Bonding With Baby Before Birth
Making a connection with your unborn child can strengthen the bond you share, make you feel closer, and enrich you and your baby's lives.
"Even in the womb the baby can respond," says
Luminare-Rosen. When the mother is frightened or upset, for example, the baby's
heart rate can double. Stands to reason then, that when the mother is calm and
relaxed, the baby will be, too.
Luminare-Rosen says that if you're pregnant you shouldn't worry
if you occasionally get upset or angry. "All pregnant women get emotionally
upset. But if you're chronically upset, this can have an effect on the child's
By providing a peaceful environment in which you and your baby
can bond before it's born, Luminare-Rosen says, your baby gets the message that
it's wanted and loved. She suggests communicating those feelings of love by
taking some time every day and sitting quietly, with your eyes closed, and
telling your baby how welcome it is in your life.
"Even if you're only bonding to a concept at that point,
and not the baby itself, you're establishing a connection that will continue
after the baby is born," says Luminare-Rosen. "You're expressing your
When Luminare-Rosen was pregnant with her daughter, she kept a
journal that not only documented her pregnancy, but also included letters to
her daughter telling her about her hopes and her fears. "I read the journal
to her now so that she knows how loved she has been, from the very
beginning," says Luminare-Rosen.
In the prenatal bonding classes that Luminare-Rosen holds, she
will play relaxing music, then have the parents (mostly moms-to-be) imagine
that they are meeting their child for the first time. "Visualize your
child," she suggest. "What is the image you have of the child?"
Luminare-Rosen says that you may see a picture of your child in
your mind, you may hear a conversation between you and the baby. "Draw a
picture of what you have seen, or write it in your journal," she says.
"This will make the visualization that much more conscious."
Marilee Hartling has several tips of her own:
Talk to the baby. Say goodnight before you go to bed, good
morning when you wake up, and talk to it throughout the day. "Newborns know
their mom's voice after birth," she says. "That's the voice they will
Feel the baby. Place your hands on your abdomen and rest your
hands quietly, feeling the baby kick, or gently massaging the baby. You can
even play games with the baby, says Hartling. Press lightly on your abdomen and
you'll feel the baby kick back, she says.
On a more serious note, Hartling says that at Cedars-Sinai,
more attention is being paid to moms who are suffering from depression or have
suffered from postpartum depression in the past (if you have, you're more
likely to experience it again). In these cases, medication may be prescribed
for the pregnant mom, says Hartling, because it's difficult to bond with your
baby when you're depressed.