Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Do you have some books to prepare our child for the new baby we’re expecting?

Children’s Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day. Nearly 5,000 babies are born in Oakland every year! Books can help older siblings cope with the transition from rock-star/minor-deity to has-been.

Erica's daughters - age 3 and newborn!

Q: Do you have some books to prepare my child for the new baby we’re expecting?

A: Yes, we do! Different issues come up for kids who are about to have a new sibling. I’d like to share books that include some different angles on the question. I think of them in these 5 rough categories:

Books that simply explain what welcoming a new baby might include. If you don’t know yet what your child is thinking or feeling about the whole thing, simple books without drama may be a good starting place.

New Baby at Your House by Cole Baby for Max cover illustration Cover image of A Baby's Coming to Your HOuse cover image of Babies Don't Eat Pizza cover image of How Does Baby Feel cover image of Now We Have a Baby

Books that show and tell how babies are made. If your child has already started asking questions, we have books that provide answers in kid-friendly terms – arranged here from youngest/simplest to oldest/most-detailed.  

cover image of When You Were Inside Mommy cover image of How you were born cover image of How Babies Are Made  cover image of How I Was Born cover image of Where Do Babies Come From cover of Mommy Laid an Egg cover image of Everybody has a bellybutton cover image of What Makes a Baby cover of Where Did I Come From? cover of Amazing You! cover of What's In There? cover image of It's Not the Stork 

Books that acknowledge the long wait. For your child, it’s half a lifetime away – from the time your family & friends start talking about the coming baby and the birth-day. These books help put the calendar in perspective. 

    

Books that address strong feelings that older siblings might have. If your child has already expressed negative feelings, there are books that address their fears, with humor, information, or simple acceptance, any of which could be a big relief for you both. Many of these stories start out disastrous, but they turn out fine in the end, of course!  

          

Books that give ideas of how to enjoy a baby. Whether the baby has arrived yet or not, you can build positive anticipation brainstorming ways your older child can enjoy the baby.  

       

Actually, there are tons more! My hands are all clicked out...this will have to be a starter list! 

If you’d like some advice about how best to prepare your child for a new sibling, there are a few websites to get ideas. Ask Dr. Sears, Baby Center, WebMD, and What To Expect each have their own advice, but most of it is consistent, so reading any one of those will give you some basic suggestions.

watercolor of a baby on a blanketGuess what?!?! Now that you’ve reached the end of this blog post, I’d like to invite you and your child to our New Sibling Workshop coming up in March, 2015. We’ll read a few of these books and you’ll make one of your own to help your first child welcome the new baby. Spread the word! 

Finally, despite the steady stream of questions coming to us at the Oakland Public Library every day, we’d still be happy to receive your question online! Leave a comment if you like, but if you have a question you’d like to see answered in depth, on this blog on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, CLICK HERE

Link to submit a question to the Children's Services Blog

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