My mom always talks about watching M*A*S*H* during midnight feedings when I was a baby. More than 30 years later, she still always connects that show with stories of breastfeeding and passing the time at midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m…you get the point.
The most important thing to consider for binge-worthy entertainment for nursing and pumping, is that the characters and plot have to be quick moving and really grab your attention. This isn’t the time for a slow building storyline for a complex plot that makes you think (I’m looking at you, True Detective). There’s a million lists like this for binge-worthy shows to watch during nursing and pumping, but what about for bookworms?
The same requirements go for books as they do for shows: fast-moving, attention-grabbing stories that keep the pages turning and your brain operating at an easy pace.
As a bookworm myself, here’s 5 picks for mamas looking for a break from screen time. I’ve picked books across genres in hopes that there’s a little something for every mama.
If you’re looking for motivation from a fellow mama
- Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Midnight and motivation don’t typically go together but hear me out on this recommendation! Rachel Hollis has four kids and, in this book, her chapters address lies that mamas face like “I don’t know how to be a good mom,” or “other people’s kids are so much cleaner/better organized/more polite.” She debunks these lies and encourages the reader to break past these lies in such an empowering way, I wish I could gift every new mom this book.
If you’re looking for sweet, everyday magic
- Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Hands down, this is my most favorite read of all time. It’s light, airy and just so sweet! It’s the first in a series as well, so if you enjoy it, there’s more to keep you entertained. The story, set in a charming Southern small town, follows a family where each member has a minor magic ability, including Clare, the protagonist who is a caterer who puts plants in each meal that can aid in keeping secrets, or make children thoughtful, or even discourage the attentions of an amorous neighbor.
If you’re looking for suspense and intrigue
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I read all 400+ pages of this book in one day—it’s the truest definition of a page turner. This plot has everything to keep you engaged with a high-stakes puzzle game for the protagonist must solve in order to survive. It has the same quality of suspense that The Hunger Games had, but with a magical component added to the setting.
If you’re looking for an action and adventure
- The Huntress by Kate Quinn
Following a Soviet Union WWII female pilot after the war as she is hunted by a Nazi wife, this story is a girl-power packed plotline that kept me speed reading because I was so nervous to see if the pilot would escape the Nazi. Although this is set after WWII, it doesn’t read like a typical “historical fiction” story, but as a great cat-and-mouse chase story with strong female characters.
If you’re looking for historical fiction that doesn’t suck
- The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman
I bought this at a library sale a year ago and it sat on my bookshelf for far too long. Historical fiction typically isn’t my jam, and perhaps the cover art had me doubting it was for me with the old timey photos. Set in recent times as a reflection on the 70+-year-old protagonist’s life as an immigrant to American in 1913, her story as a female entrepreneur is relatable to any woman who’s ever had to carve her way in business for a seat at the table. It’s not preachy in a “female empowerment” voice, yet when I finished the last page it left me feeling like I had just heard a story told by my grandma or great aunt.