Introduce him to the family
“It’s a good idea to get your partner and other family members to speak and make sounds around your bump,” says Nadja. “And you should do it too. Your baby will begin to recognise these voices and build attachments. And once you’re used to sitting quietly and chatting or singing to your growing baby, try to notice if he reacts. Parents often tell me that, at times, their baby has a stronger reaction to certain voices, and they really feel that the baby is reacting directly to that voice. This really helps them relate to their baby.”
Talk him through your day
The bonding process is a two-way street: just as you want to know about your baby’s movements, it’s OK to tell him about yours too. So give him a running commentary on your day. If you’re already having little chats with your bump, this is a great way to make that connection more constant. There will be moments when you go blank, or feel silly, but these will be the times when you tell yourself that this is a real person you’re growing, so it’s perfectly normal to be having a chat! It will also create memories you might recall once he’s born: perhaps you’ll be dressing him in a tiny outfit and remember chatting to your bump when you were washing it in preparation, feeling excited at the idea of him wearing it. These ‘shared’ experiences will cement your emotions towards him.
Visualise your baby
It’s easy to see your bump as just a big round belly. But spending time picturing your baby inside your womb can help you to strengthen your special connection. As he gets bigger, start every morning by having a gentle feel for his limbs and see if you can work out where his head is nestled. When he kicks, make a mental note of just where that kick was and figure out which way up that means he might be. “Take time to wonder what he is doing right now,” says Nadja. “Is he peacefully sleeping? Might he be smiling? Picturing his body reminds you he is real and reinforces how special it is that you’re cocooning him.”
Record what you learn
As you try out all these different ways of connecting with your baby, keep a journal of what you learn and how you feel as you progress through your pregnancy together. Bonding with your unborn child is all about being aware of each other and managing your feelings about how you are changing. Exploring those feelings via a journal—written or filmed—is a great way to focus on your growing child and to see him as a human, with reactions and feelings, just like you.
Write or record your thoughts as if they are letters or messages to your baby, and this will further aid the bonding process as you feel like you are talking to him. You will imagine him, as a boy or man, reading or hearing your words one day, and realising how much you loved growing him. You could even set up a separate email address, and mail him regular messages, which he can access one day far in the future.
Cradle your bump
Touch is a fundamental part of what makes us human and helps us form bonds with each other, so there’s every reason to use it as a way of connecting with your baby right now. “When studying growing babies during pregnancy, we know that twins will purposefully touch each other in the womb and this helps cement their bond,” says Nadja. “We also know that single babies hold onto the umbilical cord, probably because it pulses and this gives them that human connection. Your baby will enjoy feeling you holding your bump. And he may well be able to feel the difference in touch between you and your partner, so spend time together letting your baby get used to your touch.” You can use touch to interact with him further from 18 to 20 weeks, when you’ll begin to feel some definite nudges from him. “Very gently, push carefully back when he fidgets or kicks and see if he reacts,” says Nadja.
As soon as you start interacting with your growing baby in this way, he’ll stop being just a bump, and become the person you’re— literally—closest to right now. When he’s born, you’ll already have a relationship with him, and feel a far stronger bond. And he’ll be attached to you too! |MB