Today I spoke to the new mothers’ group at Greenwich Hospital. The babies ranged from six weeks old to four and a half months. As usual, I asked how reading was going with their babies. I got the usual questions about the “hows” of reading to a new baby. Moms always ask, “How should I read to my baby? Should I hold her or put her in a seat? Is it okay if she doesn’t look at the book but looks at me? How long should I read to her each day? When should I read to her?” These are all good questions and the important thing is that moms and dads are reading to their babies!
There is no perfect formula for reading to your new baby. You can hold them in your lap and prop the book in front of them and read. They benefit from your closeness as well as the language they are hearing and the pictures in the book. Certainly you can also sit them in an infant seat and hold the book up in front of them, giving them the choice of looking at you or the book. When they listen to you and watch your expression and face they are gaining lots of information. Don’t worry, they will look at the book in time. Some children look back and forth from mom’s face to the book. Give them plenty of time to explore the page before going on to the next page. I had the fun of walking in on my son as he was doing his goodnight routine with his one-year-old son. Dad was lying on the floor on his back with Will lying face up on his chest. They were both enjoying the book, the closeness and Will was hearing the story through his body as well as his ears! Soon Will’s arms went limp and the books did their trick for naptime.