So, you’re convinced: reading to your soon-to-be-born baby is a very good idea. But you’re wondering, how should I begin? Well, you’ve come to the right place—here are some answers to the questions we hear most.
When do I start? You can begin reading to your child in the womb at any time during your pregnancy, but current research shows that the baby’s hearing and memory are more developed in the last trimester, and that they actually begin learning language during these months. Check out this link to learn more.
How do I begin? First establish a time of day that will be devoted to sharing this special time—20 minutes or so—with your baby. Remember, you’re making a commitment to read to your child now and for many years in the future, so choose a time of day that will feel right over the long term. Before you know it, this special reading time will become ingrained in your family’s daily routine, and will be cherished and anticipated by both you and your baby.
Where should I read? Find a quiet and comfortable spot in your home where you can snuggle up with a book, and maybe a cup of tea. Pick a location where you won’t be interrupted—this will become a sacred place for you and your baby, and this time should be as calming and soothing for you as it will be for your child. Lean back comfortably and take a few slow, deep breaths before beginning to read; you’ll find yourself feeling more calm as your heartbeat and breathing slow down. This relaxation and the beneficial hormones it produces will immediately pass to your baby and you’ll both feel connected and peaceful.
What should I read? The evidence shows that anything rhythmic, repetitive, and rhyming is best—babies will remember such sounds if they’re read regularly and they will actually respond positively to the story after they’re born. Check out this amazing TED talk by Annie Murphy Paul for more on that.
You don’t need to speak more loudly than usual; the baby has prime seating and the acoustics are excellent! Check out these previous posts for some fun story suggestions: Reading Roundup and The Gift of Reading to Your Baby in Utero.
I had my baby—now what? Once you’ve established your cozy regular reading time during pregnancy, it will be a breeze to continue after your baby is born. Hold your baby close and read the stories you both know so well. You will be amazed to see that your baby is instantly calmed and settled as you read a familiar story, and you’ll see with your own eyes what all the research has been telling us: that reading to your baby in the womb has a powerful effect on a child’s well-being and development. Daddy, siblings, even grandparents can take part in reading time before and after birth. What a good feeling it will be to have established this loving family routine that will continue for years to come!
Not only is reading to your baby before and after it’s born a great idea for family bonding and early literacy development, but there’s a wealth of research that demonstrates the benefits. Please check out this post for more information: Why Should I Read to My Baby Before Birth?
And be sure to listen to the Reading Womb Podcast for even more in-depth information.
If you have more questions about in utero reading, or would like to share about your own experiences, we can be can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you soon, and remember . . .