Every parent knows how important it is to spend time bonding with their baby once it is born. You want your baby to feel loved, accepted, and comfortable in this big new world they’re entering into.
Well, did you know that bonding can actually begin before the baby is even born?
Once baby reaches a certain point in development, he or she is actually quite aware of the world around them. They can feel, they can hear, and they can sense and react to the moods around them. Studies have shown that the atmosphere surrounding mom and baby during pregnancy can have quite an effect on the temperament and sense of well-being of the baby once it is born.
Taking the time to bond with your baby in utero helps her to feel welcome and wanted, and can influence the relationship that you have for the rest of your lives together.
On the other hand, when a baby is exposed to anger, upset, and other negative or violent emotions, it has been shown that their pulse will rise right along with yours. Your baby actually gets stressed out before she is even born.
Personally, prenatal bonding has been one of my favorite parts of pregnancy so far. Knowing that I am forming a relationship with my daughter even before I can hold her in my arms truly warms my heart. Understanding that she senses, and is affected by, my negativity helps me to try harder than ever to keep an even keel. Her dad will even remind me that she feels what I feel when my mood starts to go south, or I begin stressing over life.
Here are some great ways to get started with prenatal bonding, including some of my favorites.
TALK TO YOUR BABY
I love talking to my baby girl. After all, she has been my constant companion for the past six months, and will be for the next three, and then some. Throughout the day I constantly tell her I love her, how wonderful and perfect she is, and how I can’t wait to meet her. You can even describe to your baby what you’re doing as you go about your day, or read a book aloud to him.
SING TO YOUR BABY
Or play soothing music. I like to sing her songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, and especially, “You Are My Sunshine”. I also have a sweet love song that I like to play for her that contains her possible name. Music is great for babies, because the gentle vibrations are very relaxing to them.
Play something that they don’t like, however, and often times they’ll let you know. We went to a concert a few weeks ago, and I could tell from how violently she was kicking me that she was not enjoying the loud rock music. We sat down in the back, and proceeded to use our coats to create a buffer around my belly to muffle the music. She calmed down pretty quickly after that.
TOUCH YOUR BELLY
Keep a hand on your belly whenever you can, or whenever you think about it. The baby can feel the loving touch, and I find that my baby will often start kicking exactly where I’m touching.
Give yourself gentle belly rubs. If I can feel where she has positioned herself, I will often stroke along her body to tell her I know she’s there.
Play poking games with your baby. If he or she pokes you, poke him back! They will frequently keep the game going with you.
MEDITATE OR USE VISUALIZATION
Relaxing your mind and body helps your baby to relax. One of the things that I love about my Hypnobirthing class is the guided relaxation tracks that they have recorded for us, and encourage us to listen to daily. They prepare you for a calm birth, but they also help you to remain at peace in your daily life. The tracks actually get me into such a relaxed state that I often have trouble staying awake while I listen to them. There are many great guided meditations out there for use during pregnancy. I love this meditation from Meditation Oasis.
GET DADDY INVOLVED
Dad can also talk, sing, and play with the baby. Hypnobirthing even has a guided relaxation track specifically for both parents to do with the baby. Other than ultrasounds, I think one of the things that made our baby feel all-the-more real to my boyfriend was when he started being able to feel her kicks. Now he will rest his hand on my stomach most nights while we watch tv, or while we fall asleep, so that he can feel her kicking and wiggling around. She will aim straight for his hand, just like she does with mine. He loves to play poking games with her. The more he does it, the more I can see him falling more deeply in love with her. Have your baby’s daddy try it, if he’s interested, and watch how it improves their relationship.
How do you like to spend time connecting with your unborn baby?