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Talking to your unborn baby! How and why?
Motherhood is a beautiful, life-long affair that will bring light and joy into your life. In the nine months where your baby slowly matures in the comfort of your womb, you will experience and observe daily changes and growth. As your baby continues to develop, the sounds from the surroundings of the womb will create a familiar environment for the baby. About 25 weeks into the pregnancy, babies will begin to interact with these noises through increased movements or giving kicks and nudges as their brains become capable of processing and hearing sounds.
As agreed upon by many mothers, a kick from your baby in response to your voice is one of the most exciting things in the world. Your baby bump is likely to already be showing and you probably can’t wait for your child to be born. At this stage, you’re likely to have heard of parents talking to their unborn babies and may be wondering what effects that could possibly bring. Pre-birth bonding can be instrumental in forming a connection with your baby and helping you ease into motherhood. As one of the most popular methods being adopted for early bonding, interaction has been scientifically proven to bring about a plethora of benefits for your little angel.
Early Language Development
Speaking and interacting with your bump in the third trimester of pregnancy has been found to soothe your baby, with contemporary studies showing that unborn babies are able to form memories and remember what they hear inside the womb. Thus, you can create a calming effect on them by exposing them to familiar songs. Babies are able to calm down and experience a lowered heart rate after hearing your voice, which can be instrumental in the formation of primary bonds between you and your child; your voice is naturally being associated with that of a soothing presence.
Interestingly, scientists have discovered that unborn babies are able to respond positively to distinct word patterns such as nursery rhymes, with the effectiveness of their response increasing with the familiarity of the rhymes. Hence, feel free to put on tunes such as You Are My Sunshine or Happy to brighten up your lovely little one’s day. Apart from experiencing physiological changes, babies are capable of remembering what they hear, which can serve as important stepping stones for their language development.
Additionally, speaking to your unborn baby can allow them to become exposed to languages, which will become extremely beneficial for the development of speech when they are born. This is because, while babies typically begin to respond to words and phrases at an age of six months, your baby can show signs of understanding language earlier if they’re spoken to in the womb. Differences have been found between babies spoken to in the womb compared to those not having been spoken to, whereby the former group of babies are able to earlier recognize the unique characteristics and features of a language much quicker.
Enhancing your little one’s sense of hearing
The sense of hearing is developed through a few stages during the pregnancy term, where the cochlea – which are responsible for the translation of soundwaves – are fully formed by the 15th week of pregnancy and become fully developed by 20 weeks. The sound transmitters in the cochlea then eventually connect to the brain between weeks 24 and 30, which allows your baby’s brain to process sound and begin ‘hearing’. While your baby will not start hearing you until the third trimester, they will already be exploring what life has to offer inside the womb through his senses of smell and touch. Interacting with your bump will introduce them to the outside world and to your voice, which they will get accustomed to and grow to love inside the womb.
As your baby’s hearing is developed, the sounds that they will be hearing the most would probably be that of the inner workings of your body: your heartbeat, entry of air into your lungs, and the gurgles of your digestive system. Your voice will become the most distinct and familiar sound that they will hear in the womb. Furthermore, they will also be able to hear sounds that are emitted close to the womb, which can expose your little one to the happenings of your daily life.
They can become acquainted with sounds such as your favorite music and the individual voices of other members of the family. Among all, your voice will be the most soothing and familiar. The effect of your voice will last throughout their growing years, as they find solace in you primarily when in need of support and are. During birth, your baby will need time to adjust to their new surroundings; being in an environment of familiar voices will help them adapt even quicker.
Your angel’s first memories
Studies have shown that, through talking to your bump, you can create your baby’s very first memories. When observing fetal heart rates, the babies in their mother’s wombs were found to respond in a different manner when exposed to the same stories and songs over and over again as compared to when they hear something new. Their heart rates start to relax when hearing content that they recognize, thus helping them to calm down and reduce anxiety.
Memories of babies were found to be exceptional, as they were found to remember words spoken from the outside world even after weeks have passed between readings. The findings became more peculiar, as similar reactions were observed even when a different person read the same stories to them. After being born, the babies could still retain memories of these familiar stories and reacted positively to them, as they did in the womb. Thus, by constantly reading or singing to your bump, their very first memories will be formed.
How you can start talking to your baby effectively
As you settle into the third trimester of your pregnancy, you can create a collection of you and your partner’s preferred stories; set aside some time to talk to your baby bump at least once a day to help with their development. A great way to do this is to create a comfortable space where you can thoroughly relax and enjoy time with your little one. It’s also extremely important to reduce stress as much as possible, as stress can have a negative impact on your baby’s immunity. Hence, reading time can be a stress-reliever for you as well.
During the interaction with your baby, you can try to take note of any different behaviors exhibited by your baby. A typical response of babies reacting to your voice is a notable decrease in movement in the womb, as they become calmer and less restless than before. Get your family to join in to talk to your baby as well, where you may just see the baby responding differently to each and every unique voice heard. One of the best tips provided by other parents is to decide on a name for the baby or use a placeholder name for the bump. This will allow you to speak more naturally, which creates a much more fulfilling and smooth interaction with your bump.
Other ways of interacting with your bump
Some mothers may find it awkward and unusual to talk to their bumps, as there’s no visual response unlike typical conversations. There are also other ways of ‘talking’ to your bump and interacting with your baby. For instance, instead of perceiving it as talking to your baby, you can regard the act as reading aloud. When you’re reading articles, poems, forums posts, or social media texts, you can read the words out loud. This can be done at any time of the day and is a very convenient method of introducing your baby to your voice; they will be able to hear you and become acquainted with the language and vocabulary you use. This aids in their future development.
An all-time favourite: singing
You can also play music and allow your baby to listen along with you. Experts recommend that the music should be played sufficiently loud, such that the baby can hear the music but are not startled by the loudness of the song at the same time. Mothers who expose their children to music have commented that their babies respond differently in terms of the way they move in the womb to different genres of music. The consensus of researchers is that babies typically prefer classical music, with pieces by Mozart being found to be the most effective in eliciting a positive response. Traditional world music came in second in terms of causing the greatest reaction and can be used for your baby as well.
For a more personal touch from you and your partner, you can sing a song to your bump together. The most popular songs sung to babies are nursery rhymes and lullabies. You can even sing them your personal favorites so they will know what mommy’s favorite songs are! This also provides an additional opportunity for the baby to hear your unique voice again and recognize what you sound like.
Read the article Sing for your unborn baby
Creating a connection with your baby
Apart from developmental benefits, talking to your little one can aid in creating a bond between you and your baby. This is very important for the baby’s development after being born, as the baby will feel safe in an environment of familiar faces and voices where they know that they’ll be protected. When babies knows that they’re being well taken care of, they will be able to lower their guard and fully devote themselves towards exploring and learning about the new world around them. Being able to engage with the outside world without fear of danger or uncertainty will help babies to develop faster and fuller, allowing them to grow up more healthily.
It’s also common for mothers to be uncertain about their bonds with their baby. Some mothers may feel detached or some may feel awkward about creating an attachment with their baby. Pregnancy can create anxiety and an agglomeration of feelings that will leave you confused sometimes. You may not have an instant connection with your baby, but the daily interactions with your bump will help greatly in building up a strong bond which will only be intensified once they’re born.
If you worry
Some new mothers may also worry about not feeling like they have the parental instinct that’s widely referred to or brought up in popular culture. Unfortunately, you cannot learn how to be a parent from anyone else. You will develop parenting skills and instincts through the upbringing of your child; you can get a head start on the building up of these skills by talking to your bump. It will help for both parents to also get a deeper look into themselves and allow them to ponder whether they have been taking actions in the best interests of the baby. For example, you can take the time to see if you’ve been eating well or sleeping well and consider making a change to your lifestyle for the benefit of your baby. Ultimately, the actions you take will define the types of parents that you will be and will steer you towards becoming loving parents.
To conclude, your baby – which is almost ready to be introduced into the outside world -already has a fully developed sense of hearing that can allow them to respond to sounds from outside the womb. Any form of sound interaction between the baby and the people on the outside of the womb will provide huge benefits in terms of early development and the formation of bonds. As such, interact with your baby as much as possible and, before you know it, your baby will be born into a world of love and care. Then, you will embark on a whole new journey of motherhood that will be truly rewarding and filled with happiness.