Bonding with your bump

Your relationship with your baby begins before they are born.

Did you know that babies can hear in the womb at around 16 weeks and can be sensitive to bright lights outside your tummy? By around 25 weeks your baby will be moving around a lot and responding to touch, such as you stroking your bump, and to sounds like your voice or music. They may also get hiccups and you might notice feeling the little jerky movements of each.

You can follow your baby’s development week-by-week and spend some time each day thinking about what your baby can do as they reach each new stage.

You might find it hard to imagine your baby. This may be because your own head feels full of worries, or because you are feeling low in mood, or perhaps your own experience of being parented was difficult. It can be really helpful to discuss this with your midwife or health visitor.

Even small things like talking about how it feels when you listen to the baby’s heartbeat during an antenatal appointment can help you to begin building a picture of your baby.

Bonding takes time – so don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel that rush of love straight away.

Pregnant mum and her partner gazing at bump

What you can do to help

  • Talk and sing to your baby, even if you feel silly, your baby will love it! Talk about what you are doing throughout the day like ‘we’re just going outside for a walk now, can you hear the birds singing?’, or read a book out loud

  • Gently rub, touch or massage your tummy

  • Notice and respond to your baby’s kicks by stroking your tummy or saying ‘hello little baby’

  • Play music to your baby

  • If you feel comfortable, encourage dad or your co-parent or close family member to feel the baby’s movements and stroke your tummy and to read and sing to baby too so they get used to the voices of those who will be close to them

  • Talk to other parents-to-be and share your thoughts and feelings or listen to these stories of how parents imagine their babies will be


Understanding your baby

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