In the latter stages of pregnancy, many Moms to be will interact, talk and even sing to their bump as a way of bonding with their baby. It can feel a little strange at first – after all, it’s not like you can have an actual conversation with your baby in the womb, however there lots of benefits of interacting with your bump. Here are just a few of them.
Did you know that your baby’s hearing starts to develop as early as 16 weeks into your pregnancy and that by 6 months gestation, your baby can not only hear music and voices, but start to recognise sounds that sound familiar compared to those that are completely new. This means that talking to your baby is not only helping them recognise you as their parent, but learn your voice and respond to you, even when in the womb. When you think about it, that is really pretty amazing!
Some benefits of speaking to your baby in the womb include:
Building a bond – You can speak to your baby in a variety of ways, whether that’s simply talking out your actions as you do things (e.g. chatting whilst doing the washing up), talking about your day or simply singing during your drive home in the car. All of these things will help your baby become familiar with the sound, tone and inflections your voice, and start building up that connection even before their birth. Your baby will come to associate your voice as being safe and comforting, with the familiarity of your voice providing a source of reassurance and calm.
Feeling them respond – Talking to your baby can encourage physical reactions including kicks, turns and motion and you may notice your baby move or respond when they hear you or another familiar voice, as well as a repeated song or sound. Be aware however that your voices may actually help them to relax, so it is also equally possible that talking to them may reduce their movements and help to calm them too. Baby’s tend to move naturally more at night so this may be a good time to do it if you want to gauge their reaction!
Help Father’s and partners be more involved – as a father or partner who isn’t experiencing the physical bond of pregnancy, talking to their unborn child can be a great way to make them feel more involved and more included in the weeks leading up to their birth. Finding somewhere to snuggle up at the end of the day where your parnter’s head can be close to your bump is a great place to start and help your partner feel more involved. It doesn’t matter what they say, just hearing their voice is key. Babies often respond more to deeper, louder voices so men’s voices can sometimes trigger a greater physical response.
Post birth emotional support – The moments immediately following birth can be fairly traumatic for your newborn. Suddenly they are thrust from the safety of their home for the last 9 months into a world full of new bright lights, smells and sounds. Just like your heartbeat can provide instant reassurance during skin to skin when they are laid upon your chest, a baby who has regularly heard your voice will be instantly calmed and comforted by your first hello, often looking up and staring straight back at the source. It really is a beautiful moment!
So the moral of the story? It is perfectly normal to talk to your bump and can actually help your babies emotional and physical development! Relax and enjoy it!