Best Podcasts for New Parents
I’ve been an avid podcast listener for years as a way of zoning out during my bumper-to-bumper drive to work. My commuter playlist has always focused on business, economics and true crime shows resulting in mild improvements in my Jeopardy performance and absolutely no improvement in my crime-solving abilities. Upon starting my mat leave I was happy to abandon my daily commute, but disappointed to leave my dedicated listening time. After a few weeks of diaper changes, late-night feeding marathons and endless baby bouncing I realized that I now have even more hands-free listening time than I did before. As I struggled to navigate my strange, new reality like a baby boomer learning to use Facebook, my trusty podcast universe had my back with hundreds of shows. Since then, I have learned that parenting podcasts come in many flavours with varying degrees of factual accuracy, bias, and storytelling. Some are painful to listen to because, unlike economics, anyone can be a parent and therefore self-qualified to provide advice. Others are enormously helpful, not only for the issues I need help with now, but as a bellwether of what’s to come. On that note, as a self-qualified podcast expert, below are my recommendations on the best parenting podcasts.
The Wonder of Parenting: Based on brain science, this podcast is a fact-based approach to parenting. The topics are covered in depth and the hosts provide practical advice for mothers AND fathers. There’s not much in terms of comedy or entertaining storytelling, but the information is useful. It’s brand new to the parenting podcast scene so there aren’t many episodes, but what they have is great.
Episode Reco: There is an entire series on how “Moms and Dads Parent Differently” Parts 1 – 4.
When to listen: In the morning after a coffee, you’re having science for breakfast.
The New Family Podcast: Short, punchy episodes that explore a wide array of issues relevant for today’s families – like raising strong girls, LGBTQ+, and sustainability. Conversational in tone with experts brought in for factual accuracy PLUS it’s Canadian.
Episode Reco: They tackle a lot of important issues, but I particularly liked the lighter “Fascinating Parenting Lessons from the Animal World” (episode 144) as it is a new view on parenting that I was surprised to learn from.
When to listen: In the car with your partner (so they have nowhere to escape to)
This Girl Loves Sleep: Another great Canadian show hosted by Alanna McGinn, a trained sleep consultant and founder of Good Night Sleep Site. She gives practical advice on questions that you’ve definitely asked yourself about how to get your kids to sleep – including – When To Start Sleep Training and #*&%ing Naps.
Episode Reco: I liked the Sleep Training show (episode 1) because it addressed a lot of the questions I’ve had about how & when to start and what to watch out for.
When to listen: After the 4th time you put your little one down only to have them wake up 5 minutes later.
The Boob Group: Despite the annoying intro song, this is a useful one for breastfeeding moms. I’d recommend selecting episodes according to your interests vs. subscribing as they can be quite specific (i.e. Athletes who breastfeed). It’s also a good one to listen to while pregnant to prepare you for your breastfeeding adventure. Warning: this show is heavily biased towards exclusively breastfeeding so there’s a hint of formula shaming laced throughout.
Episode Reco: “How NOT to Need a Lactation Consultant” (episode 32) provided useful tips from experts and other moms on how to improve my breastfeeding which has been particularly challenging. It was encouraging to hear that others have had similar issues!
When to listen: During the 12 hours you spend with a baby connected to your boob trying to forget how much your back hurts while simultaneously staying awake.
Need a time-out from parenting? Here’s a few of my non-parenting faves:
This American Life: It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. Fantastic storytelling by my radio crush Ira Glass. Start with Ira’s “New to This American Life List” for the greatest hits.
Planet Money: Economic issues explained in simple, everyday language. Self-described as a podcast targeted to those who wish they could “meet a friend at a bar to talk about what’s going on in the economy and actually have fun.”
Under the Influence: A CBC show about marketing and advertising. Lots of interesting history and great storytelling for the marketing nerds out there.
Serial: A gripping true crime series that I binged in a matter of days. Season 1 and 3 only, don’t bother with Season 2.
TED Radio Hour: If you like TED talks, this show is for you. The host does a magnificent job weaving together existing talks with guest speakers to inspire and educate.
Written by Zee MacKay. Zee is a podcast fanatic and a new mom to Adelaide who keeps her busy and inspired to listen to all the parenting podcasts!
League of Moms / 10/23/2018