Pregnancy is just the onset of your life-long love affair with your child. The motherly instincts kick in as the pregnancy progress and it never stops thereafter. One of the most incredible parts about pregnancy is that it’s time mommy and baby bond. After the 25th week of pregnancy, your baby can start to hear and decipher between voices. It’s mother’s voice that baby hears and recognizes in the womb. Knowing their mom’s voice while in uterus helps the baby recognize her and bond with her post delivery. The newborn feels comforted, already knowing mommy’s voice.
What does baby hear?
At round 18 weeks of pregnancy baby begins to hear your body sounds like heartbeat, flowing blood, growling of hungry tummy, etc. It’s about 25/26 weeks that a baby starts to react to noises both inside and outside the mother’s body, and may be soothed by the sound of her voice.
The outside noise your baby hears inside the uterus is about half the volume we hear. The maternity tissues filter the sounds before they reach the baby as loud voices are harmful for baby. After 32 weeks babies develop an ear for language. They learn language basics of what they hear from their mother and people around. It is the best time to expose baby to multiple languages.
Ways to bond with the bump
There are several things you can do to establish bond with the baby before he/ she is born. Here is the list you can follow:
Talk to the baby. Listening to your voice while the baby is still in the womb helps him feel attached to you after being born. After birth, your newborn loves to hear your voice more than any other and feels comforted. You may feel a bit self-conscious at first but you’ll soon get used to it and enjoy having tiny talk with your bump. Reading to baby is one of the things you and baby will enjoy doing as baby will be exposed to verbalizing and vocalizing different sounds.
Sing to the bump. There is nothing soothing and relaxing as music. It is true even for babies in womb. Don’t limit yourself to classical music or lullabies. Listen and sing whatever gives you good vibe. You can sing or hum your favorite songs or poems. As music calms you down and makes you happy, same vibes will be reflected in baby. Music has great benefits. First, it stimulates the senses and encourages brain development; second, it is capable of producing serotonin and endorphins (happy hormones) in the mom which are transferred to the baby; and third, playing the same music post-birth can be helpful in establishing healthy sleep routines for your baby.
Groove with your baby. When words fail to express the depth of your love; the swaying of your body will soothe baby and connect him to your natural rhythm, which may just train him to chill out when he’s wiggling in your arms and you sway or rock the baby.
Massage your belly. Massage is safe after first trimester. Baby develops touch receptors after 8 weeks of gestation, but she enjoys belly rubs/ massage at around 18/20 week. It soothes and relaxes you. Hydrates your skin and makes it supple. Proper massaging also helps to prevent stretch marks. You can also use aroma therapy to pamper yourself.
Relaxed body and mind have a huge and positive impact on baby. Relax and talk to your baby. This creates a healthy bond between mom and child. Even dads can be a part of this process.
Prenatal yoga. Yoga makes you feel good about your body and is an excellent way to get connected with your baby in womb. It is safe to start by second trimester and under guidance. You may start with light stretching and then poses that help you to relax and also help during your labor and delivery. This kind of close, healthy attachment between a mum and her child contributes to the personality development of the child.
Meditate. Pregnancy brings in stress and anxiety which is not good for the little one. Meditation helps you to calm down. Meditation can help reduce symptoms in women at high risk of depression, thus alleviating the stress associated with the disease and boosting feelings of connectedness moms have with their babies. Envision yourself with your baby in the womb, talk to her and tell her how loved she is, and visualize cuddling her. By sending loving thoughts to your unborn child helps to build a bond that will flourish when your baby is born and the baby will feel more connected to you.
Be happy and smile more often. Your fetus feels your moods. Your emotions shape her personality. If the mom is sad, baby is sad and if the mom is happy, the baby is happy too. The happiness hormones like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are released and it helps a better and stress free development in the womb.
Eat whatever you like and try variety of flavors. The flavors you eat are experienced by the baby through amniotic fluid as it absorbs taste from digested food. So eat all kinds of food and never ignore your craving. The baby will be a good eater instead of fussy eater after birth.
Take warm bath. Hot baths are to be avoided as it increases body temperature which is not good for the baby. But warm baths can be enjoyed. Although not much is felt by the baby in womb, but babies enjoy the sense of relaxation that flows through your body as a result of the soak.
Respond to your baby’s kick. It’s from second trimester you start to feel little movements of your baby. During third trimester baby reacts to whatever makes it happy. When mom is resting, the baby becomes most active as it gets space to move around properly. You may also see your belly protruding at position of kick/ jab. Respond to the kicks and jabs. Touch the belly wherever you feel the kick.
Baby enjoys your touch and may even play with you by kicking at different position. This is a great way to bond with your unborn baby.
Pregnancy is happiest time of your life. You may experience morning sickness, nausea or you may not keep well. But at the end it is the magical time where you are carrying little life within you, so make the most of it.
Also read: A Letter To My Unborn Child