first baby books
Blog,  Motherhood,  New Mom

First Baby Books Under 1-year-old

First-year baby books

As a first time mom, I did not realize that there is so much to learn in choosing the right book for my baby. After randomly buying baby books at the book store, I realize I have chosen many unsuitable books for her age.

I learned that there are so many things to consider.  For example, what is the stage of development for my baby?  How far have my baby’s senses developed? And then deciding on when to introduce what type of content to my baby.

So after some trial and error, I have learned a few things below:


RELATED: Breastfeeding Must-haves That Will Help A New Mom

RELATED: Baby sleep training and what it’s all about

RELATED: The 39 Practical advice that will save a new mom

RELATED: Self-care idea: How to actually thrive as a mom

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything from my affiliate links, I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I will only recommend products that I believe in and use myself. All opinions are unfiltered.

Lessons I Learned

Lesson 1- Firm Books

In my baby’s early days, I have a large book of maps, poems, and storytime books. But they were all paperback or hardcovered books. I realize as it was easy for me to flip the pages, it is not the case for my baby’s little hands. I was obviously clueless.

Sometimes, the books are too soft, they limp or crumple when the baby interacts with it. So getting board books or firm fabric books for babies under 1 year is most suitable.

Lesson 2 – Perspective Shift

As you read the list of books above, you will understand that they were way beyond my baby’s level of comprehension. They were educational material, but not something that could stimulate her yet.

So I realize the value and simplicity in board books. They may be simple in our eyes, but a whole new world in the baby’s eyes.

Lesson 3 – Guidance and Trial and Error

So your baby will not know what to do with a book. Even if you have the right books at the right stages, you need to model and show your baby how to interact with the pages at the beginning.

Babies pick things up, it doesn’t take long for them to figure out what the books are about. If your baby is not there yet, don’t worry. I realize that once they hit a particular milestone, they could suddenly interact with the book. As if a switch of a button.

That said and done, we never know when exactly the switch will happen.  So as a rule of thumb, have the books of various stages ready and introduce to the baby from time to time. You will be surprised that they may interact with another book instead of the one you left out for weeks.

I understand sometimes it may be discouraging if the baby does not show any sign of interest. I know I felt that way and stopped reading to her for a while. But I realize that showing no sign of interest does not mean nothing is happening in their brain. I realize that I have started the exposure. When her brain compute what she can do with the book, she was interacting away with the book, on her own!

So our job as a parent is to provide suitable opportunities and exposure as much and as we can. As frequently as we can.

Lesson 4 – Book Longevity

Then of course, you will be surprised how quickly babies can destroy books in one sitting. They either flip a chunk of pages at one go, or they rip the pages! And not to mention, babies start exploring the world with their mouth. So obviously chewing the book is part of their exploration. My heart jumped when the pages ripped and chewed on!

Hence my advocating of board books and fabric books for babies under 1 year old! Believe me, I tried stopping her from chewing books and teaching my baby to be gentle with books.

But I realize that I was denying her of discovering the world the way babies do. It is their way of learning and understanding the world around them.

Instead of stopping them at every corner, I made sure that things can last for her to chew on.

Mind you the lift-a-flap pages could still rip in her exploration even when it is a board book. Things ripping is inevitable. At least the book itself is still intact and can still read and repair compared to a paperback book.

Lesson 5 – Have a variety of categories

There are many categories of books in general and I realize what I have was not comprehensive.

I have identified that we need at least one from each of these categories.

The categories are:

  • story-based books, (eg. Gruffalo a made-up animal)
  • books depicting facts or reality (eg.books with real images of animals)
  • educational centered books (eg. ABC or counting books)

This way you have a good variety of information for your baby to draw conclusions. Allowing them to make connections between an illustrated animal versus a real-life animal. 

Of course some books are a combination of categories, and those are great! 

Alright, so let’s jump into the most exciting part which is the recommendation of books! I love books from because they offer the best deals! They have a huge selection of titles and do free shipping worldwide!

First Baby Books

Fabric / soft books

As the name suggests, these are books made out of fabrics. These books have an interesting dynamic. There are crinkly materials between the pages, making it very interesting to touch. Some also come with interactive pieces with a velcro backing.

This is best for newborns to 3 months since they could not support the weight of the book. These books could fall on their faces and not scare or hurt them while they are on their back.

Note: Make sure the buy fabric pages reinforced with foam so the pages won’t limp when you lift the book.

Click on the links to get more details.

baby books

Baby sees Farm consist of farm animals and has a little mirror.

Buy at bookdepository

Baby's Very First Cloth Book 2

Usborne baby’s first cloth book is filled with fun crinkly pages.

Buy at bookdepository

Baby's Very First Cloth Book: Faces

This cloth book is black and white with simple faces in it.

Buy at bookdepository

Board books

This type of book is best to introduce when your baby mastered tummy time. This is because the baby can explore the book that is in front of them.

These books have hardboard in all its pages. When your baby first starts out, they have not developed their pincer grasp. Having a huge chunky book makes it easier for the baby to turn and flip the pages. Plus your baby does not know how to adjust their strength yet, so with the hard pages, it will not rip easily.

Note: There is a difference between hardcover books and board books. Hardcover books like the name suggest only have hardcover in the first and last pages. A board book on the other hand is made out of hardboard in all its pages.

Click on the links to get more details.

Hello Baby!

Hello Baby! has beautiful illustrations! The animals look almost real. Its story is simple and engaging.

Buy at bookdepository

Wonky Donkey Board Book (with CD)

The Wonky Donkey is a funny little book! It is a rhyme and a song. It is also a very descriptive book about a peculiar donkey.

Check out this youtube video

Buy at bookdepository

Dr. Seuss's ABC

Dr. Seuss’s ABC learns ABC in the form of a fun rhyme / song. 

check out this youtube video

Buy at bookdepository

Textured books

These books generally come in the form of board books. These books are most fun from 5-9 months. This is because babies start to pay attention to their surroundings and start exploring the world. These books have fur, feather, reflective or embossed textures.  Making them very fun to interact with.

Click on the links to get more details.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Touch and Feel Playbook

Eric Carle’s Touch and Feel Play Book have all sorts of textures in it. 

Buy at bookdepository

Hairy Maclary and Friends: Touch and Feel Book

Hairy Maclary’s touch and feel is a story-based book and focuses on dog breeds.

Buy at bookdepository

Baby Touch and Feel Farm Animals

This baby animals touch and feel book consist of furry farm animals.

Buy at bookdepository


Lift-a- flap books are interactive books. It has small flaps within the pages that reveal more once you lift the flaps. This type of book helps babies with the concept of object permanence. By interacting with the flaps, the baby learned that there is something hidden behind the flap. Plus it’s exciting to lift the flaps since you never know what’s hidden behind them!

I find these books most effective when the baby learns to sit. This way, they could explore the book themselves and lift the flaps on their own without the parents helping too much.

Note: Make sure to get lift-a-flap on hardcover pages for babies under 1 year old. Since babies don’t know their strength, the lift-a-flap on paperback will rip much faster than the board books!

Click on the links to get more details.

Spot's First Easter Board Book

Spot’s First Easter is about the puppy searching for easter eggs. The flaps reveal easter eggs. 

Buy at bookdepository

My First Gruffalo: Who Lives Here? Lift-the-Flap Book

Who Lives Here is part of the Gruffalo series. The flaps lifts to find various animals and finally revealing the Gruffalo.

Buy at bookdepository

Eyes, Nose, Toes Peekaboo!

Eyes, nose, toes peekaboo! Is filled with real baby faces and teddy bears. The flaps reveals different parts of the baby’s or teddy bear’s face.

Buy at bookdepository

Sound books

These books generally come in hardboard books where they embed sounds into the pages. This is another way to engage your baby’s senses. Babies from 3 months old onward loves sounds and sound effects. I blow raspberries and make “new naw, nee naw” noises to my baby and elicit a laugh or two. But I find my ability is limited at the kind of noise I can make. These books are great because it does not just make any sound, but sounds that are recorded in reality.

Click on the links to get more details.

Noisy Things That Go

Noisy Things That Go is a combination of sound book and touch and feel book. It has many sounds of vehicles.

Buy at bookdepository

The London Noisy Book

The London Noisy Book visits different parts of London and has sounds of the big Ben and the marching soldiers.

Buy at bookdepository

Bird Sounds

Usborne’s Bird Sounds has various real-life bird noises. It has a switch at the back that allows the user to turn the book off. Saving battery.

Buy at bookdepository

Picture books

These books are as they suggest, only have pictures and do not have any interactive elements in them. Sometimes, they are wordless, purely pictures. Allowing the parents the freedom to make up the story every time they revisit the book.

It is good to have a few of these around so the baby knows not all books need interaction. It is good to just sit down and listen to the story sometimes. I find my baby will only start to comprehend these books when she is much older, like after 9 months.

Note: There are board books and paperback picture books. It is best to get the board picture books so it will last longer in your household!

Click on the links to get more details.

Hop on Pop

Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop is a fun poem / rhyme book. Good for babies when starting to learn to speak.

Buy at bookdepository

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Eric Carle’s Brown Bear is an engaging book with different tabs to open the pages. It is also repetitive, creating a rhythm that’s easy for babies to follow. 

Buy at bookdepository

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hunger Caterpillar is a story of a caterpillar’s journey in searching for food and metamorphosis. In his journey, the baby is exposed to counting, all sorts of food, and days of the week.

Buy at bookdepository

Final Thoughts on first baby books

These are my recommendation for babies who are under 1 year old. A lot of these books are fun and beautiful to keep.

I hope you find this post helpful. Have a good time starting your collection!


Leave a comment below on what are your favorite baby books out there!

I’d like to hear about it!


New Mom Related Posts:

What You Need To Know About Baby Carrier In The 1st Year

Breastfeeding Must-haves That Will Help A New Mom

The 39 Practical advice that will save a new mom


Baby Sleep Training Related Posts:

Baby sleep training and what it’s all about

Baby sleep training methods review and solution


Self-Care Related Posts:

Self-care idea: How to actually thrive as a mom

To the mom who has lost herself in motherhood

How I gain back time, energy, and sanity as a new mom


First Baby Books

These are my tips for new moms for first-year baby books