Bonding with your baby begins in pregnancy.
From 5 months of pregnancy, your baby can hear you when you sing, read and talk. These are nice ways to connect with your baby.
Both parents can bond with the baby during this time. Do not worry if it takes longer for your partner to feel a special connection. This is normal.
From around 18 weeks, your baby can already hear sounds.
Talk to them - they'll know your voice. Encourage your partner to talk too. Your baby may settle down or move when they hear certain voices.
Very loud noises can distress your baby. Think about how your baby may be feeling. Talk to your bump in a soothing voice if you think they're upset.
Songs and music
Singing songs or playing calm music can soothe your baby.
Feeling your baby move for the first time can be very special. You may feel a flutter from 13 weeks, but it can be much later. Try to take time to enjoy this moment.
As your baby grows, you may also feel strong movements and kicks. From 18 weeks, the rocking movement of you moving around can send your baby to sleep.
Touching and stroking your bump helps you to bond. Notice how your baby responds to your touch. You may also feel your baby kicking.
Listen to their heartbeat
Many parents find hearing their baby’s heartbeat for the first time a powerful moment. You'll get to hear this during the ultrasound scans at your antenatal appointments. Partners should also try and attend.
Bonding with your baby for fathers and partners
It might take fathers or partners a little longer to bond with their baby during pregnancy. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
During the pregnancy you can become closer to your baby by feeling for kicks. Ask your partner if she could let you know when the baby is moving and if you can feel her bump. This will help your baby feel more real.
Talk and sing to the baby while they are in the womb. The baby can recognise your voice. They'll sometimes react to hearing it.
Bonding with your baby for other children
A new baby is a big change for your other children.
You can help them to bond with the baby by:
- reading stories about pregnancy and babies
- letting them touch your belly when the baby moves
- encouraging them to talk and sing to the baby