We are officially on our babymoon! We welcomed our daughter on October 1, 2011 ~ you can read about here is her birth story! I want to thank fellow birth worker, Rachel Davis, for writing today's post so we can continue to snuggle and adore our sweet baby girl!
Click here for Tuesday's post on Sibling Preparation
Picture Books for Siblings
By Rachel Davis
On his second birthday our son, Jacob, learned that he would be a big brother! As we prepared for the arrival of our second child we explored many picture books about birth and new babies. I used the Internet and library to find books that are helpful for younger children and gathered my favorites into our lending library. Here’s my list of favorites!
Write Your Own Book!
Looking back on the time we spent preparing our son for the birth of his sibling, there is one book that stands out. I put together the “Baby Jacob Book,” which featured photos and information from my pregnancy with my son, photos and information from his birth, and photos of Mommy and Daddy doing typical baby things with him in his first year. We thought about the things he would notice during pregnancy (such as my growing belly), moments he would witness at the birth (such as Daddy supporting Mommy through a contraction), and everyday activities we would do with the new baby (breastfeeding, babywearing, bathing, etc.).
We gathered photos of Mommy and Daddy doing these things and used a photo website to create a book, with simple captions. This was not a baby book, but rather more of a storybook. He loved it during pregnancy and still loves it. During times when our daughter is in need of a lot of attention, we pull out the book and show that our son received the same special treatment from us when he was a baby. It has been such a wonderful tool for him, and it has had the fun benefit of reminding us of those special times we shared with Jacob.
A word of advice: use discretion when you put your book together because your enthusiastic child is likely to show it off to visitors.
Books for Baby-to-Be
These four books are all focused on, or written for, the baby in utero. They are great to read to any sibling-to-be and there is no discussion about what actually happens during the birth. They would also make lovely gifts for expectant parents who would enjoy reading aloud and bonding with their baby in the womb. (Around the end of the second trimester, babies begin to hear sounds and will start to recognize their parents’ voices and other familiar rhythms such as frequently-read books.)
Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman
This is one of our son’s favorite books and he still requests it often. It is about a baby growing in utero, communicating with its guardian angel. It provides an interesting change of perspective from most of the other books. For example, the baby believes “mother” is a place, and baby feels that the womb is growing smaller and tighter. Goes through pregnancy, birth, and beyond. The angel is only shown as sparkles, but it is a main character so this book is for families who accept angels. Highly recommended because it makes you think of pregnancy and birth in a new way!
Before You Were Born by Jennifer Davis
This is a cute lift-the-flap book that has lightly covers the stages of pregnancy and birth with rhymes and colorful pictures.
Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! by Barbara Park
Narrated by the baby in utero, this is a fun book written by an Arizona author. It is a fun rhyme about the reasons why the baby can’t wait to be born. (For example, there is no one to play tag with in the womb!) Just a fun read, not an educational piece about pregnancy.
Oh, Baby, the Places You'll Go by Tish Rabe and Dr. Suess
Preparing for Homebirth
These are our two favorite books on homebirth, plus an additional book that just came out.
Hello Baby by Jenni Overend
We loved this book about a young boy who is expecting a sibling. He also has older sisters. The book is focused only on the birth and shows various people assisting, the mom is walking, the midwife and father aid the delivery, and in the end the whole family snuggles together to sleep. Beautiful and gentle illustrations, including one tasteful depiction of the mom actually giving birth in a standing position. Note that the original edition of this book was called Welcome with Love, which we found at our local library.
We're Having a Homebirth by Kelly Mochel
This is a booklet that features an older sibling participating in a homebirth. To be honest, I found the illustrations to be a little jarring and a little more graphic (full vaginal picture for birth) compared to the previous book, so scope out the sample pages on the website before you buy it. I think this is the only book that showed a mom breastfeeding without concealment. We eagerly added it to our collection so we could provide our son with an additional example of a homebirth.
Mama, Talk About When Max Was Born by Toni Olson
This is a new book that I haven’t read yet, but it looks sweet and I wanted to pass it along!
Preparing for Hospital or Birth Center
We really liked these three books that featured births away from home.
Baby on the Way by Dr. William and Martha Sears
We loved this book that prepares siblings, from young through elementary aged, for the birth of a baby in a birth center or hospital. I particularly appreciated the tips for parents, which provided age-appropriate advice in explaining certain aspects of birth. This book would be particularly helpful if you have a few older children and want to read it at their different levels simultaneously.
There's Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury
A lovely and comforting book intended for a younger child. During the book, the sibling talks to his mother about the baby, wondering what it will be like. At the end, the sibling travels to the hospital to meet the baby.
What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby by Heidi Murkoff
This book is another educational piece that is excellent for a variety of ages of siblings-to-be. Narrated by a dog named Angus, the book offers information about pregnancy and hospital birth. As with the Sears books, it includes tips for the parents.
Preparing for Role of Big Brother/Sister
These are the books we found to be most enjoyable and beneficial for preparing our son to be a big brother. They all focus on the time after the baby’s birth and cover a variety of the new baby’s needs (eat, diaper changes, sleeping, playing) in order to prepare a sibling for what to expect.
What Baby Needs by Dr. William and Martha Sears, w/ Christie Watts Kell
This is my favorite book for preparing children to be big brothers and sisters. It is written to be applicable for a variety of ages and includes tips for parents on facilitating sibling adjustment. I prefer this book over the others because it has a focus on attachment parenting and demonstrates breastfeeding and babywearing.
I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole
Cute book for young boys who are expecting a new sibling. The boy helps his parents care for the baby.
I'm a Big Sister by Joanna Cole
Cute book for young girls who are expecting a new sibling. The girl helps her parents care for the baby.
McDuff and the Baby by Rosemary Wells
This book features a dog instead of an older child, but that might make it easier for some children to relate. The dog feels forgotten after the baby’s arrival and the parents make an effort to spend time with the dog again, as well as to create a new family tradition. Would be a great book to continue reading after baby’s arrival.
Now We Have a Baby by Lois Rock
What to Expect When the New Baby Comes Home by Heidi Murkoff
This is another informative book that is designed for a variety of ages. As with Murkoff’s other book, mentioned in the previous section, this one is also narrated by Angus the dog.
Do your children have any favorite books about birth and new siblings?
About the author: Rachel Davis is the mother of three joyful children, a son born naturally in the hospital and two daughters born at home. She is also a childbirth educator and birth doula in downtown Phoenix. To contact Rachel, please visit www.birthandearth.com.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.