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Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably seen how many parenting books there are on the market. Everybody seems to be an “expert” on the topic and, unfortunately, there are so many different opinions and suggestions that it can turn a new mom into an angst-ridden basket case.
Books for new mothers make a great gift, but if you're buying more than one gift, make sure they don't have too much conflicting information between them. One author might recommend picking up a crying baby, while another author might say the exact opposite. Books are great, but make sure they're written by reputable, experienced authors before you buy them. Tell the mom-to-be that the books are just meant to help. Nothing should substitute good old fashioned advice from the doctor.
Not sure what category of books for new mothers you should give? If you'd rather stay away from preachy books, think about buying something funny instead. The advice in them probably won't be scientific at all, but they should produce a good, healthy bell laugh. When the new mom is knee-deep in dirty diapers, a crying baby, and excessive sleep deprivation, she's probably going to need a good laugh.