Around the 19th weeks of pregnancy, your baby's brain begins to appropriate areas for touch, taste, vision - and one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy - hearing. With the development of hearing, you are able to sing to and talk to your baby knowing they can hear your voice.
The Sound of Music
There is no evidence to prove that listening to music makes babies smarter, so there is no need to go out and invest in Mozart - unless of course you want too. However, there IS evidence to suggest that baby shows recognition and preference over sounds and melodies that were heard in the womb. There are soothing effects that a certain melody can have on a baby if it is the same sound that was played for them in the womb.
Sound in the womb is crucial when it comes to forming normal connections in the brain during development. Don’t go putting headphones on your belly though, it is recommended to keep music and conversations below 65 decibels. This is because studies have shown that when exposed to loud noises for long periods of time, unborn babies are more likely to suffer high-frequency hearing loss.
A good time for a father to begin building a connection with his baby is while they are still "in the oven" so to speak. The benefits of speaking and singing to your unborn baby are vital in allowing your baby to recognize and find comfort in your voice in their first days of life - and forever more. Think it's silly to talk to mommy's belly? Did you know there have been many studies on this subject? These studies, in fact, concluded that if dad speaks to his unborn baby, once born, he or she will recognize his voice.
What better way to combat potential sibling jealousy than to involve your other child(ren) from the start. Have the unborn baby's sibling(s) speak and sing to him or her. Let them read books, or if they can't yet read, maybe let them tell a story using only their imagination. On top of feeling involved, they will be connecting with the baby, and the baby with them. This is because the baby will become familiarized with their sibling's voice - recognizing and being calmed by it after birth.
Your baby knows what your heart sounds like from the inside, a beautiful thought isn't it? If you ask a group of moms about their pregnancy and what they would have done differently, the most common answer is usually that they wish they would have slowed down and taken the time to enjoy every moment they could, bonding with their baby while they were in the womb.
If you are reading this and realizing, "Wow, I am already halfway through my pregnancy" or "I am already 7 months"- you may want to think about the advice above and slow down. Start to really live in the moment and enjoy your pregnancy. Why not take the time to sit and focus on your bump. Start bonding and building and savoring that lifelong connection you will have, right now. From 19 weeks your baby can hear your voice. Speak to them, sing to them, read to them – everything you can do to really appreciate that special time together, which only lasts a short 9 months of your lives.