So thankful for you

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the ordinary little miracle that is happening right now. You’re pregnant. Countless women (and females of all mammal species) have been in this condition for eons. Today 4.3 babies are born on earth every second!

But no one else is carrying your baby.

And no one’s experience with this amazing process is quite like yours. So indulge yourself for a minute and really feel the wonder of it. Breathe a sigh of gratitude. You’ve been caught up in the excitement and the worries, the preparations and shopping, the fascinating new shapes your body is taking and all the strange (sometimes overwhelming) new sensations you’re feeling. Meanwhile, this little being is riding along inside you, enjoying the bounces and the taste of your breakfast . . . and (by the third trimester) eavesdropping on everything you say!

Yes, you are already communicating with your baby. He knows the rhythms of your body and your sleep cycles, your movements and stillness, and, most important, the sound of your voice. Compelling research shows that their mother’s voice plays a crucial role in babies’ growth and development in the womb. Long before you hold your baby in your arms, you begin nurturing him through the power of your unique voice.

Deepak Chopra writes about this connection in his beautiful bookMagical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth:

The process is one that is called neuro-associative conditioning. Your nervous system anchors your emotional well-being to the vibration of the sound. . . . The rhythm and pitch of human voices are clearly perceptible in the womb. . . . An unborn child becomes familiar with his mother’s voice long before he emerges from the womb.

This early connection, which expectant and new parents sense intuitively, is now being proven by science. Research shows that babies in the third trimester can hear, recognize, and even remember sounds—especially their mother’s voice—and this stimulation plays a vital role in their development.

Studies also show that reading to babies in utero is particularly powerful. Newborns have been found to respond to rhythmic, rhyming stories that were read to them regularly in the last weeks before birth. When your newborn baby cries, you can read him a poem or story you’ve practiced repeatedly during pregnancy and he will be stilled by the familiar beat and the beauty of the voice he has been listening to for months.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have one more way of comforting your new baby when he gets fussy? If you start talking, singing, and reading to your baby in the womb, you’ll see his face light up when he hears you in person! Until then, you can know that he is already loving, and learning from, the sweet sound of his mother’s voice.

“If we aim to create a nonviolent world,” says Deepak in his book, “we must begin with love and nourishment in the womb.” In other words, if you foster calm and peace in your baby’s environment even before he’s born by communicating with him consciously, the effects can last through his childhood, perhaps carrying that deep-seated feeling of well-being throughout his life and sharing it with the world.

Imagine a world where all babies experienced this “magical beginning”! It could become a reality, starting with you. Now, that opportunity is a lot to be thankful for.

We at The Reading Womb are so grateful to all of our readers, and to everyone who has supported Belly Books, the first board books specially created to read to the baby in the womb.

From Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be

An essential item for your hospital bag!

There is so much to do to get ready for the arrival of a new baby. You may be setting up the crib, stocking up on diapers, and checking and double-checking that you have enough onesies, blankets, socks and other newborn essentials. These preparations all make good sense and help parents to feel at ease, but the truth is that your newborn will not actually respond to any of these things.

Your baby has come from a place that is dark and warm, where the swishing stomach sounds, the rhythmic heart thumps, and the sweet, sweet sound of Mama’s voice are all the comfort required.

We’re not saying that the practical details aren’t important, but what if we told you that there’s something even better? There is something you can do to prepare now that will preserve your newborn’s feeling of safety and comfort when she leaves the calming refuge of your body and enters a place where she’s barraged with an overload of unfamiliar sensory stimulation.

Whether you have just started your pregnancy or are nearing the finish line, there’s an investment you can make right now that will pay incredible dividends down the line.

For decades vast amounts of research (see our Research page) have shown that babies in utero hear and respond to repeated rhythms and rhymes and are soothed and calmed when they hear the same verse at birth.

Let’s repeat that: Babies are calmed and soothed by rhythms and rhymes they heard before birth. Have you ever seen a onesie that can do that?

So we at The Reading Womb implore you to add something else to your Getting Ready for Baby list: READ!

Reading to babies in utero is easy. Just choose a book that’s short, simple and rhyming (we have the perfect suggestion). Read the book a few times each day, and when baby arrives you’ll see the magic for yourself. Read to baby now, and when your newborn leaves the comfort of your womb for the uncharted territory of the new world, you’ll have something that’s guaranteed to ease the transition.

Once your baby hears the familiar story, read in the voice she loves the most, the results will be palpable. Baby’s heartbeat and breathing will slow down, her crying will stop, and her body will relax, all because you have created a real connection to her safe and comfortable life in the womb.

If you’re approaching your due date and have started to think about what to pack in your hospital bag, don’t forget to pack the special book you’ve been sharing with your baby over these weeks or months. Although you’ll be meeting your baby face-to-face for the first time, you have already created a memory together. This shared reading experience will infuse sweetness and comfort into all the story times—and family times—to come.

 

This Father’s Day, feel like the Dad you already are

It comes so naturally for an expectant mother to bond with the baby who’s sharing her body. For the expectant father, it might take a little encouragement. If you’re a new family in the making, right now is the perfect time to celebrate Daddy-to-be and his very real connection with the baby in the womb.

To experience this connection is deeply moving during pregnancy and amazing to witness after birth. And the effects can last for years to come!

  • This study by the American Psychological Association found that patterns of bonding established before birth affected parents’ and children’s levels of stress and anxiety into the toddler years.
  • This study found that fathers who took an active role in the early stages of their babies’ development led to their children performing better in cognitive tests by the age of two.
  • And this one demonstrated that fathers who embrace becoming a parent from their child’s infancy are less likely to have children with behavioral problems before teenhood.

Talking to the baby in utero is one of the first and best ways for the father-to-be to start loving, caring for, and teaching his baby. From the third trimester or earlier, a baby’s ears are developed enough for her to hear both of her parents’ voices. It will help, of course, if Daddy gets close and speaks, laughs, and sings directly to the bump.

And reading aloud is an especially powerful way for him to share his voice. Numerous studies have shown that babies in utero can recognize and remember stories read aloud to them, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. Newborns then respond to those same stories, especially read in the familiar voices they heard from the womb.

To get started, Dad-to-be can:

  • Designate a special time every day (bedtime is great!) to snuggle up with Mom-to-be and take turns reading to baby.
  • Choose a story that’s rhythmic and repetitive; the research says that babies respond best to stories with an inherent beat.
  • Read the same few stories or poems every time so they—and Daddy’s unique voice—will become familiar to the baby.
  • Watch the magic begin when the baby is born! The newborn will be calmed by the voices of both parents and will listen attentively to the story she’s already come to love.

What an incredible connection you both will have created with your child, to last the rest of your lives!

Happy Father’s Day!

Celebrate the senses, celebrate Mother’s Day!

 

Congratulations, mom-to-be! Pregnancy is such an amazing experience, even in times like these.

And there’s one big benefit to these days of social isolation: the less focus you’re putting on the world out there, the more you’re putting on this mysterious little creature in here. This is a wonderful time to bond with your baby-to-be!

Thanks to decades of research into fetal development, it’s become clear that babies can hear, taste, smell, and feel from inside the womb. This means that you are already communicating with your baby through the food you eat, the fragrances you smell, the touch of your hands, and especially the sound of your voice. According to Deepak Chopra, sharing the experience of your five senses with your baby “creates a nurturing environment” for yourself and baby, before birth and after.

So cherish all this extra time at home, and use it to make that multisensory connection as your unborn baby grows. Really taste your breakfast, your smoothie, your snacks and meals! Really smell the flowers, your coffee, your soap! Notice all over again the pictures on your walls, the views from your windows or in your back yard. Try out all the comfiest spots for curling up or lying back as lazy as can be.

And while you’re there, start reading aloud! This is the very best way to bond prenatally. Hearing is the sense that is most highly developed in utero, and the one that gives you (and Daddy and big brother/sister-to-be!) the most direct connection with your baby.

So many studies have shown that babies in the womb hear, recognize, learn and remember their mother’s voice (and others’!) and respond to it after birth. This means your familiar voice will calm your newborn baby, and she’ll even recognize stories she heard you read — the best way to raise a book lover and a kid who loves to learn.

Meanwhile, nurturing yourself and your baby right now will help to release endorphins, or feel-good hormones, which will communicate to you and your child, “All is well and calm and safe. Rest, relax, and grow, and soon you’ll join us in this beautiful world.”

What better way to wish yourself…

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Watch! Let your love shine, mom-to-be

Give voice to your love and read to the bump! Your baby can hear you by the third trimester, and there is no better way to bond than through your unique voice and its loving vibes.

 

And the winner is…

You can do it, everyone!

Best sibling bonding ever when you read to the bump together!

 

The Belly Books Giveaway ends today! 

Click here for all the info!

Relax and get cozy

Take some Me time and read to the bump!

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!

Hey, gorgeous!

Read to the bump —
and do it with flair!

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!

Got some time on your hands?

Read to the bump —
multitasking allowed!

 

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!