Bonding with your baby is one of the biggest highlights of motherhood. Did you know though that you can start bonding with your baby while you are still pregnant? Oh yeah, totally possible.
Creating that connection between mother and baby also doesn’t have to be nearly as difficult as you may think it will. Let me show you what I mean.
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What Does it Mean to Bond with Your Baby?
Bonding with your baby means that there is an intense attachment between you and your baby. This attachment will cause you to want to love and protect your child and shower your baby with affection. It’s this bond that will send parents rushing to their newborn’s side at the slightest whimper.
Why is Bonding and Attachment Important?
When babies are born, they are VERY dependent on their parents for survival. Human babies are by far the least capable of taking care of themselves of any other mammal on this planet. Because of this, our bodies have natural ways of forcing this bond and attachment.
When you give birth, your body will be FLOODED with oxytocin (the love hormone). You literally have to be filled with love to be able to give birth to your baby. It’s a very interesting feeling, but it’s nature’s way of ensuring the survival of our species.
I’m pretty sure that humans would have died out long ago if parents weren’t able to bond with their babies because they are so incredibly helpless when they’re born. Isn’t the human body amazing!
How to Bond with Your Baby in the Womb
If you are worried about whether or not you’ll be able to bond with your baby, there are always ways to start that bonding process while you are still pregnant. Here are a few very easy ways you can start building that connection between mother and child during pregnancy.
Sing to Your Baby
Singing to your baby is an excellent way to bond while you’re still pregnant. Your baby will develop ears around 18 weeks. Once that happens he will be busy picking up all kinds of sounds from inside the womb.
The amniotic fluid that your baby is housed in is a great sound amplifier so there really isn’t a need to get any expensive pregnancy headphones either. Just sing to your baby, he’ll hear you.
When choosing to sing to your baby, I’d suggest singing the same song each day. Not only will your baby get used to your voice, but he will also get used to the song. He’ll remember that song when he’s born and will be more likely to calm down because it will remind him of a peaceful time.
I know it worked for my son. I sang the same two or three songs to him every day that I was pregnant. I can sing one of those songs now and he’ll immediately stop crying and sometimes even drift off to sleep. It’s amazing! Even after a year it still works.
Talk to Your Baby
If you aren’t much of a singer, don’t worry. You can still bond with your baby easily by just talking to him. You can even apply the singing principle by reading the same book to him every day. I actually had my husband do this when I was pregnant. The poor guy can’t carry a tune to save his life.
Give Your Baby a Nickname
Naming your baby is obviously very important, but so is giving him a nickname. Just something that you can use to help make him more real until you can actually meet him.
My husband and I used to call our little one babysaurous while I was pregnant. When I found out I was having a boy, that name changed to MR. Babysaurous. Though we don’t call him that now, it really helped me wrap my head around being pregnant.
It also kept me from referring to my baby as “it”. Once he was born, his nicknames changed. Mr. Babysaurous is a bit of a mouthful, but I’ll always remember that as his first name.
Write to Your Baby
Writing letters to your baby can definitely help you bond while you’re still pregnant. When I was pregnant, before we picked a name, I would write little letters in a composition book.
Once we decided on a name though, I went and signed him up for an email address and now I send emails to him. This is a great way for me to let my little one know what is going on at different stages of his life, but also to have family members leave him notes as well.
I plan on giving him the email address and password when he turns 18. At that point he will have a whole inbox full of memories and he has a good email address without having to add 30 numbers to the end of his name. Win-win!
Play with Your Baby
No, I’m not crazy, you can actually play with your unborn baby.
You can do this in a couple of ways: You can take a flashlight and shine it on different parts of your stomach and watch how your baby reacts to it. You don’t have to use a very bright one, to be honest you shouldn’t. His eyes are very sensitive. You should also avoid shining the light directly in front of his face. Sensitive eyes, remember?
Another fun way to play with your baby is to gently press on your stomach in different areas when he’s kicking. My kiddo loved this! He would arch his back out and I would rub it. It seemed to always make him calm.
To be honest, it still does and he’s over a year old. Play time is learning time for babies, even in the womb. Playing with your baby not only helps you to bond with him, but it also helps him learn about different sights, sounds, feelings, as well as how to move his body (even if he doesn’t know the body is his yet).
Massage Your Belly
Gently rubbing your belly is a great way to kickstart your bonding process. I liked to do this in the evening when I was relaxing before bed. I would get nice and comfortable, and then start rubbing on the different areas of my belly where my baby was lying. I would rub his back or rub his feet and just watch his movements. It was great!
Another really great relaxation tip during this is to rub some nice lotion on your belly. The skin on my stomach used to get so itchy from all of the stretching. I LOVED putting on some nice moisturizer to help relieve that feeling.
I used the Burt’s Bees Belly Butter and loved it! I only needed two of them to get me through my whole pregnancy and I used that stuff every single day. It felt SO good.
Go for a Walk
Take the time to get out of the house or the office and go for an easy walk and reflect on all that is happening. You are building a baby and it’s a truly awe-inspiring experience. Your body is growing and changing every single day and it’s fascinating. Take a moment to appreciate your body and everything that it is doing to keep your baby safe and warm as it prepares to bring him into this world.
Even when you aren’t feeling great because pregnancy is uncomfortable, your body is still doing something amazing. Take a moment and appreciate it. Though it may feel like forever, nine months really isn’t that long.
How Dad Can Bond with the Baby
I know we’ve been talking a lot about you and how you can bond with your baby while you’re still pregnant, but it’s also possible (and important) for your partner to start that process too. Women typically begin bonding with their babies almost immediately because we can see and feel the everyday changes to our bodies.
Men don’t have that ability. Men need a little help to feel connected to the baby and to start building that attachment that is oh so important. Thankfully it isn’t as hard as it sounds.
Feel the Baby’s Kicks
It may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many men don’t actually take the time to feel the baby kicking apart from the first time or two. Having your partner feeling the kicks and rubbing on your belly is as important for him and his relationship with the baby as it is for yours, perhaps even more so.
Talk to the Baby
Taking the time to talk, read, or sing to your unborn baby is a great way for your partner to bond with your baby as well as for the baby to bond with your partner. Your baby hears your voice all day every day, it isn’t the same for your partner. An extra effort will need to be made to help your baby understand who his father is. It definitely makes things easier in the long run.
I had my husband read a book to my son when I was pregnant. He read the same story to my belly every night before bed. Not only did it help my son learn his father’s voice, but it also gave my husband a tool to be able to calm him easily if I wasn’t around. I cannot tell you how amazingly helpful that is. Not having to be the only person capable of getting my son calm is so useful!
Attend the Ultrasound Appointments
Another tip that sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised. Seeing your baby moving and growing is a great way for both of you to build that attachment. It also makes the whole process a bit more “real”. If at all possible, have your partner attend all of the appointments with you.
Go to a Prenatal Class
Doing a prenatal class is something that I would strongly suggest everyone take the time to do. Being able to get some of your questions answered (even if you didn’t know you needed to) before going through the whole labor and delivery process is amazing. Have your partner go with you to all of the classes.
Doing that will also keep you from feeling like you always have to repeat everything your were told too. If you can’t make it to an in-person class (because who has the time these days?), then taking an online prenatal class is a great alternative.
I STRONGLY suggest the Prenatal Class for Couples from Pulling Curls. It has absolutely everything that you could need to know for your childbirth experience and it is taught by an actual labor and delivery nurse so you know she knows her stuff. It’s amazing and since it’s completely online, it’s easier to fit into your busy schedule.
What to do if You aren’t Feeling Connected to Your Baby
Sometimes you might not feel bonded with your baby at all. It happens. For some women, the bond doesn’t happen until the baby is born. And for others, the bond doesn’t happen for weeks or even months afterwards. Every woman and every baby is different.
The important thing to remember is that your bond with your baby may not be instantaneous. That doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you are a bad mother. It just happens sometimes. If at any point in time, either during your pregnancy or after your baby is born, you feel any negative feelings towards yourself or your baby then please know that it is okay to talk to someone about it.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are real problems that affects a lot of people in a lot of different ways. It also can start to manifest while you are still pregnant. It happens and it is much more common than people will lead you to believe. So, please talk to your doctor if you are having trouble.
Have you tried any of these tips to bond with your baby? How did it go? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!