books to prepare your child for a new baby
Welcoming a new baby into the family is one of the greatest changes your child will experience in their young lives.
It’s huge and it’s also completely normal.
So how to prepare them? Well, there’s only so much preparation you can do (more on that in the next few weeks). I find that adjusting to the new family dynamic can take months – will take months – and there is no easy, quick, simple way of doing it.
I’ve written about shifting dynamics previously but this time ’round, as we prepare to welcome our fourth bundle, I’m mindful that I’m also stepping into new territory. You see, this is the first time I’ll have a toddler and a newborn, two little ones in nappies and a toddler who still sleeps very, very close to me in bed at night.
It’s going to be interesting, to say the least. But the blessing of this small age-gap coming with the third/fourth child is that I know, I truly know, that it’s all just a process…and that process will shift with each new day, taking weeks and weeks to reach its climax before it all settles once again.
The practicalities of preparing your child for a new baby are pretty straight-forward. Talk about the baby, engage them in the experience, draw pictures with them, point out newborns when you’re on your walk or at the shops and…read books.
Picture books are such a simple yet profound way to prepare your little one for the changes ahead. Over the years, I’ve gathered a collection of favourites that have recently become daily reads once again. And as I open the pages I reminisce and remember and find myself preparing, in my own way, for this new family member and the inevitable stretching, pulling, needing of me as mother.
If you’re currently growing a sibling for your little one, you might like to locate these books at your library or buy them for your bookshelf:
Hello Baby : this is a beautiful, heartfelt story of a homebirth on a windy, wintry night. The pictures are honest and authentic and yes, there are vivid depictions of the baby being born and the midwife checking the placenta – refreshing and important. I’ve always felt a connection to this story but this time it seems that little more perfect as the final page shows the family of six all bunkered down in front of the fire, the big siblings on one side, the toddler cuddling his dad and the newborn tucked firmly under mum’s arm. We spend a lot of time talking about this page as we attempt to prepare Percy for a baby in the bed.
There’s a House Inside My Mummy : a tender story about a little boy who is excitedly awaiting the arrival of his baby brother or sister. Sweet illustrations and rhyming text make this the perfect book for a toddler.
There’s Going to be a Baby : a conversation between a mum and her little boy takes place over four seasons – time goes by, mum’s belly grows bigger and the little boy’s questions evolve. I love this story for it’s quirky imaginings and illustrations and for the fact that the mum and boy strikes a resemblance to Percy and I.
What To Expect When the New Baby Comes Home : I love the “What to Expect” series for practical, tell-it-like-it-is stories and this edition is no exception. This book is full of home truths about what a new baby is really like and yes, it’s great preparatory material!
9 months : I’m waiting on this to arrive so while I can’t review it just yet, I will say that this is one book I’ll keep on the shelf for many years to come. A beautifully illustrated, no-nonsense guide to how babies grow, how mum’s feel and what happens during the birth process.
I so agree – there is no more beautiful book than Hello Baby! We read it over and over again when it first came out as we waited for our last baby – and it’s just as lovely when there isn’t another baby coming. And 9 Months is brilliant too. Have a wonderful last trimester.