Before you were pregnant you had no idea of how a child within would consume you. Your baby-to-be is your constant companion not only in body, but also in thought. For nine months you and your baby are one- growing together and undergoing some amazing changes.
Attachment does not only start at birth, but long before and there is so much you can do in order to prepare your baby for meeting you face-to-face.
The bond between you and your baby starts the moment you know you’re pregnant. And when you feel the first stirrings of life inside you, and you realise there is something wonderful going on in there, you may start to comprehend that this is a person, separate from you and with all his or her own special qualities. Research is showing that rest, relaxation and being positive during your pregnancy are good ways to ensure that you have a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.
The opportunities for parents to form a relationship with the baby in the womb are significant and remarkable. This contrasts sharply with the previous view that prenates did not have the capacity to interact, remember, learn, or put meaning to their experiences. Only a decade ago, doctors typically told pregnant mothers and fathers that talking to a baby in the womb was useless and unrealistic. Now there is mounting evidence for memory and learning inutero and for communication beforethe stage of language.
Mothers and unborn babies whoshared touch and massage during pregnancy, develop a special emotional and physical bond which will continue for life.
Belly baby love programme
This programme stimulates the sense of hearing and the sense of touch. This is something that you and your partner can do actively. Try to establish some time atleast three times a week, where you will actively focus on stimulating your child’s sense of touch and hearing.
While in the first half of the pregnancy and not fully aware of your baby’s movements, take time out, after you have eaten, for stimulation. Once you can feel your baby’s movements, you will be more aware of the cycles of sleep that your baby has, and can take advantage of the alert stages more often.
Touching your unborn baby through abdominal massage releases feel good hormones in your body and baby gets bathed in loving, tender feelings. Your unborn knows that he is valued and wanted and loved. This is the start of building a good self-esteem.
1. Be consistent
Find a time in the day whe you will not be disturbed, and where you will have privacy, peace and quiet. Try not to have any unnecessary noise around you, and play your music selections in the car, when working, or when relaxing. Don’t start something like this and then let it fizzle out. Make contact with your baby in some way every day.
2. Get comfortable and relax
Try and find time to ‘tune out’ from the rest of the world and focus only on your baby for at least 15 minutes twice a day or 30 minutes in one go.
Soften your tight muscles. Whatever is happening to you physically, emotionally and spiritually is happening to your baby as well. The right kind of environment must be created and a natural, unhurried lifestyle should be cultivated by both parents in order for the unborn to flourish and learn in the womb.
3. Play music
Play music that you find soothing and easy to release your tension to. Some days you may wish to simply talk to your baby while you massage your belly or read baby a story. Enjoy really ‘being in the moment’ as you verbalise your feelings and talk to your baby about the time ahead. Studies have shown that newborns are soothed by hearing the same stories and songs they were used to listening to in the womb.
4. Breathe for two
Calm, slow, abdominal breathing will settle you and your baby very quickly, especially if you have been dealing with normal every day stress. ‘Tune out’ of the harsh world and ‘tune in’ to your body and your baby.
5. Loving touch
Touch your belly from early on, so that it becomes a habit and continue to do this throughout pregnancy,especially after the sixth month. Learn to massage your unborn because your loving, intentional touch is helping your baby to wire his brain to be alert but relaxed in the future. Most importantly your unborn baby can feel your love through many of your senses and when you feel loved, valued and precious, so does he.
Use a small amount of simple baby oil,tissue oil or a cold pressed oil, so as toreduce the friction on the skin, and enableyour hands to glide around the abdomen.If using aromatherapy oils, be sure touse those that are safe in pregnancy.
- Effluerage: Light fingertip touching. Do not press too hard. Keep one hand in contact with the skin at all times. Thisis a good form of massage for the early part of labour. Place one hand below your ribs and the other hand beneath the navel. Stroke the abdomen in one circular direction. Do this three times, and then change direction. Keep the movements slow. (Fathers can do this too!)
- Petrissage: Using two hands, place the upper part of the fingers against the skin, press firmly at different places on the abdomen. Using both hands, gently roll the skin inwards between your thumb and fingers in a kneading movement.
- Tapotement: Open hands over the abdomen, palms facing downward. Tap with, quick percussive movements. Do this at different positions on the abdomen, alternating between them.
- Feathering: Stroking with the fingertips only, applying slight pressure. (Fathers can do this too.) other things to do involves gentle shaking of the abdomen, squeezing at different poles of the uterus and tapping or kicking games. You can rub your abdomen in circles or stroke in different directions.
All the above describe gentle intentional touch with a purpose. Fathers should be encouraged to experiment with different ways of massage on mom’s belly. His touch will feel very different to the unborn. Scientists have found that fathers and mothers touch their babies differently – mothers stroke, and father spoke, and the unborn baby will expect the difference.
His touch will make you feel loved and special and these feelings will pass on to your baby who will feel the same. For an external voice to reach the womb, the person needs to be fairly close to the mother, if speaking at a normal level. If the father or sibling wishes to talk to the unborn, one cheek may be rested on the mother's abdomen, so that the sounds travel directly through the touching bodies.
In order to develop your unborn baby’s memory and recognition, you should make a selection of particular literature which you will repeat often throughout your pregnancy (a nursery rhyme or a children’s book with interesting language construction like Dr Seuss).
The unborn can also hear every day sounds such as the phone ringing, water splashing against your body, as in a shower, or the sounds of a vase breaking.
Add interesting sounds by usingcommon objects in simple ways:
- ‘ting’ a glass with a light tap of a spoon.
- tap your abdomen.
- click your fingers.
- Pour water over your abdomen.
- Use the sounds of wind chimes.
Very often when you touch your baby, he will acknowledge your touch by responding and making a movement of his own. He will begin to associate your quiet time with music and touch, with love and pleasure, and this will continue once he is outside in the world.
Babies who are touched frequently know they are valuable and precious. This goes a long way in building self-confidence and a high self-esteem. Children show more tolerance and patience to others if their own needs are met. A baby pre-born or born cannot be spoiled by attention and touching. You can never spoil a child with love.