Guest Author - Nicki Heskin
Part of the prolific Dr. Sears parenting library, What Baby Needs is actually for children expecting a sibling. As one of a subset of their works in the Sears Children's Library, it is written by William Sears, Martha Sears and Christie Watts Kelly, with touching and realistic illustrations by Renee Andriani. This book is, in my opinion, an absolute must-have and perfect gift for any family who plans to breastfeed, especially if practicing other forms of attachment parenting, like babywearing or co-sleeping.
This book makes me tear up every single time I have read it, to myself or my daughter. It's just superbly done. The text just assumes that baby will be breastfed, or acknowledges the possibility of pumped milk in a bottle ("when baby is older"). Baby is pictured fitting into the family's activities with the older child in a ring sling and sleeping next to Mommy in a sidecar co-sleeper. It was such a beautiful thing to show my daughter a book that reflected pictures of what her family looked like!
There are fantastic little insets that speak directly to the older sibling outside of the story, many called "What about me?" that address how the older sibling may be feeling and acknowledging those feelings are ok. For example, that it's ok for the older sibling to be still wanting and expecting time and attention from parents, and that it's ok to feel angry towards the baby sometimes (but not to *hurt* the baby). It reminds children that the sort of needs the baby has are the same needs they had.
The book offers advice to children on how to make friends with the baby, and gives realistic expectations of what a baby will and will not do. My favorite illustration in this area is the one of the baby squeezing the older sister's finger – this is the one "game" we had prepared our daughter that the baby *would* be able to play with her right away, so it was fun to see it in there!
There are also incredibly helpful passages about what the older sibling can do to be helpful and feel included. I especially like where it tells children they can help by getting into the car seat quickly when going out and staying close by at all times!
There is also some really helpful information and advice for parents and caregivers about helping siblings prepare for baby written for adults, as well as information about attachment parenting and more resources at the end of the book.
All and all, I give this book my highest recommendation for children and adults in families who plan to breastfeed a new baby. Along with What Baby Needs, Baby On The Way, also from the Sears Children's Library is equally outstanding, helping children understand the pregnancy and birth experience.
Buy What Baby Needs (or Baby on the Way))from Amazon.com