Kids' Books about the New Baby
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I've read the recommendations at http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/arts/books-newbaby.html and I'm going to look into getting I'm a Big Brother, but I'm wondering if anybody has any more recommendations that are good to prepare my toddler for the new arrival. We still have about 4 months to go. Thanks! Jill
Some books that we found helpful for our daughter (who would be almost 3 when the baby was born) are: Baby on the Way by William Sears; Mama, Daddy, Baby and Me by Lisa Gewing; The New Baby by Fred Rogers. Peri
I too am preparing my toddler for the birth of our new baby (due in July). I have some books I highly recommend. I actually sell them through my business, so I may be partial. But nevertheless, my family has really enjoyed these books. There are several Dr. Sear's for childen books like ''Baby on the Way'' and ''What Baby Needs.'' There are also some book/CD sets called, ''I am a Big Brother/Sister Now.'' The Usborne title, ''How Babies are Made'' is also excellent. Melissa
I could've sworn I've already answered this one before, but maybe it hasn't been archived, or maybe it was in a different forum!
It was important to us to get books in which the baby was NOT bottle fed (or at least, not by the mother) -- and, interestingly, that eliminates a lot of otherwise decent ones. We also didn't want anything that followed the storyline of ''elder sib is jealous of/dislikes baby at first but learns to like baby after all'' because I'd heard that these can simply introduce to a toddler the idea that he's supposed to resent the baby, when that otherwise wouldn't have occurred to him!
You'll also want to consider things like the fictional child's visit to the hospital, grandparents coming to stay, and whatever else is typical in these stories but may not reflect what's actually going to happen to your toddler.
What we ended up with (and my son liked them all):
_Waiting for Baby_, Harriet Ziefert. Really cute story about an older brother who is impatient for the baby to be born and tries all sorts of things to encourage the baby to come on out of mom's belly. Story ends with brother going to the hospital to meet his little sister. I really liked having something to read about the pregnancy stage, as opposed to the baby, if you see what I mean.
_Hello, Baby!_, Lizzy Rockwell. Nice picture book that begins with the older child (a boy, again) accompanying his mother to the doctor's office (with drawings of how a baby develops in the womb), continues through the family taking the elder child's clothes and toys out of storage and getting them ready for the new baby, the baby (a girl, again) being born and coming home from the hospital, nursing, getting a bath, etc. The illustrations are realistic (the newborn does not look like a 6- month-old!) but not graphic. In the end the baby is crying and it is the big brother who succeeds in calming her, using one of his former toys. Comprehensive and cute.
_We Have a Baby_, Cathryn Falwell. Short picture book showing a darkish-skinned family with two elder children whose respective genders are not obvious. The baby's gender is not identified. Very simple text, one phrase per page, goes something like ''We have a baby! A baby to hold, a baby to feed, etc., etc., a baby to love, a baby who loves us!'' This is a really good one if your first child is a young toddler or doesn't have the attention span for longer stories.
_What Baby Needs_, William Sears. This one is non-fiction addressed directly to the sibling-to-be, with little sidebars containing tips for the parents. It's a little more complex and would be better for a preschool age (or older) child. Good if you're a Sears fan, and I especially liked that it showed both parents wearing the baby in a sling, but not so engaging a story. There are two (I think, maybe 3) elder children in the family depicted, boy and girl, and I don't think the gender of the baby is identified.
_Baby Knows Best_, Kathy Henderson. Really adorable rhyming picture book about a baby who has all sorts of special stuff -- baby toys, baby clothes, baby food, strollers and bouncers and so on -- but likes best to play with the housekeys, wear nothing at all, eat spaghetti, and be snuggled up with the rest of the family. Elder brother, baby sister again. Not so much a ''preparing for baby'' book per se but my son thinks it's very funny, and I think it's very true!
_Only the Cat Saw_, Ashley Wolff. This one isn't really a sibling book at all, but it does depict a family consisting of an older sister, who is at least 6 or so, and a baby brother (at least 6 months or so). It is the story of everything the family cat saw in the course of 24 hours, including relevant activities such as the mother nursing the baby in the middle of the night.
Happy reading! Holly
I just assembled my collection to share with a friend---here's my reviews in order from favorite to less favorite! My daughter was 2 years 8 months when my son was born. The books include pregnancy, birth, and after.
Baby on the Way--William Sears (yes, Dr. Sears) This is a good balanced positive book about the pregnancy and birth and a sweet family with a boy and a girl. Shows breastfeeding, not bottles like so many books that made my daughter expect to be able to give baby a bottle.
Welcome With Love---Jenni Overend A beautiful picture book about a home birth, shows mom in labor and the baby being born as mom squats and leans into dad with family and midwife around her!
The New Baby at your House---Joanna Cole Photographic book of different families, talks about jealousy too, shows the things big siblings can do with babies.
A Teeny Tiny Baby---Amy Schwartz This book is so humorous and accurate about the world (New York city actually) from a baby's perspective! It doesn't show a sibling but it does show the baby's needs and can be good to talk about when the older child was a baby.
How Was I Born? Lennart Nilsson---A strange combo of photos of the developing baby and a photo story about the siblings getting ready and meeting the baby. I like that it's not prudish and has all the information you would want to share. One of my daughter's favorites, she liked the picture of the brother and sister wearing bubble beards in the bath, a preview of a fun time with her new baby. It does have some sexist passages where the sister explains how she is afraid of climbing and bugs while her brother is not, I just don't read them.
Darcy and Gran Don't Like Babies---not sure the author We got this from the library and it's my favorite one for helping express the negative feelings. The big sister has an ally in Gran, they both ''don't like babies''!
Welcome Little Baby---Aliki I loved this pretty and poetic book but my daughter was not too interested.
I'm a Big Sister---Joanna Cole This book is OK but showed the baby getting a bottle exclusively and always in a carrier, stroller, bouncy swing, with dad, but never in mom's arms! Very strange! Also it emphasizes all the things a big kid can do that the baby cannot, which to me isn't the point. Being able to eat ice cream and pizza will not make up for the loss in attention having a newborn in the house involves!
The New Baby---Mercer Mayer Cute! Little Critter is all revved up about a new sibling and learns how to play with the baby. (Baby drinks bottle alone, lies alone a lot)
A Baby for Grace---Ian Whybrow and Christian Birmingham A little girl going through a tough time around the birth of a baby sibling, doesn't show much upside.
Arthur's Baby---Marc Brown Arthur figures out what baby needs when noone else can. Our daughter became a baby interpreter of cries, and still has that role with her brother, showing sensitivity to what he needs.
I Was Born to be a Sister---Akaela S. Michels-Gualtieri I bought this from the La Leche League catalog. It's written by a kid and she writes about wanting to lose her brother at the mall and having him get his own apt! That was too hard for me to read. Kristine
101 things to do with a baby by Jan Ormerod is my favorite picture book to prepare for a new baby. It shows a helpful big sister (maybe 6 years old) being playful and affectionate with a baby, mother and father in different activities-- bath, laundry, picnic, bedtime, etc. Can be ordered from Amazon. peg healy
We're expecting our third child at the end of July and are looking for books to prepare our two older children (one will be four, the other seven). We've found lots of books about one child with a new baby but only the Arthur book with three total children. If anyone knows of any, it'd be great to know about them.
I don't know of any picture books (although there must be some), but there are some chapter books that are fun to read to kids the age of yours that include this theme. The series that first comes to mind are a set of books about Russell and his younger sister Elisa, by Johanna Hurwitz. The first, Rip Roaring Russell is about Russell as a four-year-old dealing with nursery school, a baby sister, etc. I can't remember the names of all the later books, but eventually the family has a third child, and Elisa has to deal with not being the baby any more. The books are fun, funny, and very relevant to concerns of both four-year-olds and seven-year-olds. The Ramona series (by Beverly Cleary) might be a little harder for the four year old, but could be fun for the seven-year-old. Ramona starts out as an extremely trying younger sister in the early books and by the later ones in the series has to cope with being an older sister. Cynthia
Try the Katie Morag series. Katie Morag lives on a fictional island in Scotland with her parents and first one, then two younger siblings. Some of these books are available through amazon.com They are fun and beautifully illustrated. Mary
I am expecting my second child at the end of October, at which time my son will be a little over two years old. I would like a recommendation for a book(s) that will help all of us prepare for the next child. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Jenny
My book Keys to Preparing and Caring for Your Second Child (Barron's) covers almost everything a second-time parent needs to know. You can preview it at http://www.megzweiback.com/
I would recommend a book by local child development consultant and writer for Parents Press: Zweibach, Meg, Keys to Preparing and Caring For your Second Child. c199l
Does anyone have any suggestions for books and other strategies to help prepare our oldest for the arrival of a new baby? Ricky will be almost two when the baby is born. One dad I work with recommended the Little Critter book, The New Baby. Thanks! Lisa
One excellent book for siblings, when a new baby is on the way is Darcey and Gran Don't Like Babies. It really helped my older son (age 3) talk about different things that were bothering him. We read it a bit before the baby came but more frequently during the baby's first year. It points out all the great things an older child can do that a baby cannot do. B.
A book you might want to avoid is the one about a new baby in the Berenstein Bear series. I don't recall its name but I remember a child development expert recommending NOT using this book because it shows an older child being moved out of his or her crib to make room for the new baby-- reinforcing an older child's fear of being displaced by the new baby.
We found a great book in the Walden Books on the subject. Unfortunately, I don't know the author, but the title is (I think) I'm a Big Sister [Brother] Now. It comes in two editions, one aimed at boys and the other at girls (though the baby is generic). Nice friendly illustrations. It talks about how this is a change, but that the arrival of the sibling doesn't mean that the first child is any less special. Also talks about how babies need special care and attention, and how the Big Kid can do. Dawn
The book we all liked the most was I'm a Big Sister by Rebecca Cole. There is also an I'm a Big Brother version. Best of luck. -Deborah Deborah