For many, it takes a while for pregnancy to feel “real.” You may wonder how you can really bond with a person who is not yet in your arms, and who you have not yet laid eyes on. Let’s explore some ways that you can bond with your little one before he or she makes an appearance, and discuss talking to your baby in your womb during pregnancy.
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Talking to Your Baby in Your Womb
Can Baby Even Hear In There?
Is there any reason to believe that talking to your baby in the womb makes a difference? The answer is yes. We can’t know for sure what they understand, but we can tell that babies can hear in the womb because they react to sound. Starting sometime during the second trimester, likely between 18 and 24 weeks gestation, babies become reactive to sounds in their environment (1, 2). A baby may startle at a loud sound or calm down at the sound of her mother’s voice (3).
What Do Babies Hear?
Sound travels best through the air, but baby is floating in amniotic fluid. So, we can assume that what baby hears is similar to what you may hear when you’re underwater. Underwater, it’s difficult to make out exactly what people are saying, but you can still definitely distinguish voices.
A Preference for Mom’s Voice
Studies have shown that babies in the womb prefer their own mothers’ voices to the voices of others (3). (Don’t worry, dads and siblings; babies can also recognize other familiar voices and sounds, too.) This makes sense, as they’ve heard their own mothers speak more often than anyone else. They also may hear mom more clearly since her voice reverberates through her own body, as opposed to sounds coming from outside mom’s body.
This is reassuring news for moms! It’s exciting to know that even before you’ve met, and without doing anything special, you are forming a bond with your baby!
How to Talk to Your Baby
Talking to your baby in your womb may come naturally to you, and may help you feel closer to your baby. But what if it seems awkward and unnatural? The good news is that there’s no need to force it. You don’t have to do anything special; just hearing you speak as you go about your regular routine is enough to help baby know your voice.
If you do want to try talking to baby specifically but aren’t sure how to go about it, consider the following options:
- Read out loud
- Narrate your day — share the work or activities you’ve done
- Tell baby what you hope to do with him or her someday
- Describe what you love about each of your family members.
Just do whatever feels natural, and that will be the right thing for you and your baby. And remember, talking directly to baby doesn’t sound any different to him than the regular talking you do to others in your environment. The key is to simply give baby the chance to hear your voice regularly.
Bonding Beyond Talking to Baby in the Womb
Looking for some other ways to grow your bond with your baby? Consider trying any of the ideas from this list:
- Sing a special song during pregnancy that you continue to sing to your baby after his arrival and throughout infancy
- Start a journal where you can record your thoughts as you go through pregnancy
- Create a baby book
- Write letters to your baby
- Decorate baby’s nursery or space
- Pick out clothes for baby
- Meditate, focusing on the baby growing inside you
- Rub or massage your belly
- Have your baby bump decorated with henna or nontoxic paint, or make a plaster cast of it
- Choose music that you’ll use during labor
- Make a keepsake for baby — knit or crochet a blanket or some booties, paint a picture to hang in the nursery, or use your unique skills in whatever way you enjoy
A Final Word on Bonding
All the above are ideas for how you can enjoy bonding with your baby, but none are intended to make you feel bad or guilty if you don’t do them or don’t enjoy them. Mom guilt is something that most moms feel at some point, and we urge you to try hard to be gentle with yourself and not place unnecessary expectations on yourself. Bonding with your baby is something that will happen with time, and you can trust that the closeness you seek with your baby will emerge, whether sooner or later.
Kopa Birth’s online birthing classes allow you to prepare for a natural hospital birth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class and start preparing for your natural birth!
- Second trimester: Your growing baby. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.allinahealth.org/health-conditions-and-treatments/health-library/patient-education/beginnings/second-trimester/whats-happening/your-growing-baby
- Timmons, J. (2018, January 05). When Can a Fetus Hear: Womb Development Timeline. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/when-can-a-fetus-hear
- Babies Recognize Mom’s Voice from the Womb. (2006). Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97635