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28 Jan

Books for Newborns

 

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

During my last post, which to me seems like it was written in another lifetime, I wrote about preparing for my little bundle of joy while pregnant. Well, my husband and I are proud to announce that the little bundle has arrived and has morphed into a wild and rambunctious almost 4 month old boy named Rafee. His hobbies include yelling and refusing to nap. However, he is quite a curious and interactive baby, and as long as it is not naptime, he is the most smiliest dude you will ever meet. His childhood has so far been a blur of eating and outgrowing half his baby clothes already. Simply said, he is the joy of my life!

So it makes sense that my first blog post of the new year will be about the daily routine with Rafee that I most enjoy: story time! Shopping for newborn books was one of my favorite prenatal activities, and ended up registering almost every children’s book I came across. We are so grateful for the ones our friends and family ended up gifting us, and it is so fascinating to see how these books have engaged Rafee’s attention from the first day of life. Even before he was born, I savored our moments sitting in our nursery, rocking gently on our chair, and exploring each one, imagining what his adorable face would look like as he watched me turn the pages one day. Now that day has arrived, and our moments with the books are among the most fascinating and magical of early motherhood. I truly hope these moments last forever.

Through trial and error, I was able to figure out the books he most enjoys during his early development. For example, at 2 weeks old, the more sophisticated Dr. Seuss pictures and rhymes that I read to him during pregnancy didn’t really interest him, while the simpler board books with high contrast shapes and colors seemed to captivate him from day one. He was so mesmerized with books like “Spots and Dots” that I would sometimes prop the book open about a foot from his face as he lied down so that I could buy some personal time to take care of things like making coffee and using the restroom without him freaking out (For a newborn, he has serious FOMO!) I would frequently come back to find him still staring at the various shapes and colors on the pages. For those few minutes of freedom I am quite grateful 🙏🏼

My husband is a specialist in pediatric neurology, and he explained that the baby’s visual systems have limited ability to process certain images. Their brains are initially best at processing only simple shapes, along with faces and high contrast color patterns, especially the color red for some reason. Indeed, in the first few precious days after his birth, these were the only images that would sustain his attention, as long as the images were presented within 1-2 feet from his eyes. However, it did not take him long to start to process images with more subtle contrast and more complicated shapes and patterns, as well as images farther away that a few feet. It was enthralling to track the development of his vision as he grew, and the books were helpful in that process. Here are a few selections that Rafee enjoyed:

Spots and Dots by Art Baby 

This would sustain his attention for so long!

Peek-a-boo by Sassy Developmental Toys

The high contrast images and shapes along with the texture of this book entertained him!

Art for Baby by Yana Peel

I came across this book while browsing amazon one night and couldn’t help but register for it. Rafee loves it and it also makes a super cute coffee table book!

Look, Look! by Peter Linenthal 

This one again has those high contrast shapes and images but comes with a little story. I would say he enjoyed this one towards the end of the newborn stage.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle

Baby began enjoying this board book around the end of the newborn period. I think the repetition and bright contrast images may have done the trick in making him to sit through and concentrate until the end!

These were just some books that worked for Rafee when he was a newborn. And I enjoyed reading them to him. ❤️

You can find them all on amazon.

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Farah Malek

Professor, M.D. & amateur photographer that loves capturing the moment and traveling in style.

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