Tips for bonding with your unborn child

I am 17 weeks pregnant and my partner enjoys babbling to my growing belly. Is it possible to bond prenatally with your baby?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Gayle Peterson

Gayle Peterson, PhD, is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She is a clinical member of the Association... Read more

Your womb is already rich in sound -- the beating of your heart, the rhythmic swoosh of the placenta, even the gurgles of your stomach are music to your baby's ears.

The ear, already functional by the 16th week of pregnancy, is an incredibly sensual organ. Speaking, singing and touching your baby through the womb all provide ways to begin your relationship with your unborn child. Express your love. Your baby is listening (and learning too).

Consider these fun and easy ways to promote your bond with your unborn baby:

1. Talk to your baby Massaging your womb gently and talking softly to your unborn child is not new. Mothers have done it throughout time. Dads, too, can get acquainted with their baby prenatally, by talking through the waters, while gently massaging your belly with cream or oils.

Many mothers report feeling silly, at first, talking out loud to their babies in the womb. But, in private, you will easily overcome your initial embarrassment. Save time to talk to your baby, in the bath, or before you go to sleep. Make it a habit once or twice during the day to say something loving out loud. And why not ask your partner for a "good night" massage and verbal expressions of love and encouragement to your little one on the inside?

2. "Touch" your baby. Push gently on your baby and you will likely get a push back! While there is no need to prod and poke, do gently touch your baby through the womb. In the last month of pregnancy, you are likely to be able to see a heel which ripples across your abdomen. A father can also push gently, to find a foot or shoulder, and the baby pushes back, automatically responding to your touch. Feeling your baby respond to your touch, while in the womb, can be very thrilling, when it occurs!

3. Play music and sing to your baby. Music is thought to be pre-linguistic and contributes to your baby's foundation for language skills. Listening to music yourself, and singing tunes you enjoy can provide healthy stimulation for your child's development.

Your baby is learning to recognize the sounds of your voice and daddy's voice in the last month of pregnancy. When born, your baby will likely turn toward the sounds of your voices over others. Yes, indeed, your baby is listening to you already.

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