When it comes to bonding with your baby, one of the worst things you can do is Google how to do it!

There is an entire market out there ready and waiting for you to hit that search key and convince you, that you need to purchase a whole range of products that are completely unnecessary.

Research shows that singing that same song and reading that same story to your baby after birth can have a soothing effect on them

Bonding with your baby during pregnancy is something you can do with your own things around you. Talk and sing to your baby from the start of the third trimester (that’s when they can hear you clearly). Choose a song and a children’s book you love and start singing and reading to your baby when you can. Research shows that the baby, as amplified by his/her body, hears the sound of their Mother’s voice.  Further research shows that singing that same song and reading that same story to your baby after birth can have a soothing effect on them.  Children’s books tend to have a natural rhythm and musicality to the words (think of Dr Seuss or Goodnight Moon for example).

Research is less clear as to whether your baby can hear other voices in the womb as clearly. But it can still serve as a lovely and effective bonding ritual for the other parent-to-be to read to your bump. Don’t rule that out just because the baby may not be able to hear their voice as well as they can hear yours.

Pregnant holding scan - maternity leave

Another bonding technique that parents-to-be can engage in quite naturally, is to envisage their baby all grown up. Picture them, what they look like, what their name will be, what games they like to play, what values they will have. We might even picture them all grown up and getting married or becoming parents themselves. If you find this hard to do, structure it by setting yourself a task for example writing down a list of values you think your future child might have and then write down how you can help to bring this about for them.

Another nice bonding activity is to buy a notebook and each day write down a few lines that capture that day for you.  Pregnancy is all consuming, it takes over our minds and bodies and while we may think we will remember each little moment the likelihood is we won’t.  You can get some really nice 5 or 10 year journals that are designed to just allow for 1-2 lines a day.  Start it in pregnancy and keep it up as the years pass.  Just think, what a nice gift to hand over to your child on their 18th birthday.

Top tip

At this stage, your developing baby’s needs are actually quite simple. A few essential nutrients, plenty of sleep, mild to moderate exercise and minimal stress. In other words, your developing baby needs a healthy and relaxed Mama-to-be.