Baby & Toddler
13 Books To Help You Bond
With Your Baby
by Kathryn Haydon
It’s never too early to bond with your baby. Babies know and observe more than we think they do, and reading together right from the start sets the stage for many years of quality bonding time.
Cuddle up with your baby and enjoy some of these love-filled favorites. Most of these are available as board books and can grow with your child well through the preschool years.
It can’t quite be called a wordless picture book because “hug” appears in thought bubbles on most of the pages, but you get to make up the words as you see the unfolding pictorial story of a baby monkey. When Bobo sees all of the other animal families hugging, he is sad and wishes to hug his own mommy. There’s a heartwarming reunion in the end, with the other animals joining in and crossing species boundaries to give hugs all around.
Teach your baby to communicate with sign language! Using the thirteen signs in this board book, your baby can tell you when they’re hungry, need a diaper change, or if something hurts. You’ll be well on your way to a happier baby and a less stressful parenting experience.
That’s Me Loving You
Amy Krouse Rosenthal was a font of poignant children’s books — and grownup reads, too — and That’s Me Loving You is a favorite of her collection. This sweet and calming poem shows children their parents’ love is all around them, even in the tickle of a breeze
Shake My Sillies Out
Sing-along books are excellent for bonding with your baby, and you’ll love this classic Raffi song. Follow the actions on each page, shaking, wiggling, jumping, and clapping along with your baby. It will become a storytime favorite!
Guess How Much I Love You?
You can never go wrong with this family classic, which finds Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare trying to find the words to express how much they love each other. As it turns out, love can be difficult to describe, but that certainly doesn’t stop them from trying.
Littles: And How They Grow
Whether babies are giggling, playing, or throwing a tantrum, this board book celebrates each precious and memorable moment. It’s a beautiful reminder to enjoy your baby’s early days because they quickly grow up.
I Love My Mommy Because…
In Laurel Gaylord’s charming board book, readers are introduced to animal families, and the babies of the families explain why they’re so grateful for their moms. There’s plenty of love for dads, too, in the author-illustrator team’s companion title.
Are You My Mother?
Every child needs this classic on their shelf. Follow the baby bird as he hatches from his egg and searches for his mother. Gentle humor and expressive illustrations make this enduring story a favorite for toddlers and parents alike.
Love Makes a Family
Some families have two mommies, some two daddies; some families are big and loud while others are quiet and small. Love Makes a Family celebrates all sorts of family makeups — and, of course, that extra-special ingredient that makes it all work.
10 Things I Love About You!
Count the ways you show love to your baby with this sweet board book. From playing together to singing songs, this story captures the comforts and joys of spending time with your little one.
The abstract notion of love is made concrete in Matt de la Peña’s heartfelt book: It’s found in the small moments that makes up a life, and there’s always room for everyone. Lyrical and profound, you can expect this one to become a read-aloud go-to.
A Bedtime Hug for You!
Bedtime is an excellent opportunity for bonding with your baby. This adorable board book shows several animal families getting ready for bed. Little readers can use the finger puppet arms to hug the baby animals before they nod off.
Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle’s infamous — and famished — caterpillar stars in this cheerful exploration of love, featuring several familiar images from the world of the beloved illustrator. “You are the cherry on my cake,” you’ll read to your baby, and isn’t that the truth?
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2022.