We’ve all heard about ‘bonding with your baby’, but did you know that the bonding can actually start while your baby is still in the womb!
Nine whole months can seem like an eternity when you’re waiting for your baby to be born, can’t it? So why not take this time to bond with him or her even before they come into the world.
Ultrasound has taught us that your growing baby can not only hear and see, but can also feel, taste, respond to stimulation, remember and learn – all before they’ve even popped their head out into the big, wide world!
During most of the twentieth century, scientists believed that the foetus was both deaf and dumb and couldn’t feel pain, or react to sounds or movement. But now, thanks to new technology and in-depth research, there’s greater understanding of the senses, perception, communication and personality of unborn babies.
One Venezuelan clinical psychologist, Dr. Beatriz Manrique, studied the effect of pre and post-natal stimulation on babies and, according to her research, babies who were stimulated with touch and sound in the womb appeared to be more alert at birth, had better head control and were able to turn their heads in the direction of their parent’s voices.
So how do you go about bonding with your baby?
Try some of these steps….
Get talking to your baby
From around 35 weeks your baby’s hearing is as good as a newborn’s and they’ll be able to hear your voice clearly and recognise your tone, so it’s a great idea to sing, speak or hum to your baby. (Chatting to your baby and sharing your feelings and thoughts with them can also help to make your growing tummy seem more real and more ‘human’!)
Play music or sing to your bump
Research has proven that babies actually begin hearing by the 18th week of pregnancy, so singing lullabies to your baby is a tradition you can start before they’re born and continue once you’ve given birth.
Massage your pregnant belly
One effective way of introducing your baby to the outside world is by giving your bump a regular, gentle massage during your pregnancy. Where and when possible, simply massage and stroke your bump in a gentle, regular manner. This will make your baby much more receptive to touch after she is born. Babies will often respond to your touch by kicking the place you just massaged or by changing positions!
A womb with a view
Your baby can’t see in the womb, but they can certainly detect light! From around 28 weeks, shining a torch on your bump will force your baby to either shrink away or follow the light.
Stimulate those taste buds
Your unborn baby has two to three times as many taste buds as you. From around 22 weeks they’ll be able to distinguish the four basic tastes in amniotic fluid: bitter, sweet, salt and sour. And remember – the taste of amniotic fluid is influenced by what YOU eat! (Your baby will prefer sweet amniotic fluid.)
The sweet smell
From around the sixth month of your pregnancy your baby will be able to recognise the smell of amniotic fluid. Changes in your diet will be the closest your baby will get to noticing the change in smell.
Use the power of ultrasound
There’s no doubt that being able to watch your baby moving around on the screen during 3D or 4D scans is a very practical way of bonding with your bump and it’s an especially good means of giving fathers and grandparents the opportunity to see your baby and to form an attachment to it. Leave photos of your ultrasound dotted around the house – it’ll make your baby seem so much more real!
Yes, at times pregnancy can seem never-ending, but if you follow our helpful hints, you can spend this time enjoying bonding with your bump!