When I was pregnant with my twins, I worked with a delightful and kind librarian who would send me home every night with a stack of picture books my wife and I would read to my babies. I had read that babies in utero develop the ability to hear at 18 weeks, so that is when we started. And we kept on reading to them until they were born. We may have missed a few days in the hospital (why didn’t I pack books to read to them in my hospital bag??), but I don’t think we’ve missed a day since. I wanted my children to hear beautiful books read from literally the very beginning.
My own bias for reading and singing to babies may be why I was so delighted when I learned in doula training about the benefits of these practices during pregnancy. I did it just because I loved it and wanted my babies to love it. It turns out my natural instincts were not far off.* And now when I gush to expecting parents about how they should read or sing to their babies, I have evidence to back me up. We ready a lot of different books to the babies, but it is best to pick one favorite and stick with it. My article for Seacoast Moms this month explains the benefits and helps you pick the perfect first song or book for your baby.
Want more suggestions? The books I like to give as baby shower presents are all pretty good choices. And these five titles I recently got from Better World Books or my local library are beautiful options too:
Little You by Richard Van Camp
We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp
Welcome Song for Baby by Richard Van Camp
My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse
*Parents, this happens a lot. Trust your instincts!
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