During my first pregnancy I devoured every parenting and pregnancy book I could find. It's part of the process and I would never begrudge a first-time mum her first experience of 'What To Expect When You're Expecting' and all the rest. But looking back I realised that all those manuals probably contributed to a lot of postnatal anxiety. Because your baby doesn't need a manual, they just need you. There's a lot to be said for instinct. In fact, there's everything to be said for instinct. So with later pregnancies, and while my children were babies and toddlers, I tried to rely on my instincts, and read only those parenting books that gave me comfort and inspiration, or just a good laugh. This is of course a very personal list, but these are the books that I would give to a first-time mum. I have read most of these books multiple times, and 'Sleep Is For The Weak' in particular was a bit of a life-saver.