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.

 

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!

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.

Enter Now:

Retweet and Tag on Twitter!

(Follow for a bonus entry)

Or

Tag and Follow on Instagram!

You can do it anywhere!

Read to Your Bunny

H A P P Y  E A S T E R !

Celebrating Big Sisters and Brothers-to-be

Helping Mommy read aloud to baby brother- or sister-to-be

If you’re a new family hoping to add another member someday—or soon!—then you might sometimes worry about how this will affect your firstborn. How will she feel when she’s no longer the center of your universe?

Popular wisdom holds that introducing a new sibling is inevitably difficult and potentially even traumatic for the firstborn child. But the truth is that expanding your family can be a joyful experience right from the beginning if you help your little one create a strong relationship with her baby brother or sister—even before the baby is born.

Our mission at the Reading Womb is to educate parents about the importance of bonding with babies by starting a regular storytime even before birth. And prenatal bonding, especially through reading aloud, is also the very best way to build strong sibling relationships!

By the time your second child comes along, you’ve probably established a regular read-aloud routine. We hope you even read to your first child in utero, and she’s a book lover already! Whether storytime is part of your family’s schedule or not, reading to your firstborn and expected child at the same time is way to continue or ingrain a practice that is integral to successful families.

Think about it: you’re sharing with two little ones at once all the joys of language, literacy, and bonding through books, and at the same getting some relaxation time for yourself. Now, that’s multitasking at its best!

Research has shown that babies can hear and remember voices from inside the womb during the last trimester—so let your first child know that the baby in Mummy’s belly can really hear her talking. The sibling-bonding magic happens when your child actively joins in the read-aloud with you. She can repeat some of the lines from the story after you read them, or even read some words herself if she’s old enough. Meanwhile, you can help her describe the pictures to the baby and add her own details to the story.

Hey, Little Baby, from Cottage Door Press

We can’t resist sharing a glimpse of the “second sibling” in the Belly Books collection! Hey, Little Baby was created specially for little ones to welcome a new baby brother or sister into their world. By telling the baby-to-be about all the fun they’ll have together, your firstborn will develop a sense of excitement about the upcoming birth—and a feeling of companionship that will ease the adjustment.

There are so many benefits to both grownups and children from family storytime, even just 15 minutes a day. Setting aside this sacred time to share the joys of language and story is a beautiful way to just be together as a family. And if you establish daily reading time with your first child, then when the new baby finally arrives, this will continue as an expected and comforting routine as you all settle into life as an expanded family.

Goodbye, sibling rivalry—hello, sibling revelry!