Five weeks ago our second daughter was born. In the months leading up to her arrival we began introducing a variety of new picturebooks to our shelves and bedtime story routine that feature pregnancy, birth and new babies to help our daughter prepare for our new arrival.
There are many wonderful picturebooks that take on this theme. Below is a selection of six that we found enjoyable and helpful as a means to discuss with our daughter the momentus change that was to come, and to help explain the changes to mummy's 'tummy' that were incrementally noticeable. We started including these reads soon after our daughter turned 2, about three months into pregnancy.
Miffy and the New Baby (Dick Bruna)
This was our first Miffy book. It's distinctive illustrations combine with a gentle rhyme, depicting the lead up to and arrival of a new baby bunny to Miffy's family. It's useful for preparing children for the day or night when mummy and daddy have to be away for a time and how when they return they will bring a baby with them. It focuses on the pride that Miffy has at the new arrival, being the "big" sister and even baking celebratory cakes to take to school.
Aren't You Lucky! (Catherine and Laurence Anholt)
This is a great option for helping toddlers understand their potentially mixed feelings about a new baby sibling. As the girl does here, they might have lots of people saying "aren't you lucky!", and yet they might not feel very lucky at all - they now have to share an often tired mummy and daddy, and the baby can't even play or talk or do much at all.
But as baby grows so does the fun and soon there is lots for a big sister or brother to enjoy - including being a great helper with looking after their little sibling. As well as conveying a nice set of messages alongside pleasing illustrations, it is also helpful as an example of a picturebook that clearly depicts breastfeeding.
There's Going to be a Baby (John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury)
This is a poetic tale of a pregnancy through the seasons. For us, the pregnancy for our second child seemed far quicker than the first, but for our toddler the wait for her baby sister may have seemed very long indeed. This book is helpful for depicting a pregnancy and the passing of time through a toddler's eyes. It's also amusing in its depictions of a newborn acting out adult jobs, which our daughter finds funny.
I Love You Baby (Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd)
We've reviewed this lovely book previously, but wanted to include it here too as it was also a frequent choice in recent months. With lovely pastel illustrations and a sweet rhyme about the many cute features of a new baby, it's also ideal as an evening read, ending with a bedtime sequence where the toddler helps put baby to sleep.
15 Things Not to Do with a Baby (Margaret McAllister and Holly Sterling)
This is a bright and breezy picturebook filled with amusing scenes of what a toddler is not to do with their family's new arrival. While some of the ideas are clearly just for fun ("don't give your baby to an octopus to cuddle"), these are interspersed with some rather more sensible and practical limitations too ("don't play your trumpet when your baby is trying to sleep")!
Mummy, Mummy, What's in Your Tummy? (Sarah Simpson-Enock and Linzi West)
A short, sweet read, with pleasing artwork and cute couplets proposing a variety of suggestions for what might be inside mummy's growing tummy. Could it be a boat painted blue, or a birthday cake, or a big red balloon? It's fun to all say "No!" together and then at the end to declare "It's a baby!" when all is finally reveal