Collection Development

Another Way Libraries Can Be Supportive to New Parents

Is your library’s children’s collection chestfeeding/breastfeeding-friendly? Picture books that depict nursing can help support nursing parents.

As a teacher and librarian, I started reading to my children as soon as I knew they were conceived. When my first was born, we frequented our library, and it surprised me that almost all of the picture books showing parents and their babies only portrayed bottle feeding.

Picture books are an immense help to parents when it comes to discussing an array of topics with their children. From the loss of a parent (One Wave at a Time: A Story About Grief and Healing, Thompson ©2018) or a change in family structure (A Family Is a Family is a Family, O’Leary ©2016, The Memory String, Bunting ©2015) to a speech difference, such as stuttering (I Talk Like a River, Scott ©2020), or loneliness and self-worth (You Matter, Robinson ©2020, All Because You Matter, Charles ©2020), picture books can help parents broach subjects they find overwhelming.

Since first becoming a mother, a wide variety of books that fall into the chestfeeding/breastfeeding and weaning category have been published. These include my book Babies Bond (Mamafox Books ©2020), which is a collection of haiku, illustrated by Jim Fox; and My Milk Will Go, Our Love Will Grow: A Book for Weaning by Jessica Elder (Heart Words Press ©2020).

World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated every year from August 1-7, is coming up. It’s a week dedicated to building awareness, and helps the world celebrate the benefits of nursing. Data gathered in 2017 by the Center for Disease Control showed that only 25.6% of babies in the United States are exclusively breastfed at the age of six months, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it. This could be partially due to a lack of support for breastfeeding/chestfeeding parents.

Libraries have an opportunity to help. How? By ensuring their children’s collections include picture books that depict chestfeeding/breastfeeding. Regardless of whether they’re focused on humans or animals, these books help normalize this way of feeding infants and toddlers. They also give parents a way to ​​introduce the concept of nursing to their children (particularly important if a new sibling is on the way). By including stories about weaning in the collection, librarians may also help families find a way to make this transition easier.

Suggested Books for Librarians:

  • Babies Nurse ~ Así se alimentan los bebés by Phoebe Fox
  • Babies Bond by Phoebe Fox
  • Best Milk by Kate Carothers
  • The Best Gifts by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
  • Cuddled and Carried ~ Consentido y cargado by Dia L. Michaels
  • If My Mom Were a Platypus by Dia L. Michaels
  • Loving Comfort by Julie Dilluth
  • Mama’s Leche by Michelle Hackney
  • Mama’s Milk ~ Mamá me alimenta by Michael Elsohn Ross
  • Mama, Who Drinks Milk Like Me? by Melissa Panter
  • My Milk Will Go, Our Love Will Grow by Jessica Elder
  • Nursies When the Sun Shines by Catherine C. Havener
  • What Does Baby Want? by Tupera Tupera
  • Who in the World Likes to Nurse? By Cristie Henry 
  • The Wonders of Mother’s Milk by Mishawn Purnell-O’Neal
  • You, Me, and the Breast by Monica Calaf

What titles would you recommend?


Our guest blogger today is Phoebe Fox. A former elementary school librarian, Phoebe is now a children’s book author and host of “Mamafox Books’ Storytime Saturdays” on YouTube. She is the author of an award-winning bilingual picture book about breastfeeding titled Babies Nurse ~ Así se alimentan los bebés. It’s companion book, Babies Bond was published in 2020. Phoebe lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and three sons. Visit her at www.mamafoxbooks.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @mamafoxbooks.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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