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books for young children to prepare them for new baby May 16, 2007

Posted by guinever in babies, birth, book reviews, pregnancy.

So you’re pregnant with your second baby (or maybe your third or more.) How do you prepare your toddler or pre-schooler for the new baby? I think the best way is through reading story books. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books on the subject which all have delightful illustrations and tell a story. (Other books in this category read like a text book or a self-help book, or the pictures are boring or too cartoonish and just aren’t pretty.) You’ll find these at your favorite on-line bookstore unless otherwise noted.

Waiting for Baby, by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Emily Bolam. I love the center of this book because the pages are flaps, so you can see what Max did each day, all in a row. As you turn each flap, the pages get bigger. This is a great design for a book. My favorite is what Max did on Wednesday. He banged on his drum and marched around and chanted:

Rum, tum, tum ba-by come! Rum, tum tum ba-by come! Rum-a-tee, Rum-a-tee, Rum-a-tee-tum!

We have read this over and over at the end of my pregnancies and my kids have marched around just like Max and shouted at my tummy for baby to come out.


Baby, Come Out, by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Ronald Himler. This is a sweet book with delightful drawings that tells the story of how baby doesn’t want to come out because she likes it just where she is, all safe and warm in her Mama. Each family member has his or own way of trying to coax baby to be born. Finally, baby comes out when her daddy gives everyone a kiss. She wants a kiss too. I especially like the drawings in this because it shows baby in Mama’s tummy. I think it helps young children visualize that there really is a baby in there!


In just Just Like a Baby, by Rebecca Bond, Father makes a cradle and then the other family members all add something to the cradle–Grandfather painted it, Grandmother sewed a quilt, brother made a mobile. Finally, mother pushed the cradle to the window and felt it was ready for baby:

There next to the windows, Mother rocked the cradle gently back and forth
She ran her fingers over the smooth, sanded wood…
She turned down the warm quilt
She watched the mobile slowly turn…
And she felt the baby move inside her.


On Mother’s Lap, by Ann Herbert Scott and illustrated by Glo Coalson. Mom reads Michael a story who brings more and more things on his mother’s lap as they sit together in the rocking chair. Eventually, his baby sister wakes up, and when Mom goes to get the baby, Michael is upset because he doesn’t think there’s enough room. But of course there is always more room on mother’s lap.

I love reading this book with the kids, rocking back and forth, back and forth–just like in the book.


We Like to Nurse, by Chia Martin and illustrated by Shukyo Rainey is a book that is especially good for toddlers and preschoolers because of the brightly painted pictures and simple text. Each page shows a different animal nursing its young. The last page with a mother nursing her baby, reads, “We like to nurse.”


The Biggest Bed in the World, by Lyndsey Camp, and illustrated by Jonathon Langley. This is such a fun book. When there’s a baby in his bed, dad says, “How am I supposed to sleep like this?” The family keeps on growing with the addition of twins and triplets until Dad finally has to make the biggest bed in the world. He even has to knock down walls so the bed will fit in the house. When the kids all move to their own beds, Dad thinks his bed is too empty, and still he wonders, “How am I supposed to sleep like this?” I love the way nursing is drawn in this story.


Welcome with Love, by Jenni Overend and illustrated by Julie Vivas. I love this book! This is the perfect book to help prepare children who might be attending the birth because it shows the mom in several different labor positions with her husband. The midwife and other children are in the illustrations as well. This is a little different than other children’s book because it actually shows the birth. Don’t worry. There’s no blood and gore and raunchy shots, but it beautifully depicts what homebirth is all about. Mom gives birth standing up, leaning on her husband. You see baby’s head coming out from her. Next, the mom is kneeling, scooping her baby up to her with the cord still attached. My favorite drawing is the scene after the birth from overhead which shows the dad holding the placenta in the bowl; he had just cut the cord. Baby is tucked in bed beside mom, surrounded by the three other children. My favorite quote:

A little boy, Mum says, crying and smiling at the same time. She holds him close against her breast. Dad tucks the blanket around them. He’s crying too.


The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby, by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Cute little book. Brother bear has outgrown his bed so he and Dad go out into the woods to build a new one. When they get home, there’s a new baby sister in brother’s old bed.


Dancing Waters, by Tara Tulley and illustrated by KC Clark “tenderly tells the story of a family who chooses a doula and waterbirth in a hospital settingAlso available by the same author and illustrator is Stars of the Sky where a mother tells her twins about their homebirth.

Dale, a childbirth educator, says,

It looks like it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the heart and soul.

I have not seen these books for myself, but they look delightful. You can find them here.

If you know of another book that might fit my list, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Go to my list of recommended pregnancy books.

Go to my welcome page for a listing of more articles.



1. Sarah kostyu - December 26, 2007

I have a free downloadable book for children about homebirth. It can be downloaded from http://www.motherhoodnaturally.com/store in the freebies section. It has actual pictures of birth for children old enough to see how birth happens.

2. Krista - September 5, 2007

I would like to recommend the following:

Runa’s Birth by Uwe and Inga Kamieth Spillmann
– lovely illustrations, depicts a homebirth in Germany (all the neat little European touches in the house are fun to see) from the perspective of the older sister

Ma McDonald – Joanne Arnott
– out of print đŸ˜¦ try to find a copy used
– best line ever: Ma McDonald had a baby, EIEIO, out by the barn where the grass is wavy, EIEIO.. depicts an unassisted birth

My brother Jimi Jazz – Chrissy Butler
– gorgeous whimsical illustrations, story from older sisters point of view. Although it’s not mentioned in the book, it’s an HBAC (Homebirth after cesarean)

3. Heather - July 2, 2007

I just wanted to report back here: I ordered “Waiting for Baby” and “On Mother’s Lap” on your recommendation, and the Sprog LOVES them! There’s a sequel to “Waiting for Baby” that he also likes. I think it was called “Talk, Baby!” but I’m not sure, since I had to give it back to the library.

4. Coral Rose - June 12, 2007

*laughs to self* No, have no fears, I have not opened my mouth to recommend anything, I simply have sold a LOT of copies. Although, for the record, the childbirth section of our bookstore is pretty terrifying (as is the childcare.) It seems to me that the number one fear of today’s modern woman is that God would bless her with a child that would *shocked gasp of horror* change her life forever! I mean, there are plenty of good books, but they are followed up by books about regaining a sense of self or retaining your husband’s interest…which terrifies me, not for myself, but for women who cannot see the beauty of the natural process of life. All that to say, I don’t recommend childbirth books. I think that I lack insight at this stage of the game. Although I did horrify a co-worker by announcing that I thought a midwife and a home birth would be the ideal way to bring a child into the world, which surprised me, because people are supposed to be open-minded here.

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