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!

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! 

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Relax and get cozy

Take some Me time and read to the bump!

 

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Hey, gorgeous!

Read to the bump —
and do it with flair!

 

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Got some time on your hands?

Read to the bump —
multitasking allowed!

 

 

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Both of you can do it anywhere!

 

Bond with your baby-to-be — read to the bump!

 

 

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!

Giveaway!

Enter the You Can Do It! Giveaway on Twitter and Instagram to win a $100 Amazon gift card, two Zillion Bottles onesies, and signed copies of Can’t Wait to Show You and Hey, Little Baby! Drawing Friday, April 17.

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You can do it anywhere!

Read to Your Bunny

H A P P Y  E A S T E R !

Prenatal Story-time: A Multi-sensory experience!

deepak-bookWe talked recently about Deepak Chopra’s beautiful book, Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. Another thing we love about this book is that Deepak devotes so much attention to bonding with your baby, both before and after birth. For example . . .

“Use all five senses to connect with your baby and create a nurturing environment for both of you.”

In our August post, we mentioned the very real sensory connection mothers have with their babies in the womb that researchers have been discovering over the years. For instance, this fascinating BBC article delved into research that “supports the idea that babies learn taste preferences before they are born” and why this link between mother and baby (human and animal) likely developed to enhance newborn survival. This Science Daily article cites earlier studies that showed that babies’ sense of smell also develops in the womb.

21492380_sWhat about the sense of touch? Well, a recent study, “Fetal Behavioural Responses to Maternal Voice and Touch,” reinforced findings of earlier research that found that “Newborns preferentially respond to maternal voice hours after birth, suggesting that the fetus is able to detect stimuli in utero and form memories of them.” Yes! We never get tired of hearing our message corroborated by experts!

This study is especially interesting in that it also measured (through ultrasound) fetal response when pregnant mothers touched their
baby bump. The researchers conclude, “Overall results suggest that maternal touch of the abdomen was a powerful stimulus, producing a range of fetal behavioural responses.” We love how they put their findings into a family context:

Mothers, fathers and other family members talk and even sing to the fetus throughout pregnancy with communicative intent. Many report changes in the fetal behaviour as a response to such communication. . . . Similarly to talking to the fetus, most mothers and even fathers attempt to communicate with and regulate the behaviour of the fetus via stroking of the mother’s abdomen as a response to the kicking or positional movements of the fetus. Even the expecting mothers’ mood is affected by massaging the abdomen. . . .

And this brings us back to Deepak’s important advice. We know now that babies can hear, taste, smell, and feel from inside the womb, and scientists also find that they’re sensitive to light as early as the fourth month. But you also create a “nurturing environment” for yourself and your baby in utero simply by connecting to your own five senses.

Revel in the flavors of your breakfast, your fruit, your tea. Feast your eyes on the kaleidoscopic colors at the farmer’s market. Moon around the florist’s shop taking deep, ecstatic breaths. Luxuriate in the bliss of a warm ray of sun slanting through the window. And lie back in the comfiest chair in the house and let your sweetie give you and baby-to-be some loving touch. All this (plus the resulting release of endorphins, or feel-good hormones) will
communicate to your child, “All is well and calm and safe. Rest, relax, and grow, and soon you’ll join us in this beautiful world.”

If you foster calm and peace in your baby’s environment even before he’s born, the effects can last through the birth, the newborn weeks, the first year, and on into childhood. A “magical beginning” indeed!

Now please forgive a shameless plug for our book, Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be, which takes you through a journey of the five senses with your baby in the womb. Read aloud these words that let you indulge your happy anticipation, and enjoy the colorful nature-inspired illustrations, and you’ll truly be connecting with your senses and your unborn child.