7 Creative Ways to Bond With Your Baby Bump
If you are expecting a baby in the near future, it is important to establish connection to your baby in the womb. With a growing baby bump, you are excited for the road ahead as you prepare for a new role in life—motherhood. However, sometimes it can be hard to bond with an unborn baby in the womb because baby is not seen. While you may have the cutest name picked out, it's hard to make a connection when there is no face to go with the name. Routine ultrasounds just provide you with a rough, gray outline of a baby's features. A 2D ultrasound hardly gives you an adequate representation of your beautiful baby that will be welcomed into the world.
Doctor's and society as a whole like to remind expectant mothers of the importance of bonding immediately after birth. What society doesn't emphasize is the bonding that can occur before giving birth. While it can be more difficult to bond with an unborn baby, it is not impossible. Let's look at some fun and creative ways to bond with your baby bump.
1. Massage Your Bump
Research by Dundee University in Scotland found that expectant mothers who massaged their bump's increased overall fetal movement, indicating a response to a mother's touch. While babies in the second and third trimesters respond to touch in the womb, massage is also beneficial to expectant mothers. Such actions as singing lullabies and talking while massaging your bump allows you to feel your baby's movements. Showing affection through massage only increases the connection between mother and baby.
Massaging your baby bump with stretch mark creams can also aid in reducing the appearance of stretch marks. In order to reduce stretch marks, skin needs to be well-hydrated. Applying such products as Bio-oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil and olive oil can help keep skin hydrated reducing the possibility of stretch marks. While there are many products on the market for reducing the appearance of stretch marks, it's all up to personal preferences. Some expectant mothers swear by Bio-oil and some prefer coconut oil. Personally, I used a combination of cocoa butter and Bio-oil daily to connect with my son in the womb. Bio-oil significantly reduced the appearance of my stretch marks during pregnancy and provided much needed nutrients to my dry, itchy skin.
2. Play With Baby Feet
By week 18, you may begin to feel your baby's movements. As your baby gets bigger and bigger, space in the womb can start to become cramped. Little feet and hands will begin to push out and explore. At times it can be uncomfortable. But take advantage of your baby's exploratory movements. Since your baby can respond to touch, try tapping or lightly pushing on his or her feet or hands. Overtime, it can become a game for you and baby. Push lightly into your stomach and see if baby responds in the same area with a kick.
3. Make Shopping Fun
One of the best things about expecting a baby is preparing for their arrival. Whether it is decorating and painting the nursery or buying necessary clothing and diapers, shopping doesn't have to be boring. It can be exhausting gathering everything that baby needs. But, just because items will not be used immediately by baby doesn't mean your baby isen't there shopping with you.
Whenever my husband and I went shopping for baby cloths and shoes, we always had a good time. I wanted my unborn son to be part of the fun too. So I would hold up baby outfits to my baby bump and proceed to ask my husband, "Do you think this will fit?" It was our way of connecting as a family and including our son we couldn't physically see in front of us. If your baby likes to push out his feet against your stomach why not try on baby shoes? Hold up the baby shoe to your baby's foot and see if the shoe fits.
4. Paint Your Bump
Baby Bump painting can be a fun way to celebrate the holidays, announce a pregnancy, reveal a your baby's gender or simply celebrate being pregnant. The ideas for painting a baby bump are endless. Whether you paint it yourself with a belly painting kit or hire a professional painter, your belly painting is an amazing way to connect with your baby bump. Many mother's to be also opt instead for a prenatal Henna tattoo. Lasting more than a week, Henna is an organic skin dye used to commemorate your new addition. Although both water-based paints and Henna wash away either immediately or gradually, always capture the beauty of the moment with pictures.
Another option gaining popularity among expectant mothers is belly casting. A plaster belly cast dries quickly and can be decorated and painted anyway you choose. Belly casts can provide a permanent decorative keepsake of the beauty of pregnancy. Many women display it in the home as a one of a kind sculpture. The belly cast can serve as a daily reminder of the love and bond your share with your baby.
5. Play Music
After 20 weeks gestation, babies are able to listen. Overtime, babies can recognize their mother's voice and respond through movement. Similarly, music played while in the womb can be recognized after birth. Research found that music played in the womb is later remembered by babies once born. That same music played in utero is also preferred, even 12 months later. But, how exactly can music bond you and your baby bump?
Playing relaxing music such as classical can provide a soothing response, promoting relaxation for an expectant mother. As you feel yourself distress to relaxing music, your baby in turn will also be in a relaxed state. Classical music can help in an instance where your baby simply won't stop with his or her hard kicks to your rib cage. Instead of bearing the pain, try to relax by playing classical music that can calm your nerves, as well as your restless kicking baby.
I do admit that classical music can get boring after a while. Throughout my pregnancy I would do a combination of classical music, then switch to my Christian playlist. Switching to my regular playlist gave me the extra dose of happiness I needed to make it through the day. Since I knew my son could hear me, I sang out loud to every song. This helped me to bond with him in the womb. Plus now that he's almost a year old, we have a shared bond in the same taste in music. My son still prefers Christian music.
6. Get A 3D Or 4D Ultrasound
A routine 2D ultrasound at your doctors office does not give you the best picture of how beautiful your baby is. Most of the time as mother's stare at the ultrasound pictures, you're wondering what you're actually looking at. It is hard to decipher a hand from a foot in an all gray photograph. Getting a 3D or 4D ultrasound allows you to visualize your baby. While a 3D ultrasound provides detailed pictures of a baby's facial features, a 4D ultrasound allows you to see your baby move, kick and yawn in real time movement.
3D and 4D ultrasounds are considered a bonding experience for expectant mothers. Therefore, the ultrasound are typically not covered by insurance. One of the most memorable experiences I have during my pregnancy is getting a 3D and 4D ultrasound. I finally had a detailed image of the baby that kept kicking me in the hip bones. Seeing a detailed picture of my son's face filled me with happiness and reaffirmed my bond with him. I kept the 3D pictures and watched the 4D ultrasound often to get me through the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy.
7. Track Your Baby's Growth
Pregnancy comes with many changes to the female body. Each week your baby is growing bigger. Looking into the mirror daily and taking weekly belly pictures does not always help expectant mothers gage the growth of their baby. Fetal growth charts are a fun way to visualize and compare your baby's growth to such things as fruit, vegetables and even animals. Comparing my son's weekly growth to fruit and vegetables every week help me to strength my maternal bond every week. I was proud that my son started off as the size of a poppy seed and within 12 weeks flourished to the size of an apricot.
After delivery, many women report an instantaneous connection or bond with their child upon seeing his or her face. For others, maternal bonding takes love and above all, time. Maternal bonding can begin overtime before your baby is born. Nine months for many women can fly by. Celebrate your pregnancy, your body and your unborn child by finding creative ways to connect with your child. What other creative ways did you bond with your baby bump?