Baby sits on the ground reading baby books about animals

12 Baby Books for the 1st Year

Why would you read to your baby if they can’t even understand the words? Is there a purpose for all those baby books? Believe it or not, there are many benefits of reading to your child at any age. And yes, this includes brand new babies! 

Sure, your newborn won’t be picky about which books you select. But eventually, there may be some that will catch their focus and hold their attention for longer.

These are some of the classics and favourites that I’ve found over the years. Every month after your baby is born holds unique milestones so each book I’ve suggested has their growth and development in mind.

Benefits of Baby Books

Reading is a wonderful way to help your baby learn and develop new skills. Not only are they listening to the sounds of words, but they will also gradually be able to focus on the page, start to identify shapes, and eventually objects and characters. 

If you still think your baby is too little to get anything out of storytime, just think of the sweet bonding time with your babe. Snuggle up with your little one and offer them comfort through the sound of your voice.

But there is plenty of scientific research that explains how reading supports your baby’s cognitive development in more ways than one. According to kidshealth.org, reading to your baby:

  • teaches a baby about communication
  • introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way
  • builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills
  • gives babies information about the world around them

So sure, your baby may not understand the storyline right now. But they are learning about sounds, objects and even the rhythms of your voice. Not only that, it is a gratifying time for you to slow down and connect with your little one, no matter how old they are.

Here are 12 ideal baby books for every month of their first year.

DISCLAIMER: While all opinions are my own, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

Month 1 – On The Night You Were Born 

Your sweet baby has just entered this world. Welcome, little one! 

Babies are born nearsighted and with poor focus. Their eyes may wander or even cross. They may be able to detect areas of high-contrast but they won’t be following the pages just yet. It will be a while yet until they can make out the illustrations in the book, but that does not mean you should hold off from reading. 

The first month is when the baby will start to recognize the voices around them. They may even begin turning towards the familiar sound of their mom. At this point, your soothing voice reciting any and all words will offer them comfort as they adapt to their new surroundings. 

This lovely book is perfect for any new parent. It celebrates the wonders and uniqueness of the new life that you have brought into this world. 

If you’re anything like me, you’ll quite likely find yourself in a puddle of tears every time you read this story to your precious bundle of love – even when they’re 3 and no longer interested in your gushy mommy moments. I’ll keep blaming it on the hormones. 

Month 2 – Hello, Baby Animals

Gradually your infant is becoming more alert and their sight is improving. At 2 months, although their vision is still a little blurry, your baby will start to focus on shapes close to them. 

Simple baby books with black and white images are great for them to practise the skill of focusing and tracking objects. 

Hello, Baby Animals offers your baby’s developing eyes a chance to enjoy new shapes and images. Feel free to have “baby talk” conversations as you flip through the pages, it helps them develop communication skills – even at 2 months!

Month 3 – Goodnight Moon

How on earth have 3 whole months flown by?! For whatever reason, the three-month mark really wakes you like a splash of ice water in the face. 

Your precious newborn has quickly grown into a full-fledged BABY! 

What about their development? Well, their neck strength has really improved. Cooing is possibly filling your house at all hours. And your little one is giving you a sneak peek of their personality through their newfound expressions! 

As for their sight, your 3-month-old is now keeping an eye on things. They are able to follow faces and objects. And their colour vision is even improving!

Goodnight Moon is a classic with colourful pages. It holds the perfect wind-down tone for a bedtime story as you wish goodnight to everything in the little bunny’s room.

Month 4 – Peek-a Who?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the cutest baby of them all?! As your infant becomes more aware of their environment, they will love to pass the time staring at their own reflection. 

Although it will be a while before they understand who that adorable baby staring back at them is, playing with mirrors is a fun way to engage your 4-month-old.

Peek-a Who? combines rhyming, a peeking game, and even a mirror to captivate your baby. I’m sure they’ll enjoy the bright pages and of course your entertaining narration as well! 

Month 5 – Ten Tiny Toes

Well, hello little personality! By 5 months babies start to become interactive little humans. They love watching the world around them and exploring new spaces. 

Your baby’s brain is absorbing so much from what they hear, see, and feel. By now they may really enjoy their baby books and of course, the time to connect with you! This book rhymes about body parts and movements, offering the perfect way to physically interact with your baby as you read.  

Month 6 – Touch & Feel Baby Animals

Here we are, halfway through the year! As your baby’s vision improves, so does their hand-eye coordination. There’s a good chance no object is safe from baby’s reach.

While it may not be ideal for your fragile items around the house, it is a great reason to introduce touch and feel books. Your baby can stroke the pages and explore the different sensations. 

Touch & Feel Baby Animals provides different animals and textures for your little one to touch as you read. 

Month 7 – How to Bath Your Little Dinosaur

While opinions on the matter vary widely, it’s believed that somewhere between 6 to 12 months, your baby starts to understand the words that you say. One thing that experts can agree on is the importance of speaking and reading to your baby, even before they can speak or read themselves.  

Make reading part of your daily routine, just like you would walks or bath time. Whether your baby likes baths or not, they will surely love to see how this little dinosaur gets one in How to Bath Your Little Dinosaur

Month 8 – Big Little

8 months and your baby is likely starting to recognize that words go with objects. Whether they know WHICH words are for WHICH objects at this stage is another one of those grey areas.

One way to help your baby’s vocabulary is through repetition. Your baby may even start trying to echo the sounds you make. Big Little provides a fun way of comparing different sizes of everyday objects.

Month 9 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Are you starting to notice your baby respond in their own way to certain words or questions? Their comprehension is really improving at an impressive rate. Although they may not be saying more than simple sounds, they are learning words and meanings to use themselves when they are able.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is another one of those must-have classic baby books. Its bright pages are sure to attract any baby’s attention. And the subjects throughout, such as counting, food, and days, help baby learn simple concepts of everyday life. Metamorphosis may be a little over their head at this point, but there’s that too! 

Month 10 – Where’s Spot?

Is your little munchkin seeming more and more like Curious George? They are starting to love exploring and experimenting in their world. It may even seem like your little mover is constantly getting into baby mischief. 

Just like little George, their intentions are good. This is just their way of discovering new things. They love to reach anywhere, touch it all, and put everything in their mouths. Seriously, everything. So gross!

Everything is play at this stage so why not encourage learning through play with Where’s Spot? This is a fun book for baby to help search for the little pup by lifting up flaps to find who’s hidden behind each one. 

Month 11 – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? 

Baby may be getting vocal around now and even saying some (very) basic words! Don’t worry if they’re not. Babies language development seems to happen at their own pace and they may not say any words until some time after a year. 

Repetition and rhythm are both helpful for babies to learn words and sounds. This popular book has both. It will also introduce your baby to many animals and colours.

Month 12 – Llama Llama Red Pajama 

Happy birthday, cutie! Hopefully around this age your baby is starting to really enjoy storytime. They are likely becoming masters of communicating in their own way – and I’m sure they get their point across!

Separation anxiety may even be starting around now. This often makes bedtime quite the adventure for many families. Llama Llama Red Pajama is a fun story that reassures little ones that their mom is close by, even when it’s time to sleep on their own.

There are lots of big lessons your baby will learn along the way and books are a great way to support them. By incorporating books into your daily routine, your baby (or now toddler) will start to develop an appreciation for reading from an early age. It will become a natural (and enjoyable!) part of their day. 

There are plenty more fantastic books out there for every age and stage your child goes through. It can get expensive keeping up but you may be able to find more affordable ones at a used bookstore or just borrow them from the library.

Libraries are actually a great place to visit with your baby. Not only will they love seeing the people and their local branch, it’ll hopefully instil an appreciation for books – which will lead to more and more reading! And as they get a little older they can have a library card of their very own and choose the books they want. All without a penny out of your pocket… as long as you return the books on time!

Leave me a note in the comment section and tell me what your baby’s favourite book is!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.