Admit it, the minute you saw a positive on the pregnancy test, you started imagining how it’d feel like to meet your baby. However, waiting nine (sometimes 10) months to meet your mini-me can feel like an eternity!
That said, some women feel an instant connection with their unborn child, but for others, it can take them some time to truly feel that bond. This could be a result of pregnancy challenges like prolonged morning sickness, dealing with a previous pregnancy loss and feeling overwhelmed with the pre-birth prep. For many women, taking care of older kids whilst another human grows inside can also take a toll.
A lot of research has gone into understanding how an expectant mother’s actions and thoughts can affect her baby’s well-being after delivery and well into the future. Results indicate that a stressed mother produces an abundance of stress hormones called catecholamines, which can affect a growing baby’s emotions and can lead to chronic stress.
To give bubba the best emotional start in life, take steps to rid your life of tension and find pleasure in bonding with your unborn child. Not sure where to start? We round up five simple, yet sure-fire ways to strengthen those ties with your sweetie...
Pick an emollient that prevents stretch marks, then stroke your belly gently. Don’t be surprised if bubba responds with a kick or by changing positions.
1) Chit chat
Your foetus can hear sounds as early as week 18, so get gabbing! Talk to your little one about your day, sing songs or read out loud. Some experts say playing classical music has a very calming effect on baby. Studies also show that music can contribute to your little one’s language skills later on in life, so you have no excuses not to! You may feel self-conscious at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Listening to your voice will make your baby feel safe and attached to you. He will also be able to identify your voice soon after birth as it’s familiar. Rope in daddy and the older kids, too, so that everyone has a chance to get acquainted with the future family member.
2) Get touchy-feely
No need to wait till your wee one arrives to shower him with cuddles and kisses ― you can “feel” your little fella from the outside by massaging your belly. To be safe, do this after your first trimester and start by slathering some oil or cream over your belly ― pick an emollient that prevents stretch marks, then stroke your belly gently. Don’t be surprised if bubba responds with a kick or by changing positions. For a full-on spa-like atmosphere, turn on some soothing music and light scented candles. Make it a daily ritual in the evenings ― it’s a great way to wind down after a long day and you’ll enjoy some quiet time with your baby.
Three more ways to bond with your bump…coming right up!
3) Let’s move
Your body is expanding and your legs feel swollen, so the last thing you’d want to hear is to get up and be active. But before you shut us down, hear us out! Staying active during pregnancy comes with a multitude of health benefits. It helps you relax, keep fit, while those feel-good hormones will be passed down to your kewpie through the placenta. What could be better than a happy mummy and baby? Exercises such as prenatal yoga can also help with your birth, notes Angelyn Seet, director and childbirth educator at ParentLink. She adds, “Exercises such as pelvic rocking in prenatal yoga help optimise your baby’s position to aid in an easier birthing…also, a stronger core can help with the pushing part of labour, making it shorter and easier.”
“Take pictures of yourself every month and create an online album, so you can see how your bump has evolved.”
4) Document the journey
Trust us, the nine months will pass by in the blink of an eye, so start a journal or scrap book to keep tabs of your pregnancy. Jot down your peewee’s progress after every doctor’s visit (how many centimetres he’s grown and how much he weighs) and attach a pic of the latest scan with your notes. You can even log certain milestones ― such as finding out the gender or the first time he kicks. Lack organisational skills? Take pictures of yourself every month and create an online album, so you can see how your bump is evolving. You can even book a professional photography session towards the end of your pregnancy to capture these gorgeous moments. These reminders will help you focus on bubba, plus they’ll make meaningful keepsakes once the pregnancy is over, especially when you can produce it for his viewing pleasure.
5) Make it a team effort
Make sure you give the hubs and your older children ample opportunities to connect with the latest family member-to-be. Babies build a biochemical bond with their mummies while still in the womb, so you will always have a stronger connection with your little one, compared to daddy and the siblings. Find ways to make sure everyone feels close and connected ― maybe everyone can help to pick a name for the little bundle? Or they could feel your tummy while junior is moving or kicking. If this is your first pregnancy, encourage your other half to accompany you to all the doctor’s visits and to antenatal classes, so that he knows as much as you about your baby’s progress. This way, you’ll both feel a tight bond with your little one.
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