Get­ting to know you

FROM PLAY­ING MU­SIC TO TELLING THEM ABOUT YOUR DAY, THERE ARE MANY BEN­E­FI­CIAL WAYS TO IN­TER­ACT WITH THE LIT­TLE ONE GROW­ING IN­SIDE YOU, SAYS KATE WHIT­ING

Coventry Telegraph - - FAMILY MATTERS -

THERE’S noth­ing like the first time you feel your baby move in­side you – like a lit­tle but­ter­fly flut­ter­ing across your tummy. OK, it’s also a lit­tle bit like bub­bling wind, so it’s easy to mis­take it for your di­ges­tion kick­ing in af­ter a meal... For first-time mums, the baby’s move­ments can start be­tween 18 and 20 weeks, while for those hav­ing their sec­ond and be­yond, it can be as early as 16 weeks. As your baby grows,s, you can start to see the out­line of limbs mov­ing across your tummy as it wrig­gles into a more com­fort­able spot – a lit­tle un­nerv­ing at first, so you might think it’s ac­tu­ally an alien baby. Apart from the scan pic­tures, these move­ments are of­ten the first real sign there’s def­i­nitely a lit­tle per­son grow­ing in there, and it will make you want to start com­mu­ni­cat­ing. Here’s why and how...

WHY IT’S GOOD TO TALK TO YOUR BABY

BA­BIES are de­signed to keep their senses open for stim­uli in the womb. From about 18 weeks, they can hear sounds from out­side the womb, and may even recog­nise your voice when they’re born.

Re­cent re­search found they are pro­grammed to recog­nise faces, turn­ing their heads to look at lights that picked out two eyes and a nose– and ig­nor­ing ran­dom con­fig­u­ra­tions of lights. “The foetus in the third trimester ac­tively seeks out in­for­ma­tion,” says Pro­fes­sor Vin­cent Reid, a psy­chol­o­gist at Lan­caster Univer­sity and study head. “This means that other ways of in­ter­act­ing with the foetus can be con­sid­ered. I would en­cour­age par­ents to read books out loud. This can help with bond­ing and could be ben­e­fi­cial.”

Michelle Lyne, pro­fes­sional ad­vi­sor for ed­u­ca­tion at the Royal Col­lege of Mid­wives, agrees. “It has been shown that women who

make strong emo­tional at­tach­ments to their foetus in utero are more likely to seek sup­port and have pos­i­tive men­tal health through preg­nancy,” she says.

“They are more likely to go on to have strong emo­tional at­tach­ments post-de­liv­ery thatat should help their chil­dren grow into con­fi­dent, se­cure and in­de­pen­dent adults.

“But don’t worry if that doesn’t hap­pen right from the be­gin­ning. For many women, it is only as they move through their preg­nancy that they may al­low them­selves to at­tach to, and with, their un­born baby, and it is pos­si­ble to en­cour­age those feel­ings.”

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR BUMP: Chan­nel pos­i­tive en­ergy

“UN­BORN ba­bies are very re­cep­tive to their mother’s happy or sad emo­tions and stress lev­els, so try­ing to man­age stress dur­ing the preg­nancy is im­por­tant,” says Michelle.

“Think­ing pos­i­tively about the preg­nancy and the grow­ing baby to the point where that warm fuzzy feel­ing comes over you, helps to in­crease oxy­tocin lev­els, the love hor­mone.”

Play soft mu­sic or sing

“PLAY or sing songs and mu­sic that cre­ate a feel­ing of calm­ness for you. Ba­bies recog­nise the songs when they are born and [that can] help you man­age stress,” says Michelle. “Be­come at­tuned with how your baby re­sponds when you lis­ten to ddif­fer­ent types of mu­sic. What makes them calm and what makes them ac­tive? If you lis­ten to cer­tain ra­dio pro­grammesp or watch cer­tain TV pro­grammes, at cer­tain times of the day, ba­bies recog­nise those when they are born.”

Talk to your baby

“SIM­PLY tell them about where you are go­ing, trav­el­ling to, or what you have done through the day.”

Touch and stroke your bump

“GEN­TLY stroking your ab­domen re­leases calm­ing and re­lax­ing hor­mones for both you and your baby and can keep you in touch with your baby’s ac­tiv­ity; a good sign of well­be­ing in your baby.”

Get dad and other kids in­volved

“IN­VOLV­ING the fa­ther and older sib­lings in these ac­tiv­i­ties can also help bring you closer to­gether,” adds Michelle. “Just have fun build­ing that re­la­tion­ship, get­ting to know each other and look­ing for­ward to that new be­gin­ning.”

Hav­ing chats with the baby be­fore he/ she is born makes them part of the fam­ily

Mu­sic now can be calm­ing later on

Use the scan im­ages to in­tro­duce the im­mi­nent ar­rival to the rest of the fam­ily

Touch gives baby a sense of well­be­ing

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