tips, and tested ways to recover well after giving birth. I recommend it to all of my doula clients and friends.”

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3. The Fourth Trimester

Author: Kimberly Ann Johnson

Postpartum healing requires an acknowledgment of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual changes that occur during this time. The Fourth Trimester focuses on just that – and beyond. Inside you’ll find tips on how to prepare your home for postpartum, simple practices to restore energy, and how to navigate conflicting emotions that arise.

What Readers Say: “I loved this book. I love the author’s voice, her genuine concern and respect for women come across very well. I love all the references to holistic approaches and the spiritual experience of mothering from birth to postpartum. It resonates entirely with me.”

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4. Build Your Nest: Postpartum Workbook

Author: Kestrel Gates

This workbook covers everything you need to navigate pregnancy and effectively plan for postpartum. It’s a comprehensive workbook that includes calendars, journaling prompts, to-do lists, resources, and beyond, all designed to help you better cherish your early postpartum days with your newborn.

What Readers Say: “I bought this book for a friend who was pregnant during the pandemic and wasn’t able to attend a birthing class. I looked through it myself and wished I had had it during my two previous pregnancies. My friend loved it and said it was very helpful for her before and after the birth of her baby.” 

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Postpartum nutrition books

Nutrition is a vital component of a healthy postpartum recovery that can often feel overwhelming. These cookbooks can help.

5. Eat to Feed: Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms

Author: Eliza Larson and Kristy Kohler

Written by the founders of Oat Mama, this cookbook features 80 nourishing recipes to encourage an abundant milk supply and support a new mother’s recovery from birth. You’ll also find tips on keeping a stocked pantry, navigating breastfeeding, and easy meal prep.

What Readers Say: “The recipes are easy to follow, execute, and modify – I’m dairy-free, and most of the recipes didn’t even need modifications, and so many are also vegetarian! Most importantly, these recipes taste amazing! We have been home from the hospital for a week, and he has prepared 9 recipes from the book, and they have all been some of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and my milk supply is plentiful!”

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6. The Postnatal Cookbook

Author: Jaren Soloff, RD IBCLC

This jam-packed cookbook offers 75+ nutritious, easy-to-prepare recipes to help encourage a new mother’s recovery and keep it well-fed. The recipes are founded on the latest in nutrition science and prioritize the importance of eating “whole foods” for an optimal recovery period.

What Readers Say: “Jaren’s cookbook breaks down common barriers for new moms and those preparing for postpartum by offering reasonable and actionable information and recipes that not only are delicious, but nourishing and easy to prepare.”

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7. The Food Doula Cookbook

Author: Lindsay Taylor

This cookbook’s no-nonsense approach to nutrition and cooking is refreshing and just what new mothers need. While it features recipes for pre-conception and pregnancy, there is an emphasis on postpartum to help moms feel energized and powerful as they navigate motherhood.

What Readers Say: “This book has been a wonderful addition to my cookbook repertoire and is by FAR the easiest to use ingredient-wise! The pregnancy and postpartum wisdom before each chapter are incredibly informative too – it’s much more than a cookbook.”

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pregnant woman reading a book on postpartum

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Postpartum self-help books

Motherhood comes with many new and conflicting emotions and can often put a strain on all of your relationships – including the one with yourself. These books will help navigate those changes and feel inspired along the way.

8. Breathe Mama, Breathe

Author: Shonda Moralis, MSW LCSW

This book features quick moments for moms to slow down and reconnect with their breath and their thoughts. With over 60 exercises to encourage “mindful breaks,” this guide will help new mothers to find their calm and feel more connected.

What Readers Say: “Insightful, easy to read, and entertaining. I appreciate the author’s honesty and transparency, particularly regarding postpartum depression (that is rare and refreshing to see in a book) and the difficulties around being a parent in general.”

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9. To Have and To Hold

Author: Molly Millwood, PhD

A psychologist dives deep into the modern mother’s dilemmas that often feel paralyzing and overwhelming. She helps readers overcome guilt, reclaim their identity, and repair their relationships – all infused with personal anecdotes and science-based research.

What Readers Say: “I cried in relief as I read it. It’s a candid exploration of the crazy transformation we’ve all been surviving. It was so empowering to learn I wasn’t alone in my experiences: the darkness of the early days with a newborn, feeling bored with a fussy toddler, or missing the carefree pre-baby days of our lives.”

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10. The Postnatal Depletion Cure

Author: Dr. Oscar Serrallach

This book is a guide to help new mothers reclaim their energy through a science-backed approach. Readers will also learn how to care for their recovering bodies and re-build their strength during the early stages of motherhood.

What Readers Say: “This book helps you feel normal in the not-so-normal changing season of becoming a mom. Learn about what your body is doing during and after pregnancy and how to meet the new needs of your body and mind.” 

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11. You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom

Author: Leslie Anne Bruce

This book is chock-full of witty, real-life advice to help mothers in all stages of life feel validated and seen in their chaotic experiences. Consider it your new lifeline of encouragement, inspiration, and more for those isolating days of motherhood.

What Readers Say: “No matter what stage you are at, this book exposes motherhood as the great uniter and equalizer that it should always be and brings us together like old friends to reflect, laugh and remind each other that even on our worst days, we are F* Awesome.”

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12. How to Not Hate Your Husband After Kids

Author: Jancee Dunn

No one prepares you for how a baby can impact your marriage or relationship – but this book tackles this topic head-on. It’s packed with personal stories from the author, self-help advice, and actionable ways to rebuild your relationship to get your partnership back to the place it was before the baby came along.

What Readers Say: “This book is full of little gems of advice and insight. From division of labor in the home, raising the kids, organization, money to sex. I found many of the author’s stories relatable and humorous. I think the book, at best, gave me useful strategies I can implement in my own life, and at least gave me validation that I’m not alone in these struggles.”

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Postpartum mental health books

Many new mothers face the baby blues, postpartum depression or anxiety, or experience intrusive thoughts. While these experiences may feel isolating, they certainly are not uncommon. The round-up of books below can help you feel validated in your experience.

13. Ordinary Insanity

Author: Sarah Menkedick

Using research, interviews, and personal stories, this book helps examine the silent anxiety crisis that is troubling the majority of mothers in America. This book can help mothers understand their “normal motherly worries” versus where society has the cards stacked against them from the gate.

What Readers Say: “This book takes the reader through the history of childbirth and motherhood in America. In tandem with that, it profiles real-life experiences and delves into what is postpartum depression and anxiety. It doesn’t sugarcoat anything. You will laugh, cry, get angry and also hopefully start to understand.”

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14. This Isn’t What I Expected

Author: Karen R. Kleiman, MSW LCSW and Valerie Davis Raskin, MD

This comprehensive book can help new mothers distinguish postpartum depression from other “normal” feelings during postpartum. It also dives deep into how to ask for support, break the cycle of shame, and seek treatment options to support your recovery. This Isn’t What I Expected is validating and encouraging.

What Readers Say: “After my third delivery, I felt so crazy. I didn’t understand all the emotions and feelings I was having. Reading this book gave me coping mechanisms and helped me recognize my thought process. I felt hopeful and could really relate to everything the author wrote about. I felt validated and completely normal.”

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15. The Postpartum Depression Workbook

Author: Abigail Burd LCSW PMH-C

This workbook focusing on postpartum depression helps new mothers understand they’re not alone. Grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with a focus on self-care, it encourages readers to challenge their thoughts, understand their postpartum depression, and transition into becoming a more grounded mother.

What Readers Say: “I’m only 30 pages in so far, but it has been validating, empowering, and so helpful so far. It uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to reframe your thoughts, and I feel like I’ve already learned a lot! I highly recommend it!”

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16. It Wasn’t Supposed to Be Like This

Author: Laurie Varga

Composed in short, uplifting chapters, the contents of this book focus on 100+ practical ideas to better navigate and overcome postpartum depression. It was written to be a compassionate shoulder to lean on during a tough time – without judgment or scrutiny.

What Readers Say: “As someone who faced postpartum depression and anxiety with her firstborn, I wish I had a guide like this to walk me through the fog. I saw myself reflected in the pages, reminding me how hard this was, not only for me but for my partner and family.”

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17. Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts Too

Author: Karen Kleiman

Packed with or 50+ stigma-busting cartoons and exercises, this book tackles major topics afflicting new mothers from intrusive thoughts, postpartum depression and anxiety, and beyond. The content is presented in a way that’s warm, compassionate, and validating, all while helpful.

What Readers Say: “This book was so helpful in those sleep-deprived, wtf-am-I-doing days: relatable, encouraging, reaffirming. I had intrusive thoughts and trouble bonding with my newborn. While I waited for a therapy appointment, these pages helped me feel a sense of normalcy and like I wasn’t so alone in my feelings.”

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Postpartum poetry and journal books

There’s something about reading poetry and capturing moments in a journal that help one instantly feel more at ease. We’ve rounded up our favorite for new mothers.

18. What Kind of Woman

Author: Kate Baer

A powerful voice in modern poetry, Kate weaves her words into immaculate poems to celebrate womanhood – especially motherhood – in unforgettable ways. These are the types of poems you silently cherish for yourself and openly share with those you love most.

What Readers Say: “I find this book to be very empowering as a woman and a mother. It’s moving, touching, and easy to read. I think it would make a great gift, especially for the mothers in your life, who will see themselves in this book.”

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19. From One Mom to a Mother

Author: Jessica Urlichs

Packed with 55 highly relatable poems, this book will touch any mother’s soul. Whether you purchase it for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, it’s sure to help you feel seen and validated in your motherhood experience.

What Readers Say: “There aren’t enough stars to rate this book. I’ll be honest; my mental health was struggling hard before I got this book… until I found Jessica’s work. I’ve always hated reading, but I was super bummed when I finished her book. Her words saved my mental health.”

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20. The First 90 Days After Birth Journal

Author: Kim Burris

Focusing on self-care, this journal helps new mothers find support and encouragement in the first three months of postpartum. It prompts mothers to pause and reflect on their experiences and feelings while encouraging them to make foundational, lasting changes to support their new role as mothers.

What Readers Say: “The absolute best resource for new parents. This journal helps you understand what you need, how to ask for help, and how to make it happen. I wish I had this resource when I was having my babies.”

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21. The Fourth Trimester Journal

Author: Kimberly Ann Johnson

This journal is designed to be an honest and raw keepsake of your journey into motherhood. It offers encouragement, practical exercises, and supportive advice to help you navigate your postpartum phase, also known as the fourth trimester.

What Readers Say: as this journal is brand new, there are no customer reviews yet. Stay tuned!

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Other postpartum resources

Looking for other supportive postpartum resources besides books?

Hello Postpartum

Postpartum Resource Library

Founded by new mom and self-care author Carley Schweet, Hello Postpartum aims to help fill in the gaps in postpartum care and support. At Hello Postpartum, we aim to create an accessible community where everyone can access postpartum education, research-backed articles, and support tools.

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