Updated: Mar 6, 2020
Best Books for Reading to Your Newborn
I don't claim to be an expert on babies. But I can tell you what I think the best books for babies are. As a newborn, your baby doesn't really have an opinion, so this means you get to choose. The true test is going to be whether you can stand to read it again and again, night after night, nap, after nap, after nap. Here are the 10 best books for babies that will give you all the new motherhood feels and won't make your brain feel like mush (wait, that's the sleep deprivation...). These are perfect books for reading to newborns as they highlight the bond between a mother and her baby but since all except one are board books, they are sure to last into the toddlers years too.
As your baby grows, their level of interaction with books will grow too. For the first few months, they just want to hear the sound of your voice. After all the months of listening to you in the womb, it is a soothing comfort to them. This is the time to enjoy all of the sweet, sentimental books that bond you with your baby. These are the ones you fawned over when you were designing the nursery. Now that your little one has arrived, they may bring tears of joy (but it could also be all the hormones).
So cuddle close and secretly sniff the back of their necks while you enjoy these sweet reads.
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1. Time for Bed
My top pick for your nightly nursery reading. The soft color palette and soothing rhyme are sure to lull your little one to sleep. With the turn of every page, an animal mother tells her offspring it's time for bed. You could read it a thousand times (and I have) and it will still hold a special place in your heart.
How did I not know about this book? This is one was love-at-first-read. It's everything a children's book should be: full of wonder for little person growing up right before your eyes and hope for the person your child will be come. With its pretty, playful pastel pictures and lilting rhyme, the only thing I don't love is that I've missed out on it until now (and that it is not available as a board book).
The mother-baby bond is strong with this book imagining the way animals around the world kiss each other goodnight. The book repeatedly returns to the sloth pair, still kissing goodnight, savoring the ritual. You (almost) won't want it to end.
What a joy this book is! We get an intimate look at all the cute and comical scenes that make up a baby's first year from the bleary-eyed newborn days to the creeping, crawling chaos. The illustrations are reminiscent of a classic baby book, making it feel like it's already been a favorite for generations.
From the trees to the reeds, from the barn to the house, all the little animal sleepyheads are snuggled cozy in their beds. All except one, who is missing from his bed. The last line "where is that little sleepyhead? Asleep in Mama's arms." will make you want to hold your baby just a little bit longer.
If you are one of those moms who wants to "eat" your baby, you will devour this book. Featuring babies from around the world, each special in its own way, but all alike in that they have chubby little hands and feet, ten little fingers and ten little toes. But of course, no baby is a special as the sweet, squishy one you hold in your arms.
This adorable book shows all the ways animal mommies show their affection for their babies as they share the day. The mother cat cuddles, the monkey's mama swings and the butterflies just hang out. Let this book be a reminder to treasure the time you have to show your little one how much you love them.
A lighthearted book about unconditional love, this book will introduce babies to their body parts (I love your hair and eyes, your giggles and cries) and reassure them that you love every part of their person and personality.
This book is worthy of a place in your library for the illustrations alone. Featuring alternating black-and-white sketches and colorful paintings, you'll find there is a story within the story. Paired with a narrative about a little bunny who toys with the idea of running away and a mother bunny who will always find him, you'll know why this book has been a classic for more than 75 years.
10. A Baby is Born
This book depicts adorable animals babies being born, each special in their own way. Baby birds are are hatched in a nest at the top of a tree while puppies arrive in a cardboard box in the middle of the night. A simple, easy read for when you're already tired. And you will be.
What did I miss? What were your favorite books to read to your infant? Please comment below or check out my recommendations for the 11 Best Classic Board Books for Babies and Toddlers and 12 Modern Classic Board Books for Babies and Toddlers see if it made one of those lists.