One of the things we’re doing to prepare Little Man for the birth of baby sister is reading books to him about it. Little Man loves to read, and I have seen his comprehension of the process of what’s going on greatly increase as we read books to him about pregnancy.
My favorite book that we have gotten him so far is one that I purchased from Amazon called Hello Baby by Lizzy Rockwell. I honestly wasn’t expecting the book to be as helpful as it was. I thought it might help a little, but it has truly done WONDERS for him increasing his understanding of what’s going on. Before we had the book I would try explaining to him that mama has a baby in her belly, and soon he would have a baby sister etc. He would give me very strange looks when I talked about it and never would acknowledge baby sister in my belly etc. Then we got this book.
The book is written from a little boy’s perspective. It starts out with the little boy patting his mama’s big belly and feeling for the baby kicking. Then it goes through different stages of pregnancy. There is a page that shows the mom standing in her underwear and bra (it’s a cartoon book, this didn’t seem inappropriate at all to me) and you can see the mom’s big belly, but her belly is “see through” and you can see the baby inside. This image helped Little Man a lot in realizing there’s a BABY in there! The book explains a lot about how the baby is growing in mama’s womb, that it’s getting food from the umbilical cord etc. A couple of the more informative pages are a little too much info for a 1 year old so I usually use the pictures on those pages and explain in my own way what’s going on in words I know he comprehends. He knows the baby is in “water” in my belly, and always talks about the baby having a “bath” in there. Not exactly scientifically correct, but that’s where his understanding is as 1 year old, so we’re going with it.
There is a page showing the little boy at a dr visit with the mom and it explains a bit about what the dr is doing to take care of mama and baby. I don’t usually take Little Man with me to the dr visits but we use that page to talk about mama going to the dr. a lot and that he gets to play at Gigi’s house when mama is at the dr. I think it is helpful for him to have a mental image of what I’m doing while he plays with Gigi.
There is a page showing the mom, dad and little boy unpacking boxes and getting things ready for the new baby. We use this page to point out things on the page that “baby needs”. He understands that babies need things like diapers, shirts, toys, stuffed animals, a bed etc. and can identify all those things in the picture.
Next the story shows the little boy’s grandparents arriving to take care of him while daddy takes mama to the hospital. I love the way the book treats this topic. The little boy says something about being sad to see them go, but mama explains that the dr. will take good care of her and help baby sister be born just like dr. helped him be born when he was a baby, it’s a good mix of not adding fear about the situation to a child who may not have any, but addressing the uncomfortableness of a new experience (mommy and daddy leaving & staying with grandma for a few days).
The next few pages are filled with fun things the little boy gets to do with grandma. It shows them baking cookies, looking at baby pictures of the little boy, building a fort, coloring etc. I LOVE that about these pages because we are able to discuss how much fun he’s going to have with his grandma while mama is in the hospital. He’s not thrilled about the fact that he will be away from me, but he gets really excited when he sees the pages with cookies and coloring with grandma! It really spins that part of the story in a fun way!
The last few pages show the little boy visiting the mom in the hospital and shows pictures of him meeting the new baby and sitting with his mom and dad on the hospital bed.
The end of the book is about bringing the baby home, and shows the little boy adjusting to having a new baby. It shows several ways the big brother “helps”, which has been great for Little Man because he LOVES being a “helper”. The book shows him bringing the baby a musical toy when she is crying and helping when daddy gives sister a bath & puts on her new diaper. The little boy also talks about how baby is too little to play right now but one day the baby will be able to play with him.
Near the end there is a picture of the little baby crying and we always talk about “what we do when baby cries”. Little man knows that he should pat her and say “it’s okay” when she’s crying, and he always pats the baby in the book when we get to that page.
The last page is a picture of the new family of four :)
This book has been so helpful for us. The text of the story is wonderful on most pages, but like I said can be a bit wordy for a child my son’s age on a few pages. But that’s no problem because I can easily make up my own words for those pages. For an older child it would be perfect information-wise in my opinion.
There is also an image of the mama breastfeeding the new baby and it explains how that works as well. This could be weird if you are planning on bottle feeding your child, but since I nurse that page was helpful for explaining to Little Man that mama will be rocking and feeding the new baby a lot.
Obviously I’m a huge fan of this book. It has been immensely helpful, and I’m so glad we bought it! It was only $7 on amazon so the price was pretty awesome too!
I will be writing about a few other books we got for him on the same topics, but this book is definitely my favorite!
Did you buy any books to introduce the concept of “new baby” to your older children? what were your favorites?