Bonding with your baby during pregnancy is called attachment. Pregnancy is an ideal time to start the attachment process, which affects development significantly during pregnancy and after the baby arrives. Bonding with your baby is similar during pregnancy as it will be after baby is born. You can send loving signals to your baby through senses like hearing, language, memory, sight and touch.
Baby can hear the sounds inside of your body like your heartbeat as early as 18 weeks. At 26 weeks, baby can hear noises both inside and outside of your body. At 32 weeks, your baby may start to distinguish language sounds like vowels. This would be a great time to sing to your baby. Older siblings, dads and partners could read stories to baby or practice ABCs. Babies will start to remember the sound of your voice. What do you want your baby to remember?
As early as 20 weeks, baby’s retina’s are developing. He or she can tell the difference between darkness and light. Baby’s eyes will still develop after birth, but this light differentiation, along with sound, helps her recognize familiar faces and even breastfeed after delivery. Although she can see light, she still loves to sleep during the day when mom is moving around. The rocking motion puts her to sleep. She can respond to pain and comfort at 22 weeks. You and family members may enjoy giving the baby a relaxing massage through mom’s tummy.
If pregnancy is feeling difficult or stressful, taking time to write about what you see, hear and feel during these bonding times with your baby will help. Journaling can be effective therapy. Try not to stress, as you are doing everything you can. Encourage your baby (and yourself in the process) that everyone is doing their best. Talk to your partner, your family and your provider about your worries. Write them in your journal so they can find a place outside of your mind. If you think you may need medication for a new feeling of depression or if you were on anti-depressants before you got pregnant, just follow up with your provider to promote balance and healthy mental processes during pregnancy.
Take advantage of pregnancy to promote calm, reassurance and health for you and baby. Sing, read, and caress your little one. Using senses to bond and attach to your baby is an easy yet powerful way to start a strong and lasting relationship. Everything your baby needs is inside you at this time. Even if there are medical complications, being near you is the best, best, best thing for baby. You are enough.
Every day, I can try to do this with my baby:
For an appointment with a provider, call Lovelace Care Concierge at 505.727.2727.
Blog submitted by Catherine Roth, Certified Community Health Worker with Lovelace Labor of Love