In this post I’ll be sharing 7 tips you can use to read more when you’re a new mum (or a mum of older ones too).
*This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission if you buy through my link. I only ever recommend products I have used or tried myself.
People are often surprised when I tell them that I managed to read 50 books in my daughters first year of life. In fact they’re surprised I managed to even read at all.
But actually, reading is probably the only thing I got to do more of when she was born. But how did I read so much?
Well, it was mainly down to the fact she barely slept, but these tips below should help you read more whether you have a sleeper or not. And they go well past the “new mum” stage; I still follow these tips and my youngest is now 2 and a half.
1. Buy (or ask for) a Kindle Paperwhite
Hands down the best present a new mum can receive; a Kindle Paperwhite*.
Yes I know they have an app and you can read on your phone, but reading on a Paperwhite is so much better for you, especially if you are a new mum.
Why? Because the main time I recommend reading on a kindle is during nap times, bedtimes and/or night wakings.You might like to scroll through social media during those middle of the night feeds, and I totally get why. It can help us feel connected to the world at one of the loneliest times of our lives.
But this is not good for our sleep. That blue light on your phone will make it harder for you to fall back asleep when your baby is done, and lower the quality of sleep once you do drift back off. (There are many studies on this which you can read up on, but I think it’s pretty much accepted as fact now that the blue light on our phones/screens is bad for us).
Reading on a Kindle Paperwhite* instead is much better for you as it doesn’t have that harsh blue light like our phones. Even if you put night mode on your phone it is still much brighter than a kindle.
It took me a while to convert to a Kindle (as is true for most digital things for me), but I can honestly say it was one of the greatest tools I had as a new mum. Even if your little doesn’t wake through the night, they’re great to read for when you’re doing bedtimes or when you’re feeding.
You only need one hand to hold it and now that they have a light you can even read them in the dark (my first Kindle was the very first kindle and could only be read in the light).
2. Join Goodreads
I said before that one of the reasons you might go on social media as a new mum is to connect with the world. Well, Goodreads might be a nice alternative for you.
As usual, I am late to the party with this app, but so far I love it!I have even set my own group up here for people part of the Hannah Hand Makes community (that’s you if you’re reading this) or you can add me as a friend.
Another great thing about Goodreads is the motivation it can give you to actually read. I love setting a goal for the year and seeing myself get closer to it. Are you a goal setting person?
Or just seeing your progress on a single book can be helpful. If you’re losing your reading mojo, seeing that you only have 10% of a book left can be the motivation you need to finish it.
If you’re not a goal person though Goodreads is a great place to find new books and read reviews. I also love how they tell you what number in a series a book is.
In fact, thanks to good reads I realised that one of my favourite books is part of a series. I love the book Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes* and didn’t know that it was part of 5 book series about 5 sisters. I’ve now read another 3 of them (although Anybody Out There is still currently my favourite of the 5).
You can make a “shelf” of all the books you want to read which helps when deciding what to read next. It’s like your own personal library! Speaking of the library …
3. Go to the Library
And use the library!
Your local library probably has some sort of parent and baby group on that you could do to (ours has 3 a week) or just pop in on a rainy day.
You could even go to the library alone. I didn’t get to do this until my little had turned 1, but depending on your baby you could do this sooner. I don’t go all the time, but usually, after having my hair cut I will stroll over to the library.
When you are in there though, please try to actually check out a book for yourself and not just the kids. If you’re finding it difficult to browse the shelves when your kids are hanging on your legs (I’ve been there!) then see if you can check what your library has in before you go.
I rarely go to the library and choose a random book off the shelf. I usually know what I want to read next (thank you good reads and kindle samples) and reserve it at the library online to pick up.
And of course, the best thing about libraries are that they are free! Although I did buy most of my books on my kindle that first year, buying 50 would have stacked the cost up fast. Now you might be thinking how you’re ever going to read a paper book, but more on that soon.
4. Make Use of Reading Apps
Yes, I’m contradicting myself a lot in this post. However, I know not everyone likes Kindles and not everyone can afford a Kindle. Especially if you’ve just had a baby. (My kindle was a Christmas present).
And apps can be useful if you find yourself stuck under a sleeping baby with nothing but your phone. Or you just want to stop yourself scrolling through social media during those lulls in the day.
So if you need something else to read your e-books on then kindle have a free app you can put on your phone and read from there! Just remember to put night mode on for any late night reading sessions.
Also, my library actually has an app where you can download free e-books so it might be worth checking to see if yours does too. Even if they don’t have an app you will probably still be able to download an E-book.
5. Set a Book Budget
Set a monthly budget to spend on books. It can be anything from £3-£100; it’s totally up to you.
When I first had Annie I bought the Harry Potter Series* on my Kindle for around £37. When I finished them I felt kind of annoyed at the thought of buying more books. (This was before I realised the power of the library). I did buy them though because I had gotten my reading bug back.
After about 18 months I realised I should set a book budget for myself to make me feel better about buying books. I currently give myself £10 a month to spend on a Kindle book or paperback, and this is usually well enough along with a library book to read as well.
For me, reading is something worth investing in; you can set your budget as low or high as you want but I do think having one can help you feel good about buying books instead of wondering whether or not you can afford it.
You could also try Kindle Unlimited which is currently £7.99 a month and gives you access to over 1 million titles. I tried this for a few months but a lot of the books I read on my Kindle are business books and they weren’t included. But there really is a good selection on there and they have a free 30 day trial you can sign up for here*.
6. Set a Time to Read Paper Books
If you’re a brand new mum this one might be tough. But as I said before, I usually read my kindle when I’m doing the night time routines, so I save my paper books for when I’m child-free or able to actually get some reading in (however I get pretty lost in books so child free works best for me).
So when could this be? It could be in the morning if you wake up before your kids. I know, they thought of this makes your eyes bleed right? Getting up this early is only something I started doing when my little was 2, so trust me this is not the only way to get some paperback reading in.
I choose before bed and try to stick to this every night. The good thing about before bed is that this isn’t a set time; it’s whenever I go to bed (usually around 10 pm though).
And it’s a great way to wind down before bed and it doesn’t involve a screen. Like I said before, that blue light can really affect our sleep and that goes for being on phones before bed too, not just in the middle of the night.
I tend to just stick with 1-2 chapters before bed, otherwise I will be there all night reading (well, until one of the kids wake up anyway). I also like that this makes me read a little slower, as I am such a fast reader I often miss things in the book. If I know I’m just reading 1 chapter I tend to take my time.
If it’s a library book you’re reading you could divide the number of days you have the book for by the number of chapters in the book and voila the number of chapters you need to read every day. Can you tell I like goals and plans yet?
I’m currently reading Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness* which was a Christmas present so I am really taking my time with this one and so far it’s taken me over a month and I’m only just nearing the end. I think this is some sort of record for how slow I’ve read a book.
Just a little note here, you may now be wondering how I have 2 books on the go at once; a Kindle one and a paperback. I am quite happy to switch between books like this, but you might not be.
A solution here, and is what I do, is to maybe read a fiction book and a non-fiction book at the same time.
Non-fiction could be anything from a parenting book to a memoir/biography (highly recommend Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick*) or maybe there’s another topic you’re interested in. For me, I’m usually reading a business book or some sort of self-help book such as The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin* (another one I highly recommend).
Fiction is of course what ever genre you love. My favourites are fantasy and young adult.
7. Only Read What You Love
I stole this tip from Gretchen Rubin, but she’s so right that I had to include it.
Only read what you love to read!
If you are not enjoying a book, do not finish reading it. Put the book down and pick up another.Did you just waste your Money? Possibly yes, but realising this will only make your dislike the book more, trust me.
We all have a book that was a disappointment for us. I am quite into fantasy fiction and when someone recommended Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites to me I was pretty excited, but it just wasn’t for me. I am going to try some of his other books, but I took permission from Gretchen and stopped reading that book about 20% of the way in and read Practical Magic* instead which I adored.
Some other books that I really wish I could get into are Jane Eyre, pride and prejudice etc, but every time I try I just end up frustrated. For some reason, I feel like everyone who likes reading as much as I do should probably like these classics, but it just doesn’t happen for me. Maybe I will try again when I hit 30…
What do you love to read?
While writing this post I’ve felt like I should do a “what to read” as I did read a huge range of books last year, some of which I’ve mentioned in this post. What do you think?
For now, though, I’m going to leave you with these 3 trilogies that are all up there with my favourite ever books (and 2 of these have an extra book too so not really a trilogy anymore), and 3 non-fiction books too.
Favourite Fiction Trilogies
Favourite Non-fiction Books
P.S. If you just made it through this whole post then I would say you’re already on your way to reading more.