It's never too early to start bonding with your growing baby bump! Some mummies feel a strong bond from the moment they see the positive pregnancy test result, while others find it harder to connect with the baby they haven't yet met. Seeing your baby for the first time during your scan or hearing their heartbeat, can really help you feel closer to this tiny human growing inside you. As your pregnancy progresses there are other simple activities which can help you bond with your baby before they are born.
1. Sing, talk & play music
Your baby can hear everything that is going on outside the womb from the 23rd week of pregnancy, so now is a great time to talk to them and help them get to know their mummy's voice. Of course, it's not just mummy's voice they will recognise - your baby will enjoy hearing the voices of your partner and their older siblings too! If you feel self conscious chatting to your baby bump, take some time out each day and try reading a story or playing a relaxing piece of music for your little one to hear.
2. The power of touch
As soon as your bump begins to show, you will probably touch or rest a protective hand on it without even realising you're doing it! Your baby can feel touch from about 20 weeks, so gently massaging your bump and responding to your baby's kicks and wiggles is a powerful way to build a connection with your baby. You can even play a game with your baby by gently pushing back when she moves!
Booking a professional pregnancy massage is an amazing way to make the most of some precious 'me' time. Suitable from 12 weeks until birth, it is a beautiful way to relax with your bump. Always visit a professional who is qualified specifically in pregnancy massage, as it can be dangerous for your baby if done incorrectly. Locally, Gemma from RMB Yoga and Wellbeing is fully qualified to give pregnancy massage and works wonders with gentle, soothing strokes while you relax on comfy pillows - the ultimate treat for you and your bump!
3. Get active
Staying active during pregnancy is really important for you and your baby. Safe, gentle exercise such as going for a walk or a swim will release those feel good chemicals and help give you more energy. A relaxing swim is another good way to get your daily exercise. The water helps to support the weight of your bump, taking the pressure off your hips and joints. Joining an aqua-natal group or other pregnancy exercise class can also be a great way to meet other mums - just make sure you always choose a qualified instructor such as Turtle Tots.
Pregnancy yoga helps with both mental and physical health and can help you to unwind and re-focus on yourself and your baby. Again, always choose a qualified pregnancy yoga instructor such as RMB Yoga and Wellbeing.
4. Take Bump Photos
Your own photos make a lovely keepsake once your baby arrives and will help you to connect with your growing bump during pregnancy. You might like to take a photograph of yourself from the side on the same day each week, so you can look back and see just how much your baby has grown week by week! This will be a visual reminder of your changing body and growing baby, which can help make your pregnancy seem more real. Believe it or not, you will miss your bump once your baby has been born!
Booking a professional maternity photo shoot towards the end of your pregnancy can make you feel really special. I have lost count of the number of parents who come to the studio with their newborn and say that they wish they had booked a Maternity Session before their baby arrived - but they didn't get around to it. Take the opportunity to celebrate your amazing body and beautiful baby bump by capturing professional images you will treasure forever. Find out more about our studio maternity session here.
5. Have a bath
Staying relaxed and as stress-free as possible during your pregnancy will make bonding with your baby easier. Take the time to have a nice long soak in the evening before going to bed; it will give you a much needed quiet time to connect with your baby. Run the water comfortably warm, but not too hot as this could be dangerous for your baby. Take the time to relax, put on some soothing music and practice deep breathing. You could picture your baby or use the quiet time to check you are still feeling her regular movements which can be easy to miss during the day.
6. Involve your partner and other children
It's important to help your partner and older children bond with the new baby too. As well as talking or reading to your baby bump as mentioned above, feeling your baby kick is a powerful way to help them bond with the new baby. It can take dads a little longer to bond with your unborn baby, as they are not experiencing the physical changes that you are. That's why it's helpful to get them involved whenever possible with antenatal appointments and baby kicks. Cuddling up together and talking about what your baby might look like; what colour hair they could have; what you are most looking forward to doing as a family once baby arrives, is a lovely way to bond with your bump together.
7. Make a pregnancy keepsake
Invest some time in creating a keepsake from your pregnancy. It could be something for your baby such as knitting a blanket to wrap her in in hospital or crafting something to decorate the nursery. Putting love, time and effort into creating something special for your baby will help you to connect with her before she is born. You could ask friends to help you create a belly cast using a DIY kit to help you to remember how big your pregnant belly really was, or you might like to keep a journal of your feelings during your pregnancy.