Mother and Baby

The best books for babies under 12 months

Section: Toys & Education
mum reading book baby

Even when your baby is very young, baby books are important for their development but with lots readily available, it can be difficult to decide which books to choose. To help you out, we've rounded up the best stories to start reading to your child while they're under 12 months. 

Why is it important to read to my baby?

  • Creating a bedtime routine: Even though your newborn is still too little to understand what you are saying, it is a soothing ritual to start from a young age.
  • Learning to talk: Your baby will settle with the sound of your voice, and will subconsciously pick up the rhythms, tones, and inflexions of your voice which can help when they learn to read later on.
  • Developing eyesight: The stories might be too complex, but from birth to around three-months-old, your baby is learning to focus their eyes on simple patterns. All of these books will have bright illustrations, shapes, and letters to occupy your baby.
  • Storytelling skills: Your baby will develop his or her own imagination in time, and storytelling will be a big part of this. Reading to your baby from an early age can encourage this.
  • Developing empathy: Scientists have found that children who have stories read to them regularly show more empathy, and find it easier to understand people.
  • Extending understanding: As your tot gets older, at the end of storytime stop and ask them ‘why do you think this character did that’ — this can help your child develop their understanding and vocabulary.

What are the best books for babies?

There’s a number of different baby books out there, but these are some of the best-selling baby books to buy for the nursery bookshelf:

Interactive books can help extend your child’s focus and we reckon Don’t Tickle the Hippo has got enough bells and whistles to keep them entertained. The touchy-feely buttons are sensitive enough for younger babies to press or stroke easily, and when they do, they’ll be rewarded with a selection of animal sounds.

From the best selling author M.H Clark, this fab book teaches tots that there are lots of different ways to feel. With fun rhymes and colourful illustrations, this book will help your baby learn to understand their range of emotions.

With lots of different textures to touch and explore, this fun sensory book will help your baby to identify different animals. Have fun making animal sounds as you feel your way through the wild, the home, the farm and the ocean.

Make baby Bath time fun with DK's Squeaky Baby Bath Book series. Safe for baby and perfect for bathtime fun or highchair play, the book is packed with bright pictures of baby animals, squashy waterproof pages, and a built-in squeaker making baby bath time fun for your little one.

Part of the Ladybird best-selling Baby Touch range, this baby book contains a range of bright, high-contrast characters and faces to help stimulate your baby’s developing eyesight from birth. There is also a cute mirror at the back for your baby to smile at.

One for the cat lovers out there, this touchy-feely book encourages your baby to touch and feel the tactile patches. The bold illustrations are designed with little ones in mind, and spotting the white mouse on every page helps develop problem-solving skills.

This enchanting classic will keep your baby fascinated with the colourful artwork, the caterpillar-munched holes and will help teach them counting, days of the week, names of fruits and even the life cycle of a butterfly. A great book which'll be a favourite for newborns, 12 month olds and beyond!

Hello You

£5.44 - RRP: £6.99

Designed for babies from birth to six months, this book is perfect for tummy time. Say hello to familiar faces and play peekaboo with the peepholes. The contrasting colours, bold patterns and mirror are designed to focus developing eyes.

Stroke, tickle and touch the different animals and let little hands feel how soft the kitten feels compared to the scaley lizard. They’ll be learning as they play, and the tactile book aids development.

Introduce them to Peter Rabbit early with this cute finger puppet book! Bring Peter to life and teach your little one how to count, before moving on to the classic books as they get older.

Dear Zoo

£4.00 - RRP: £6.99

First published in 1982, Rod Campbell's classic has been a favourite for babies and parents alike with the bright pictures, catchy refrain and a whole host of animals. To keep your baby engaged there are lift-the-flaps to discover the zoo animals beneath which is sure to make them smile.

This board book is here to give a valuable and enjoyable learning time for your baby, with a simple narrative and textured pages serving the fun and interactive reasons as to why they haven't encountered the right character yet! You can find many other books from this collection such as 'That's not my Elephant' 'Sloth' and 'Tractor.'

  • Author: Emily Thorpe Emily Thorpe
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Having worked for Mother&Baby magazine for four years where she wrote news and product pages, features and  interviewed celebrities such as Paloma Faith, Fearne Cotton and Alex Jones, Emily now works as Digital Writer for Mother&Baby online.

A fondness for travel, chocolate and her sausage dog Luna, in her spare time. Emily also runs the lifestyle blog, Musings & More.


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