Some parents want to do things a different way, a way that feels more like them. Not with an OB and an epi and maybe a c-section, but with a home birth, perhaps. Some parents want not a bottle, but a breast. And sometimes, it can feel like swimming upstream, because while breastfeeding is more and more widely promoted and supported, it isn't considered mainstream by everyone just yet. So how do you talk about these things with your child, especially if you have a new one coming along? How do they see their family reflected in the picture books they read, if most don't show things this way? Indeed, most books don't really address these things one way or another, but I have tripped across a couple of books that don't skip over this stuff, and these can be used as a lovely support in your inevitable discussions to come. It's rare, still, to be sure, but here is a start.
Mama's Milk, by Michael Elsohn Ross, ill. Ashley Wolff
This gentle rhyming book shows mothers feeding their child as a natural thing, and one of the ways in which she both nourishes and nurtures. Many animals are shown in their nest and burrows as well as dining on the go, and families are shown feeding infants in cozy chairs, in bed, and on a park bench. Babywearers might also enjoy seeing one mother carrying her wee one in a sling, while I particularly enjoyed the mother asleep in a chair as her babe nursed. The classic patterned tale of The New Baby Calf (by Edith Newlin Chase, ill. Barbara Reid) also talks about how the baby calf drinks from his mother and grows fat, and though it does not talk about people, it could be a nice supplement to this.
Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers, ill. Marla Frazee
This book does not directly address any particular parenting technique, dilemma, or style, but I incude it rather for its message-free inclusiveness. This book is a cute and jaunty rhyme, illustrated to fun effect by the incomparable Frazee's detailed drawings. In it, readers are shown the many ways that babies eat, crawl, are carried and rocked and dressed, and more. What I love is that no judgment is made on how babies are fed, simply noting that they are fed "by bottle, by breast, with cups, and with spoons." Similarly, babies are carried not only in strollers, but also in slings and on shoulders. One of my favourite gifts for new moms, I might add.
Welcome With Love, by Jenni Overend, ill. Julie Vivas
This is the only story book I've seen that even comes close to talking about home birth, let alone with illustrations of a birth. These are not photos, nor are they overly graphic, but they are enough to help prepare a sibling who might attend a birth, as they do depict some of what a child might see if they were present. The family is preparing for the birth and waiting for the arrival of their midwife at the beginning of the book. The child narrator talks about the preparations and some of the midwife's equipment, as well as the mother's labouring and the emotions of the moment. After the birth, the mom is tucked into bed and puts the new babe to her breast while the placenta is delivered and the cord cut, and then the whole family sleeps together in the warm light of the fireplace. It's a lovely book, really, and one I would recommend as good preparation for anyone who might be considering sharing a birth experience with a sibling or having a child at home.
These and many non-fiction titles on parenting topics can be found at your local library!
Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.