Start bonding with your baby before birth with these top tips from Barnardo’s during Infant Mental Health Awareness Week.
‘Nine before it’s time’ are nine simple things mums can do to encourage their baby’s healthy mental and emotional development while they are growing in the womb.
All the advice is no cost or low cost, so parents don’t have to worry about buying extra materials.
The activities which include talking, singing and playing music to your baby, stroking your bump and rocking and help your baby feel soothed and secure – helps them make links between the inside and outside world.
It is one of the services delivered through some of the more than 180 children’s centres Barnardo’s runs across the UK.
And the UK’s leading children’s charity has issued the ‘nine before it’s time’ tips so parents can do them at home:
- Put on some of your favourite music and notice whether they seem more active or whether they go off to sleep
- Try playing gentle, soothing music while you are going to sleep. See if they remember it and go off to sleep after they are born.
- Babies love nursery rhymes and songs – so try singing them a few songs.
- When you feel a kick, put your hand on your stomach and say: “It’s okay, I’m right here.”
- Try sitting down and relaxing. Gently rub your bump and ask your baby how he or she is.
- Get your partner to do the same and have a chat with your baby.
- As you go from one activity to another, talk to your baby as though they were right there in front of you. Tell them what you are doing.
- If possible arrange your scan appointments at a time when your partner can be there.
- Make sure you take some time to relax yourself because if you’re stressed then the baby might get stressed too.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan, said:
Working with babies and their parents across our services, Barnardo's knows the importance of giving children a healthy start in life to put them on the best path to a positive future.
We welcome the focus on pregnancy for this year's Infant Mental Health Awareness Week because bonding starts even while the baby is in the womb.
Our tips help, as research has shown that babies are aware of sounds, touch and movement in the uterus. It means they will recognise family voices and familiar smells and sounds as soon as they are born.
Barnardo’s stresses to all the mums and dads who we work with that parenthood begins before birth because many don't realise they can start making a difference even before their child is born.