Miss 3 has been our only child for the past 3 years. We're now 16+ weeks along, expecting her little brother, and it is an exciting time for the entire family.
Montessori advocates involving children in the preparation of their new sibling's arrival, helping them understand what to expect, learn about pregnancy, birth and newborns, so they are mentally and emotionally ready for their transition into big brother/sister.
Books are a great way for children to gain knowledge about new topics, so I've been reading many pregnancy and sibling related books to Miss 3.
I curated books with reassuring and positive messages about the transition - reassuring firstborns that no matter how many siblings come along, they'll always be loved. I also appreciated books with constructive suggestions on how children can help their parents take care of the new sibling.
10+ Montessori-friendly Books to Prepare Elder Sibling for New Baby
1. You Were The First
You were the first - This was a sentimental and poignant read for me. It took me down memory's lane, recalling all the firsts with my daughter. The specific activities of catching fall leaves, playing in snow and waiting for spring were all relevant activities I did with my firstborn (though I can imagine it might not be relatable to families in different climates).
The book begins and ends with the depiction of a baby sleeping basket with a yellow ribbon wound round, showing how the firstborn first slept in it, then grew up, and subsequently watched over younger siblings in the basket. These illustrations helped Miss 3 understand visually what growing up and having younger siblings mean.
2. Nine Months Before a Baby Is Born
Nine months before a baby is born - Each page spread of this book shows what each month of pregnancy is like for a growing family preparing to meet their new baby. It captures family dynamics, emotions and science beautifully through realistic illustrations.
The words are concise and poetic, making it easy for Miss 3 to remember (and even recite). She particularly enjoys comparing the size of hand to that of the unborn baby on each page spread, and because most of the images are drawn to size, she could easily visualise baby's gradual growth.
3. How You Were Born
How you were born - This is an informative book that is age-appropriate for young children who wish to understand where babies come from, focusing on fetal development and childbirth (unfortunately c-section deliveries aren't mentioned). I love that the book provides real pictures of families with their newborn babies and strong factual content on this topic.
4. The New Baby At Your House
The new baby at your house - Another excellent book by Joanna Cole to prepare older children for their newborn sibling. Again, pictures are great (though a little dated), showing racially diverse families, varying ages of older siblings, the process of expecting a newborn sibling, the turbulent emotions of having a sibling as well as caring for a baby with breast and bottle-feeding shown.
5. The New Baby
The new baby - Like other Fred Rogers book, this connects to children by relating to the big feelings of being an older sibling. It speaks to the reader (child) directly in an honest, authentic and reassuring way. While the pictures are a little dated, they show real moments of sibling interaction and describe how older siblings can help their younger ones.
6. We Have A Baby
We have a baby - This book focuses on positive family interactions in concrete detail eg when father bathes the newborn baby, the sibling helps by handing him a towel. The downside is that the book does not show the negative emotions that can arise from having a new baby in the family. As such, I would recommend this book for young toddlers since it has a clear, heartwarming message. For older children, it would be best to supplement with other pregnancy/childbirth books that discuss the conflicting feelings of being a big brother/sister, showing them that negative feelings are normal and accepted during such a big transition, and share how to manage those emotions.
7. How Was I Born?
How was I born? - This is an extremely wordy book but it helps that there are many photographs of the growing family as well as fetal development that accompany the text. The content is long because there are two "voices" in the book, one factual one to describe the pregnancy process, and the one a narration of how Mary (middle child) experiences the family's latest addition from her viewpoint.
I mentally edit some of Mary's tone and language when reading to Miss 3 as they at times seem irrelevant or can sound insensitive, but otherwise Miss 3 is a big fan of this book as she enjoys the flow and descriptive words used.
8. On Mother's Lap
On mother's lap - Sweet and tender story with a timeless message - that a mother's heart and lap can anwill stretch and expand to love all her children. This is a story of a young boy wanting to sit on his mother's lap, even bringing toys and other belongings along, but when a baby sibling wants to join in, he thinks there isn't room on his mother's lap. Calmly, the mother reassures him that everyone and everything are able to fit and they all belong together, on her lap.
9. What Baby Needs
What baby needs - This book gives a concrete sense of what tasks the older sibling could help out with when the baby gets here. It values the big brother/sister's contribution and help them feel needed and important and to the growing family. There is an attachment-style parenting emphasis in this book, so it is most ideal for families that breastfeed, co-sleep and babywear.
10. Baby On The Way
Baby on the way - This is the prequel to "What baby needs" (above), but focuses on the pregnancy and childbirth process. It carries the same attachment-style parenting tone. My only grip is that the book doesn't come with real pictures to depict pregnancy in more realistic terms, using illustrations instead.
11. My Brother, My Shadow
My brother, my shadow - This book shares great messages about sibling love, bonding and interaction, and I particularly love the last line "but I know that our friendship was made to last forever". This book is told through the eyes of the older sibling and discusses real feelings about the relationships between siblings, such as annoyance when the younger one sticks too close and missing the younger sibling when he's away. This book makes an excellent conversation starter about how everyone needs their own space, how we need to respect that, and ultimately how siblings still love each other in spite of the ups and downs.
12. You're All My Favourites
You’re all my favourites - This fictional book isn't strictly Montessori-aligned as it features talking bears, but has sweet illustrations and the reassuring message that every child (bear) is special and loved. It's a hit with Miss 3 whose favourite animals are bears.
If I Could Keep You Little
If I could keep you little - This isn't a book that specifically talks about new siblings, but it is a heartwarming, tear-eliciting one about this life stage, addressing the paradox of parents enjoying their children's growth but also wishing they would stay little. It helps Miss 3 understand what growing up means, and I'm hoping in time she'll understand more as she watches a younger sibling grow up too.
I hope you find some gems from this book list! Wishing you a joyful pregnancy and smooth journey for your family's exciting transition ahead!
Follow our journey on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook Group.
You might also like:
Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.