“My toddler is getting a sibling! Now how do I prepare her for it?” Storytelling, I’d learned from the brilliant book The Whole-Brain Child, was a fantastic way to engage then 21-month-old Allie, so I turned to my favourite resource – our local library.
A quick search for books related to “sibling,” “baby,” and “new baby” resulted in a solid list of kids books. I requested most of them and for the next half a year, we read our way through them. Of the countless books we read, here are the ones I found most memorable and helpful in starting conversations with our daughter about the upcoming arrival of a new family member. (Note: Links on this page are affiliate links. By purchasing through our links, you help to support our hungry toddler and baby fund. :))
“I’m a Big Sister” by Joanna Cole
This simple book tells the story of a little girl who gets a new sibling. It also covers some of the ways the older child can interact with the baby. There’s another version for boys called “I’m a Big Brother.”
New baby series by Rachel Fuller: “Look at Me! ,” “My New Baby,” “Waiting for Baby,” and “You and Me“
This board book series is suitable for younger children, in my opinion. The sentences are short and the thoughts are a bit disjointed, jumping from one thought to the next. My daughter seemed to enjoy the books though and the illustrations gave us a lot to talk about. This series shows the mother breastfeeding, which I found to be less common among kids books.
“How to Be a Baby . . . by Me, the Big Sister” by Sally Lloyd Jones
This book prepares the child for what a baby can and cannot do in a humourous way. My daughter found this book hilarious.
“Sophie and the New Baby” by Laurence Anholt
This book tells the story of Sophie and her adjustment to having a new sibling. I liked this book because it addressed the older sibling’s mixed feelings and showed my daughter that it was okay to feel many different ways toward the new baby.
“Angelina’s Baby Sister” by Katherine Holabird
This book also addresses the older sibling’s mixed feelings toward the new baby. In this story, Angelina gets very angry and upset that no one is paying attention to her. I’m not sure how much my toddler understood it at the time, but perhaps now that she’s experienced the tension of having less attention, we can read it again and she’ll be able to relate better.
“There’s Going to Be a Baby” by John Burningham
This book has some lovely illustrations and tells the story of a little boy in conversation with his mother, imagining what his baby brother might grow up to be. For some reason, my daughter loved this one.
“What’s in There?: All About Before You Were Born” by Robie H Harris
This book helps explain the growth of a baby inside the mother in a child-friendly way.
“You Were the First” by Patricia MacLauchlan
This lovely book affirms to the older child that she is and always will be special to her parents, even as the family grows.
“Welcome With Love” by Jenni Overend (Previously titled, “Hello Baby”)
Because I was preparing for a home birth and potentially having my daughter at the birth, I also searched for resources to prepare my daughter for that experience. This was the only children’s book I found with a home birth setting. It was also the only book that depicted labour. It is quite matter-of-fact, preparing the child for the sights and sounds of labour and delivery (including Mama making lots of noise and what the placenta is) all in a very gentle manner.
“Loving Each One Best” by Nancy Samalin
Obviously, this is not a children’s book, but I read it for me. Being an only child, I didn’t have the experience of growing up with siblings so I wanted some insight on what it would be like to raise more than one child. There are probably many other books on this topic out there, but this is the one I was able to get through before the baby came.
I must add, however, that no amount of preparation you do with your child will ever truly prepare them for the massive shift in family dynamics once the baby arrives. But part of reading with them beforehand (and after the fact) is simply journeying with them through the changes of life.