Numerous expectant parents recognize the importance of bonding with their newborn, and studies suggest that establishing this connection even during pregnancy might have beneficial effects. For partners, however, forging a bond with a baby growing in someone else’s womb can prove challenging. Exploring ways partners can get closer to the baby while pregnant could provide valuable strategies to overcome this.
But have no fear! Prenatal connection is possible even if you have never had morning sickness or felt your unborn child move. All it takes is some effort on your part. We asked professionals and seasoned parents for their best advice on how to bond with your unborn child.
1. Accompany your pregnant partner on all prenatal visits.
Pregnancy doctor visits are a great chance to spend time together and get updates on your partner’s progress. You and your spouse can get the latest information on the baby’s development, discuss any concerns you may have, and offer emotional support as needed. You’ll witness your baby’s heartbeat and live ultrasound for the first time. You may get emotional when you witness the first signs of a baby. Get a copy of the sonogram to share with family and friends.
2. Predict the fun times you’ll have together in the future.
A pregnant woman’s thoughts naturally turn to her unborn child as an infant. Greg Bishop, author of Boot Camp for New Dads, says that spouses often see their children at a later age as a new playmate and look forward to introducing them to the world. Making or buying an item connected to the activities fathers foresee doing with their children when they get older is a terrific way to put those hopes into action and improve father-child bonds. Perhaps it’s a miniature fishing pole or a piece of memorabilia from their favorite sports club.
3. Learn all about that baby gear!
Once you bring your new baby home, you’ll have a lot to figure out. Don’t make your partner figure out everything by themselves. Instead, familiarizing yourself with the basics will help you through the early days of anything new. Your partner and your new baby will appreciate your efforts to learn about baby products like breast pumps. For some, this may also have an empowering effect. Knowing what to expect before giving birth is useful in many respects. Before the newborn fog sets in, take the opportunity now to learn how to utilize the car seat, pack ‘n’ play, and bottle warmer.
4. Mix it up for your spouse’s pregnancy.
Make a perfect playlist for your unborn child and blast it in their future bedroom. In other words, gently wrap some headphones around your pregnant partner’s belly and listen to music. Here’s your chance to instill in your youngster an appreciation for (what you consider to be) good music for the rest of their lives. However, early childhood music instructor Katherine Moore cautions against increasing the volume too high: Since hearing in fetuses and babies is so sensitive, we must be careful about how loud we make things. Remember that the music you play for your baby can significantly impact his or her mood; although loud, discordant tones can be stressful, classical music, peaceful lullabies, and soothing melodies can be calming. Until they’re a little older, you might want to hold off on playing your favorite thrash metal songs for them.
5. Duet it out.
If you and your partner are both musicians, why not sing a duet to the unborn child? All parties engaged will reap the rewards of the positive musical energy that permeates the amniotic fluid. At 16 weeks, babies can perceive environmental sounds. In addition, infants can immediately identify their parents’ sounds. Dads can help their unborn children learn to relax and focus by singing to them while they are still in the womb. Before bed is a great time to start a singing habit that can be carried on long after the baby is born.
6. Foster an early appreciation for literature.
Because your unborn child can hear, reading to them while they’re still in the womb is a great way to shape their future taste in literature. In fact, they’ll fare better if you break out the textbooks right away. My parents encouraged me to get an early start on reading because they were avid readers themselves. My wife was pregnant, so I went out and bought a bunch of Dr. Seuss and Curious George books to read to her. It was a terrific way to engage in the pregnancy, and when our son was old enough to choose his own bedtime tales, he chose the ones he’d heard since birth. That was incredible.
7. Listen for baby’s rhythms.
For the last few months of my pregnancy, my wife and I spent every night hanging out and cheering on our unborn child like he was playing in the World Cup finals of soccer. Experts like Lamaze instructor and Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators member Deborah Petersburg recommend having dad rest his hands on mom’s developing belly so he may feel the baby kick and move about. It’s amusing to speculate as to which part of the infant you’re touching. The infant will even ‘play’ with the father by kicking or punching at his hand, which often shocks the parent.
8. Go on a virtual road trip with the baby.
Some of your loved ones will likely live far away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t say hello to them in the womb. Play a recording of your grandmother’s voice from Oklahoma or your sister’s from California for your newborn. Telling others about your anticipation of becoming parent will make it feel more natural. And after a few months, your baby may be more prepared for their first true car journey.
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