The months can really drag by as you're eagerly waiting to meet your new baby face-to-face; but in the meantime, you can get a jump-start on bonding even when he is still in womb! Researchers have determined that fetuses are much more aware of their surroundings than you might think - by 18 weeks, they can hear sounds from the outside world, and by 15 weeks, they can even see shifting patterns of light that filter to them from outside. They can even taste the foods you eat! But more than that, your baby share your fluctuating body chemistry and is attuned to your moods, so feelings of calm, joy, and love can surround him even before you hold him in your arms!
Just being healthy and present is a wonderful way to bond with your baby during pregnancy, but if you're in the mood to try something more, give these fun bonding boosters a try:
1. Talk to your baby. This suggestion is simple and sweet. Not only can your baby hear your voice, but he can experience the hormones associated with your emotional state, so calm, loving words affect him in two ways.
2. Sing! You may not be Adele, but we promise he won't mind! You can practice singing a lullaby now so that when he comes out into the world, that familiar song will be waiting to greet him.
3. Not a singer? Play music! Nothing can replace the sweet sound of his mother's voice, but baby can still enjoy listening to live or recorded music, too. Some companies sell devices specifically meant to send sounds directly to your baby bump, but a simple stereo played at a normal volume is all you really need.
4. Read a children's book - or just the morning paper. Reading aloud is a fun way to talk with your baby while also catching up on the day's news, your work emails, or just some celebrity gossip.
5. Get your partner in on the act! Encourage your partner, family, friends, and future siblings to talk, sing, and read to your baby, too! Research suggests that baby's are born already familiar with sounds they heard frequently in the womb, from their siblings playing to dogs barking. This is a great way to allow your whole family to bond with the new baby.
6. Communicate with kicks. Many doctors recommend women in the later stages of their pregnancy do regular kick counts to monitor the health and well-being of their babies. But whether or not you are doing kick counts for medical purposes, taking time out to sit quietly and really feel for your baby's movements in relaxing, centering, and fun. Rest your hands on your belly, and the next time your little one kicks, gently press back. They may not feel anything directly, but this early "touching" paves the way for all the hugs and cuddles you can expect after he arrives.