My baby is now 2 weeks old. I am eager to read to her because of all the associated reading benefits.

Birth to 6 months: Since an infant's vision is still developing, choose books with little or no text and big, high-contrast pictures. Also consider books with interactive stuff, such as puppets, mirrors, or peepholes, recommends Pamela High, MD, author of the Brown University reading study and a professor of pediatrics there. The more ways you both have to enjoy a book, the better. If you'd like, read to your baby from grown-up books or magazines too. Comprehending the words isn't really the point with babies this young. For infants, reading is about the tone of your voice and cuddling up to you.

However I find that my baby sleeps, cries and eats. Her eyes are not really opening all of the time, which means she can't see the colorful books; she doesn't seem to be able to hear my voice ( if she does, she isn't showing it), which makes it quite pointless to read to her.

So is there any benefit in reading to a 2 weeks old baby?

Note that this question is distinctively different from In what way does reading storybooks to babies help them (besides falling asleep), and at what age should it be started?. That question is more about the benefits of reading storybooks, this is more about whether reading the books to 2 weeks old newborn is beneficial at all.


5 Answers 5


As psychologist that is specialized in early age can say:

  1. For child - hearing the words of the native language is very beneficial, because he is starting to recognize and then remember tones, voices of mother and father, rhythm of language and so on. You can use books, and even magazines, newspapers to enlarge your own vocabulary.

  2. Showing pictures from books. You can do it - but - everything is new for your child. Show him yourself, his room and every thing that surrounds him. It is easier for little children to concentrate their attention on faces then on pictures. Also holding him on hands while you are showing him his surroundings - is beneficial for his tactile filings and also his feeling of safety. (You also can make him touch things, putting them towards his hand, when he will get some knowledge of his body, he will try to touch things by him self.)

In general: little children need to get as many sounds, images, tactile feelings as possible. But at first they might not react on that - they don't know you are waiting their reaction =). They still don't know how to use their body, how to concentrate their attention, but if they don't have something to concentrate on, that might catch their interest - it will be hard for them to learn to concentrate and so on.

About books - it is your choice to use or not to use books to improve experience of your child. You can use any thing or any picture to show to him - it doesn't have to be a book. You can read any thing to him or just talk to him - it also isn't necessarily a book - book just provides you some assistance in that. Also don't be scared of not getting reaction - he just doesn't know how to do it - show your child your own facial expressions, so he can mimic them. You might need to say(read) same things, show same facial reactions over an over again - for your child to remember.

I don't really think that showing him books now is connected with him loving books in future - because for him now - everything he sees is just an image: your face, his room, book page - just separated images. Though if you keep showing him real things and flat images he would be able to get difference in them in future. Though now to catch his attention your own face is the most useful thing.

Sorry if many grammar mistakes - English isn't native for me, and my knowledge of it is far from perfect.

  • 1
    Welcome! I was able to easily understand your meaning.
    – WRX
    Dec 30, 2016 at 14:49

To:dr - I think talking to a two week old during day-to-day activities is far more beneficial than reading to them.

Please recognize that this is my opinion only as a mother and someone who understands a bit about infant cognitive abilities.

Infants need to hear language all the time, from birth on. But their eyesight and cognitive abilities makes reading to them from birth pretty useless. Talking while cuddling, making their bottle, feeding them, changing them, carrying them around, etc. gives them plenty of information about the spoken language and phonological awareness. Once their vision gets better (and their cognitive skills improve), then by all means, start reading to them every day. In addition to hearing your speech, talking to a baby face to face gives the infant information about emotions/speech associations (sing-songy speech with a happy face, sympathetic murmurings with s sad face, etc.) that are lacking in reading to them.

I started reading to my babies when they could focus on playthings, reach for them, etc. this happened around 3 months in my first baby. (That's 12 weeks. Some people say start at six weeks.)

Reading was a quiet time activity for us. I read colorful nursery rhymes with animals, and explained the picture on the page mostly just so my baby could hear me talk. Imagine my surprise when his first word (at seven months) was what the cow says: "Moo".


I do agree with anongoodnurse for the most part, but I want to add a little thing:

There are many people who can't sing or aren't as creative by just talking to the child. My best friend started reading to her daughter almost instantly after she got home from the hospital. It helped getting a broader vocabulary (mostly for the mother) and getting used to the sound of words. I need to mention that we live in an area where there is an official language and one simplified language that is completly different. So it was a difference between the vocab in the books and the one spoken normally.

Also: The reading was (for the most part) instead of singing her daughter to sleep, it was practised with a very soft voice and helped with falling asleep.

  • I'm with you. At this age it doesn't matter what you're reading, but that baby is hearing your voice and words. So read something grownup out loud rather than a picture book. Though once baby is a bit older and can interact then even just turning the pages on a baby book and looking at the pictures helps.
    – R Davies
    Mar 28, 2022 at 8:10

Just my opinion but, absolutely! It is positive and loving. Any positive interaction is great. If you get into a routine, in a few weeks she will see some of the images. You will help her assiciate being loved with reading books. Win! Win!


I started reading to my daughter at 2 weeks old. At time she didn’t seem interested.. but I kept going anyway. Now at 4 months, my daughter is excited for the new books we read to her! She falls asleep to the same 3 books every night.

Remember every child is different and beautifully unique.

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