There’s no need to wait for the birth to connect with your baby. Try our fresh tips to help you and your partner get to know your little one before the big day arrives.
It’s around approximately 20 weeks that your baby can start to feel your touch. The first time you gently poke your belly and baby pokes back can come as a bit of a surprise but there’s nothing more exciting than feeling him respond to you for the first time.
Kick-starting the mother-baby bond
Rub your bump every time he kicks and you’ll have set up your first ‘conversation’ with your baby. From around 20 weeks your baby will start to feel you touching your bump and research shows that unborn babies can distinguish between their parents touch, or that of a stranger. Spend time touching and rubbing your bump and it won’t be long before your baby starts responding with his own little kicks or punches.
An aromatherapy massage, using pregnancy-friendly lavender, mandarin or rose oil after the first trimester can help you and your baby relax and bond.
Start with clockwise movements around your bump, followed by long strokes from the top to bottom. This is a great one to get your partner involved in and has the added advantage of helping keep stretch marks at bay!
Bonding with your water baby
Bobbing around in the pool or the ocean with your bump supported by the water, yes, even if it is the size of Mt Everest, makes you feel weightless, just like your little one. This is an excellent way of recreating the feeling of being inside of the womb, allowing you to identify with what your baby is currently experiencing.
There’s the added bonus of gentle exercise releasing happy hormones, which can only be good for you both.
Talking to your bump
At 25 weeks, your baby’s hearing is developed enough to hear sounds from outside the womb and you could find that he reacts to sudden noises with a kick to rival Quade Cooper.
Talking and singing to him will help build your relationship. If you feel silly, try it when you’re in the tub. Research shows babies recognise your voice as soon as they’re born, suggesting they learn to distinguish your voice from other sounds in the womb. It doesn’t matter if you’d never make it on Australian Idol – baby won’t mind!
Musical baby bonding
Play music to him – his corresponding movements will soon let you know if your taste floats his amniotic boat. Try something with a strong beat to get baby bopping as it replicates the sound of your heartbeat.
Make your ultrasound scan picture the screensaver or wallpaper on your mobile so you can always have your little one with you.
If you want a clearer idea of whether he’s got his dad’s nose, you might want to spend extra for a 4-D scan. It’s not cheap at around $250, but does give you incredible detail over hazy hospital images.
Bump bonding for Dad
Your baby will respond to his daddy’s touch too. Their heartbeat slows or, in some cases, speeds up and, in the last month of pregnancy, he will recognise your partner’s voice. If your partner is a first time father get him involved with the bump bonding fun.
Follow what’s happening with your body and baby with our week-by-week pregnancy guide.