The Power of a Storybook When Navigating Transition – Toddler Weaning.

Storybooks help children to label, understand and navigate periods of change or transition. 

We know how important books are for children’s language acquisition and communication development.  The more children are read storybooks, the more language they learn to use to navigate the complex world that they live within.  

Storybooks help children to label, understand and navigate periods of change or transition.

There are many books about the birth of a sibling, the death of a loved one or even moving house.  But I can’t say that I have ever come across a story that is dedicated to introducing the concept of weaning a child from breastfeeding.  So when Emily Hardwicke reached out to me to review her new book, ”A Big Change for Seb” I jumped at the opportunity.

The mood of this book is established at the get go! Aesthetically this book appears bright and fun. Typically children gravitate to books when illustrations are simple yet vivid as they are able to easily ascertain the topic, tone and mood of the book.  In the case of this book, Seb looks happy on the cover holding his rocket drink bottle.  So even though the title suggests a time of challenge for Seb, the illustrations put a bright and cheery lens on this.

As we start the book, we meet Seb playing at the park with his parents, some of his friends and their parents.  I do love that there is diversity in the characters depicted.   As we go through the book, Seb’s Mum explains that it will soon be time for him to wean from breastfeeding now that he is big enough.  Seb isn’t too sure about this and the author labels and articulates Seb’s feelings in a child friendly manner.

As Seb navigates the transition from breastfeeding to drinking from his new rocket bottle, we see that his parents are there to reassure him and offer him comfort when needed through cuddles and play.  

When we come to the end of the story, Seb contemplates tackling a new challenge of going down the tunnel slide at the park.  Even though he is scared and nervous, with the support of his parents he is able to take on this challenge because he feels safe and supported.

In times of transition, just like adults, children thrive when they are supported to understand how and why a transition is going to take place.  It is so important that children’s feelings are validated and they are comforted so that they can feel safe as this sets up an environment of success.  I love how this book highlights the importance of this concept throughout the books for both the adult and the child.

Story books have power to aid in the child’s developing understandings of the world, and will help them process how they are feeling and how they could respond.  As the author mentions in the preamble before the story begins, this book isn’t a magic bullet for easy breastfeeding weaning but it will help you introduce the concept of ending breastfeeding with your child in a gentle and responsive way.

I really enjoyed all aspects of this book and so did my two boys (even though this transition is not something they’ve experienced). I hope in the future to see more stories about Seb from Emily Hardwicke!

If you are soon to navigate ending breastfeeding your toddler, then this book is certainly a book that you should have in your toolkit!

If you would like to learn more about this book head to www.sebtheseries.com or head over to instagram @sebtheseries