Getting to know your baby and bonding with your baby can begin before they are born

You can begin to develop a loving relationship with your baby:  Making preparations for your baby, getting ready for the birth, imagining what your baby will be like, changing your routines and keeping your baby in mind when you make plans for the future.  All these things are how you begin to develop a loving relationship with your baby even before he is born.

During pregnancy there are lots of things you can do to help you build a relationship with your baby. You can do a lot to help your baby feel soothed and secure and to help her make a link between the inside and outside world.

Your baby will be able to hear and recognise your voice so you could start talking to your baby, sing to them or read stories to them. Your baby won’t be able to understand the words, but they will soon recognise the tune of the words, and this is a way for your baby to get to know you.

You may want to play music to your baby, and you may notice that they start to recognise different tunes and perhaps have a favourite. It is a way for you to share with your baby, music you like.

Your baby will respond to your touch and will like it when you gently stroke your tummy. You may want to observe your baby when you are spending time together and notice how they like to be touched. You may notice that they respond to your hands or your partner’s hands on your tummy.

Be curious. Every baby is different.

  • Just as every baby is unique, so is every parent. So, whilst it’s helpful to look around at what other people are doing, it is okay to find your own way with your baby. Every parent baby relationship is unique. Here are some more ideas which may help get you started:
  • Spending time wondering about your baby can be a way of tuning into your baby . Who are they? What are they like? What do they think? What are they feeling?
  • You may want to use the same prompts mentioned above to help you tune into your baby’s wellbeing.

Head Heart Body Hands

  • Head:  What are you thinking about your baby?
  • Heart: How do you feel about your baby emotionally? Happy/ Sad / Angry/ Happy/ Love/ Excited/ Nervous/ Guilty/ Frustrated/ Ashamed/ Shocked? You might have lots of different emotions and they will change over the course of your pregnancy
  • Body: What does your baby’s movements inside of you tell you about them? how they might be feeling and what they might need? Maybe baby needs soothing, gently stroke your tummy
  • Hands: What do I need to do? What does my baby need from me?

Some parents find it helpful to write a diary about their growing relationship with their baby which they hope to share with their baby when they have got older.

Thinking and deciding on a name for your baby can encourage you to think about them as a person, who may be a tiny baby on arrival but who will have a lifetime ahead of them.

You may find that it helps to talk about your baby with people around you. You may enjoy listening to other people’s experience of your baby, getting to know your baby can be a shared experience.