The good news is that you don’t have to wait to start bonding. After all, you will never be physically closer to him than you are right now — two hearts, two souls, in one body. He’s with you wherever you go.
At 16 weeks, he’s listening to your heartbeat and can hear loud noises happening around you. By the time you’re 25 weeks along, the cadence of your voice brings him comfort. He also can distinguish voices that he hears often, like your spouse, from other people that you come into contact with throughout the day.
So what does this mean for you? Well, simply put, you’re making an impression on your baby before you have the privilege of seeing each other in person. Every time you sing along with your favorite song or talk to your husband about how your day was, he’s in there, soaking in the soothing rhythm of your voice.
Take advantage of this special time, because the more he hears your voice, the better. Hearing you speak is great for bonding and is stimulating his language development. Studies have shown that babies of different nationalities have intonations in their cries (at birth) that echo that of their mother’s native tongue.
Don’t worry about feeling silly when you’re talking to your little one. He may not be able to understand what you’re saying, but he is taking note of a voice that he can trust.
Don’t know what to say? Here are some tips on how to communicate with your little treasure:
1. Give him a nickname, if you haven’t already. It’s easier to talk to someone when you know his name. Usually, the pet name you bestow upon him while you’re pregnant will stick after he’s born.
2. Read everything out loud. You don’t have to stick to children’s books. The content of what you’re reading isn’t important. Pick a gossip-rag and go. He’ll appreciate your laughter as you giggle at the latest exploits of fallen golf heroes and sell-out “supermoms”.
3. Talk through what you’re doing. Pretend you’re explaining your actions to an audience. “Oooh, it looks like daddy couldn’t find the hamper again, Peanut. Let’s pick up the towel and put it into the basket. Remind me to show him where the dirty laundry goes…again.” You’ll find that these private “conversations” add some flair to otherwise mundane tasks and will lighten your mood.
4. Sing your heart out. Babies love music, and have been proven to recognize the rhythm of songs that they heard in-utero after they join the outside world. When I was pregnant with my first son, Aiden, I was addicted to a particular country album. After he was born, he spent a significant amount of time in a NICU. When I would sing songs to him from the CD, his vitals would rise.
Taking advantage of this special time is good for your baby and you. Not only does it familiarize your tiny tot with the sound of your voice, but it gives you the opportunity to bond with him during your special journey together.
Jessi Arias-Cooper is a work from home mother of 3 boys and has been married for 10 years. She co-owns a freelance writing business, Profitable Prose, with her husband, Brock. If she had time for hobbies and interests outside of parenting and keeping house, they would be jewelry making, baking, watching bad B-movie horror flicks and creative writing.