By Hannah Schenker
From the time you discover you are pregnant to the time your baby is born is actually a rather long time, though it can slip by rather quickly. While you may be dreaming about the day you hold your baby in your arms and how you will bond as a family, there is really no need to wait. You can start bonding with baby while they are still in your belly – no doubt you already have!
Spending some quiet time with yourself and your teeny first trimester baby is a wonderful way to start the bonding process. Take 5-10 minutes to sit quietly and comfortably, eyes closed, with one hand on your heart and one hand on your lower belly. You can start to visualise your baby in there, and your heartbeat sending all that amazing vital blood to the growing embryo and the placenta. You can send some deep breaths all the way down into your lower belly, imagining the life force creating such magic within you.
You can invite in some affirmations – “I am taking good care of my body and my baby”, “My baby is strong and healthy”, or whatever is meaningful to you. I found this helpful as I dealt with nausea and exhaustion of the first trimester, as it helped me to focus on the beauty and amazingness of growing a new life in my body.
Talk to your baby
From about week 16 your baby will start being able to detect sound, and from week 24, babies have been shown to turn their head in response to sounds and voices (source). Of course, your baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid and the sounds of your heartbeat and digestive quirks, so to get an idea of what baby can hear put your hands over your ears and start talking to someone, or listening to music – it’s muffled, but they can still hear sounds. When you speak to your baby, they will also be picking up on the vibrations of your voice in your body – so talking to baby, reading aloud, singing songs, humming – all these things will help your baby start to recognise your voice.
When you speak to your baby, they will also be picking up on the vibrations of your voice in your body – so talking to baby, reading aloud, singing songs, humming – all these things will help your baby start to recognise your voice.
After 32 weeks, your baby may be starting to recognise vowel sounds from your language and some research suggests language formation may start before baby is even born. So, get chatting, humming and singing as much as you like. You might even like to introduce baby to a piece of music or a particular sound (like waves on a shore) and repeat that as often as you like so they grow to know it. This could be helpful when they come earth-side, as a reassuring sound they recognise.