It has been a while since we’ve had a tiny baby in the house, and I not only need to refresh my own memory but also make sure that both J and Little E know what to expect.
Little E is getting tired of the books that we already have in the house pertaining to babies, so this gives us an excuse to take a trip to the local library, which has tons of very good titles about introducing a new baby to the family as well as several useful reference books to help prepare expectant parents.
Here are some of the library books that I have found the most useful both for myself and for the children:
1. There’s a House Inside My Mummy by Giles Andreae & Vanessa Cabban (Call number: English AND)
This is a lovely rhyming story about a little boy waiting for his brother or sister to arrive, and he imagines that his mother’s growing belly is a house where the baby is staying! This book is really great for helping kids to understand why their mummy is changing in both appearance and behaviour, especially focussing on symptoms of pregnancy such as feeling tired and sickly (or having bizarre food cravings!).
2. What Baby Needs by William Sears & Martha Sears (Call number: English 649 SEA)
This picture book looks at how life changes for an older sibling once a tiny baby is introduced into the family. It shows what sort of care a newborn baby will receive, as well as the different roles that family members play in the baby’s life. At the beginning of each section there are notes aimed at grownups with useful advice on what sort of information and stories that can be shared with a child to help them to understand what is to come, as well as how to deal with specific issues and worries that children might face when preparing for a new sibling. The detailed illustrations show all sorts of scenes that are associated with attachment parenting, such as baby-wearing in a sling or a carrier (by both parents!), co-sleeping and breastfeeding, to help kids become familiar with these actions taking place in their own home. A very practical book!
3. New Baby by Nicola Barber (Call number: English 306.875 BAR)
I like this particular book because it uses photographs instead of illustrations and thoroughly explores how an older brother and sister might feel when a new baby comes into their life. A very useful book to use as a springboard for discussion with the big brother/sister-to-be about any uncertainty or anxiety that they might be feeling as they anticipate a big life change.
1. On becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo (Call number: English 649.122 EZZ -[FAM])
This is a great book for troubleshooting babies. Of course, I realise that the methods used in ‘Babywise’ are controversial, but I actually found the concept of parent-led schedules very useful. The book itself is a good guide on how to manage the early days of infancy, from breastfeeding to sleeping, and it helped me gain confidence in myself as a parent. I found that the book helped me develop my own framework on how to organise my day and how to fit a new baby’s routine into an already existent, fixed schedule. The very practical advice in the book helped me greatly, especially during those early sleep-deprived days when common sense and logical thinking goes out the window!
2. Twice Blessed by Joan Leonard (Call number: English 649.143 LEO -[FAM])
I found this book extremely useful when preparing for a second (and third!) child. The author of the book is brutally honest about the impact that second children have on a family, and deals with many issues surrounding second children, including sibling rivalry. It really helped me to think through how I would prepare my first child for the arrival of a younger sibling.
3. Fun Start by June Oberlander (Call number:English 649.5 OBE -[FAM])
This book is a collection of weekly games which are matched to a child’s age and development from birth to 5 years old. It gives you a great idea on what kind of interaction to expect from your child at different stages in his or her development, and has plenty of fun, simple activities that you can do with your growing child every week. All the activities are really short and simple, and they mostly involve common household objects, so they are easy to carry out. I loved finding new ways to play with my kids, so this was a really enjoyable and useful read for me!