Waiting nine whole months to meet your little one can feel like an eternity! But you don’t have to wait until birth to bond with your newborn.
Finding ways to bond with your bump is not only a great way to pass the time, but also an important part of preparing yourself for being a Mum. By having a chat and playing with your baby while they are in the womb, you are also preparing them for what waits in the real world, while getting to know you all at the same time- the ultimate pregnancy experience!
When it comes to bonding with your baby, there’s no time like the present. So, months before you get to lay your eyes on your little bundle you can boost the bond between you.
Talk, Sing or play music
Since your baby can recognise your voice and your partners when he or she is born, saying simple phrases such as good morning and good night to your baby each day is a good habit to get into. When he or she arrives they will turn towards you whenever they hear your voice. If you feel comfortable take it one step further by sharing your feelings and thoughts with your soon to be little one. You may find that your baby responds to the sound of your voice, and begins kicking and nudging you as you talk.
Your baby begins to hear by week 18 of your pregnancy, so singing lullabies to your baby is a tradition you can start before they are born and continue after. Better yet, if you play an instrument, they’d love to hear that too as it can have very calming effect.
An effective way to introduce your baby to the outside world is by giving your bump a regular, gentle massage. Your baby may respond to your touch by kicking the place you’ve just massaged or by changing positions.
Have an ultrasound
Being able to watch your baby move around on the ultrasound screen is a very practical way of bonding with your bump. It makes everything seem more real! This is an especially good way for fathers and grandparents to form an attachment to your baby as well. Take home the pictures from the ultrasound and put them somewhere you will see them every day, like on the fridge.
You probably can’t keep your hand off your bump whether it’s a protective hand resting on it or stroking at the end of the day. But research has found that once your baby starts to feel your touch, from about 20 weeks, they are able to distinguish between their parents touch compared to that of a stranger. How cute!
One thing that makes bonding seem difficult during pregnancy is that you have no idea what your baby look likes. Though he or she is growing inside you right now, they can feel like a stranger. If you were given scan pictures at your hospital appointment, spend time looking at these photos each day. Frame a photograph to keep by your desk at work, set it as the lock screen on your phone, and stick it on your fridge.
If you’re up for it, having your photograph taken during pregnancy can be an amazing way of remembering it as well as bonding with your new bump. Booking a professional pregnancy photo shoot towards the end of your pregnancy can make you feel special too, where yourself and your partner (or just you) can have some gorgeous moments captured by a professional, that you will no doubt treasure forever. Alternatively, the monthly Instagram updates are just as good.
Get everyone involved
Even though babies build a biochemical bond with their mum before they leave the womb, bonding with your bump is something the whole family can get involved in. Well, you, your partner and any other little ones you may have running around.
To give Dad a chance to get in on the action, when you feel the baby kick, place his hands on your tummy so that he can feel the movements too, and let him respond by rubbing your bump in the same spot.
You could even give your bump a nickname, if you haven’t chosen a name yet, that only you and your partner know, which will make it even more exciting and special.
Make A Keepsake
If you’re creative, spend some time in making a gift or keepsake for your little one. You could knit or crochet a blanket to wrap them in when they are born, make a quilt for the new nursery, or make a framed picture to hang on her wall.
Write It Down
Consider keeping a pregnancy journal to help you focus on the pregnancy now and remember it afterwards. Don’t worry about writing a rose-tinted view of pregnancy, just be honest. Talk about how you feel physically, and any worries and concerns you might be feeling.
It’s never too early or too late to start communicating with your baby. Parenting is journey that really begins the moment you find out you are pregnant.
If you don’t feel like you’re bonding with your unborn baby yet, don’t beat yourself up. Pregnancy can be a difficult time as you’re dealing with a changing body, uncontrollable hormones, and lack of sleep (just to mention a few). It can be hard to bond with a person you’ve never met, but that doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel that strong connection. Try not to feel guilty, and instead focus on trying to bond with your baby, but accept that you might be one of the many mums who fall deeply in love after the birth, and not before. And that’s perfectly OK too.