It’s a good idea to start exposing infants to books. However, at this age, most things end up in a baby’s mouth. Mouthing is how babies explore and learn about objects. That’s why cloth and soft vinyl books are good for this age range. They are lightweight, easy for baby to pick up and washable. Cardboard books are also a good choice.
- cloth, soft vinyl, and stiff cardboard books
Step 1: For very young infants (birth-3 months), the ideal books have simple, large pictures or designs set against a contrasting background. Find books that can stand up (e.g., stiff board books or books with zigzag fold-out pages). When your baby is awake in the crib or lying on her tummy on the floor, you can stand a book up to allow your child to look at the pictures.
Step 2: For 4- to 5-month-olds, you can hold your baby in your lap to look at books. Babies are more likely to pay attention and look at a book for short periods of time when sitting in a lap. It is typical for your baby to bat at the book or grab it and try to bring is to her mouth to chew or suck. You might try placing a toy in your baby’s hand to decrease her tendency to grab the book as you are reading. Point to and talk about the pictures in the book. Follow your child’s lead and discontinue reading when your child loses interest.