Can’t wait to finally meet the little one inside of you? Why not get started on the bonding process with your baby as soon as possible.
WORDS ALEXIS TAN
For first-time mothers, pregnancy can be a daunting and scary time as you do not really have a clear idea of what to expect in the months to come. There are so many things to do such as preparing the nursery and buying all the necessary essentials that by the end of the day you are probably feeling exhausted. To add on to the worries, you may be feeling a little scared and apprehensive about meeting your new baby. Many mums do worry that they will not feel an instant connection with their newborn baby. Nine months is a long time to wait to meet your baby and there are little things that you can do during pregnancy to start the bonding process with your unborn child.
As your pregnancy progresses into the advance stages and your bump grows bigger, you will begin to feel more like a mum. So, as a way to start preparing for the new stage in your life, set aside some time in your schedule to bond with your bump.
Pamper yourself and bump by doing regular massages after the first trimester. This is a soothing way to bond with your bump and it can also help to prevent stretch marks. Rub massage oils or stretch marks cream gently onto your belly. This is also a great way to wind down and relax after a long day. Oils like lavender, rose and mandarin are all safe to use and smell great. To further enhance the bonding experience, ask the husband to give you the massage instead. This will help to make him feel more involved in the pregnancy.
Talking and Singing
Your baby’s hearing is developing rapidly in the womb and by 23 weeks, the baby will start to hear sounds outside of the womb. This allows baby to become familiar with your voice and form an attachment to you even before birth.
Dr Christopher Chong, obstetrician, gynaecologist and urogynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital says, “Put your hands on the bump and speak to it. You can even put speakers and earphones to play music to the bump.” An activity you can try is reading out loud to your bump. As you spend more time talking to your bump, you may gradually notice that your baby is responding to your voice and begins to kick and move around as soon as you start talking. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your bump, singing to it is another option you can try.
Hold That Pose
Antenatal yoga classes are a great way to relax and bond with your baby at the same time. Do not worry if you have not done yoga before as the classes for pregnant mums are usually quite simple and for beginners. The ideal time to start yoga classes when you are pregnant is after the first trimester or after fourteen weeks. Doing yoga will also exercise your body and keep you fit and healthy throughout the pregnancy. The movement of your body during the poses will help him move around in the amniotic fluid and the endorphins released during exercise will pass across the placenta to the baby. The yoga instructor will talk you through each pose and you can learn how it will benefit you and your baby. Also, you will be able to learn breathing techniques which will come in handy during labour. This is also the perfect time to clear your mind and try a little mediation. Try visualising holding your little one in your arms and imagine what you are going to say to him. This is a good way to build the emotional bond with your baby.
At your first doctor’s appointment, the doctor will probably give you scans of your baby. Keep those scans nearby such as in your wallet or on the refrigerator’s door so that you will be able to look at it and visualise a tiny perfect human growing in you. As you progress on with the pregnancy, you can even arrange for a 3D scan with your doctor. From the 3D scan, you will be able to see your baby’s features clearly. The best time to have the 3D scan is between 26 weeks to 30 weeks. This will help in making the baby feel like a real person to you instead of a stranger. Take things a step further by arranging for a photoshoot for you and your bump. This will help you feel closer to your bump and create a beautiful memory that will last for the ages.
Let daddy join in the bonding process too. When the baby moves or kicks around in utero, place daddy’s hand on your belly to let him feel the movement. From 23 weeks onwards, the baby is able to hear sounds outside the womb. Dr Chong says, “Talking and singing to the bump will help. Touching, massaging, kissing and hugging are all forms of skin contact and this too will strengthen the bond.”
If this is not your first pregnancy, let the rest of the family join the journey towards meeting the new member of the family.
This will get them excited about meeting their new sibling. Dr Chong explains, “By telling the children about the foetus and its actions, it will be much easier for the children to accept their sibling-to-be and will help to forge a connection between them. Also, journey with the children through the different phases of the pregnancy by explaining to them what is going on and play-acting the response from the foetus. This can be done through stories.”
This is also the time to start thinking about what you are going to name your baby. You can start by compiling a list of your favourite names and slowly shorten it. This will help you feel excited about naming your baby when you finally meet him or her. If you are unable to decide on a name at this moment, give your bump a special pet name that only you know. This will make it exciting and special for you.
Keeping a Pregnancy Diary
Try keeping a pregnancy diary throughout your pregnancy to help you focus on the journey. You can write about anything under the sun, your thoughts and feelings, and the things you did with your bump. Be as honest as you can about how you feel physically and mentally. This may help to ease any worries or anxieties about your pregnancy. This can also be a great way to bond with your baby. Instead of writing about your pregnancy, you can also try writing to your baby. Write a letter to your baby and read them out to your bump. This is a great way to feel closer to the baby.