An earlier version of this post included a reference to “Making Dad” by Chip Dolce and Zach Anderson. One of the hosts recently left the podcast, and the listing has been removed.
Do you know how to use that little podcast app on your smartphone yet? It’s time. Podcasts are having a cultural moment, with literally many thousands of podcasts available and new ones popping up every day.
The podcast world includes dozens about parenting, and I’ve sorted through and selected the following worth checking out depending on your personal interests and current place in the parenting world.
If you’re looking for guidance on parenting:
- Unruffled (Respectful Parenting: Janet Lansbury) is the podcast I wish I had had when my kids were toddlers. Janet Lansbury is a parenting expert and the author of two books on babies and toddlers, and her soothing, reassuring advice makes you feel as if you really can be a calm, confident parent even in the face of toddler meltdowns and defiance. Lansbury’s approach focuses on respect for the child and acceptance of her emotions and development, but allows for firm parental limits as needed (for example, when a toddler is a hitter, Lansbury explains how to respectfully set a limit on this behavior). Unruffled offers extremely practical and specific advice for common parenting situations.
- Little Sprigs calls itself “the path to peace with your preschooler,” but it offers relevant insights into parenting older children, too. Host Christina Perez interviews early childhood experts about parenting with no punishments, bribes, or threats. Little Sprigs can veer a little “New Age” in terms of themes of spirituality and mindfulness, but even those who aren’t into that can find useful tips on a connected and peaceful relationship with their kids.
- Quiet is hosted by Susan Cain, author of the bestselling book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” In the 10-part podcast series, Cain focuses on parenting introverts. It addresses the special challenges (and joys) that can come with introvert children, such as parenting an introvert when you’re an extrovert, how to support and encourage introverted children in school and sports, whether you have a quietly gifted child, and more. Bite-size (20-30 minute) segments make this an easy one to catch up on while running errands in the car.
- The Boob Group is a perky morning-show-style podcast entirely about breastfeeding. Hosted by a lactation consultant, the podcast brings an expert-advice, no judgment, support-minded approach to mothers in all types of breastfeeding and pumping situations. Topics include how stress affects breastfeeding and the issue of bringing breast milk to day care. Interactive elements include opportunities to ask questions of experts and a Facebook page. The Boob Group is part of New Mommy Media, which produces a variety of similarly formatted podcasts on pregnancy, newborn parenting, twins, and more.
If you’re in the mood for something smart and thought-provoking:
- Mom and Dad Are Fighting, “Slate’s parenting podcast,” focuses on current events and contemporary parenting issues by way of newsy interviews and witty, entertaining banter. Hosts Allison Benedikt and Dan Kois, two editors at Slate, are the “Mom” and “Dad” (but are not a couple). Between them, Kois and Benedikt have five kids ages 2 to 10 and freely share their own parenting experiences, including their “Triumphs and Fails” in a regular segment on the biweekly podcast. Mom and Dad Are Fighting is never shy about offering surprising ideas, sharp commentary and the occasional F-bomb.
- The Longest Shortest Time, hosted by Hillary Frank, tells interesting, offbeat stories of motherhood through in-depth interviews. It’s no surprise, given that Frank has been a contributor to “This American Life,” that the The Longest Shortest Time’s narrative format is evocative of that granddaddy of radio and podcast. Hear quirky, unusual and always-thought-provoking stories of military motherhood, farm motherhood and much more. The Longest Shortest Time has a social angle, too: The show has staged Speed Dating for Mom Friends special events in three cities and is looking to expand to more.
- The One in a Million Baby also employs a narrative, in-depth interview format, and it tells the deeply emotional stories of parents of children with profound disabilities, some of which are life-threatening. Host and New Zealand mom Tessa Prebble started the podcast after feeling desperately alone and depressed after the birth of her daughter Eva, who had multiple severe disabilities and died at 10 months old. The One In A Million Baby shies away from neither the dark depths of grief and loneliness nor the soaring love and hope that parents of children with disabilities may be feeling.
- Mamalode is an online and print magazine with a literary quality, and now it’s a brand-new podcast. The Mamalode podcast lets the busy reading parent squeeze in an audio dose of thoughtful essays about parenting, read by their authors, with the bonus of interviews with those writers about their work and their parenting experiences.
- The Modern Dads Podcast grew out of the City Dads Group, a dad network and local meet-up group in 20 U.S. cities and growing. Matt Schneider, co-organizer of City Dads Group, hosts this newsy podcast. Schneider interviews expert guests and authors, discusses current events and issues in parenting and, overarching all, focuses on involved fatherhood. In a parenting world still dominated by Mommy groups and Mommy content, City Dads groups and the podcast fill an important niche.
If you just want to be entertained:
- Totally Mommy. Two down-to-earth comics, Elizabeth Laime (mom of an infant and a toddler) and Vanessa Ragland (mom of a toddler), host this chatty show about the honest ups and downs of life with little ones. Thanks to great chemistry, there is never a lag in the show’s energy. (Like all the podcasts in this category, it includes profanity and adult topics.) Each week, Laime and Ragland also discuss answers to reader parenting dilemmas including uninvolved grandparents, and discussing body parts and privacy with little ones. An active, listener-started Facebook support group offers camaraderie among the show’s young mother listeners.
- Spawned is hosted by Kristen Chase and Liz Gumbinner, the founders of Cool Mom Picks and moms of six kids ranging from 5 to 11 years old. Chase and Gumbinner talk about current parenting issues in the news and host the occasional expert guest, but sometimes just offer entertaining chatter about pop culture and parenthood in the elementary school years. The podcast is always fast-moving, friendly and never judgmental.
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