by Berardo Lucciano
You can start playing now -- with your resident in the womb!
Since your tiny bean has the ability to hear, feel, see and move before birth, share your experiences. These ideas can get you started:
What would you say if you were holding your wee one? Go ahead -- just as if he/she is already in your arms. Your baby enjoys your voice and hearing you talks sets the stage for learning language.
When your baby reaches out with a foot or fist, touch your tummy and say, "I'm right here, sweetie" or "That was a strong boot to my very full bladder!" This is a great way to engage and bond with your wee one.
Try a new food and see note the reaction. Julie Mennella, from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia says flavors are passed to your baby via the amniotic fluid. She discovered that babies respond to different flavors and remember their early meals.
Take a trip to the baby super store and daydream. Would your baby like this outfit? How about a soft, colorful carrier? While you might not get a lot of feedback, you can both enjoy talking about those choices. Perhaps you can get your baby register started at the same time.
Encourage siblings to draw and color pictures, and then to give them to the baby. To do that, they can walk up to mommy’s tummy, say what they would like to say, and hand the picture to mommy. You can hang it up in your baby's room. What a great way to bond!
You can write about an appointment, a sibling's first day of school, a flower that's sprung into bloom, the year's first snowstorm, how excited you are that the nursery is now painted, or just to say, "Hi."
When your baby kicks, gently poke back. See if he will kick again in that same spot, kick in another spot. Some babies play hide-n-seek!
Sitting down, close your eyes and place both hands on your belly. Breathe in and breathe out. Think about your baby. Visualize your baby playing, sucking on her thumb, smiling, knowing she is loved. Just feel love and share that warmth and peace.
Share your love of books with your baby. Did you know that newborns prefer the story they've heard before birth. Studies confirm that tiny babies remember and prefer familiar stories.
Play gentle, soothing music while you are going to sleep. Babies -- who begin hearing by the 18th week of pregnancy -- prefer classical music (Mozart and Vivaldi are good standbys), or any music that mimics the mother's heart rate of 60 beats per minute. If you play a special soft, relaxing music while you lay down to sleep every night with your baby, she WILL remember the music.
What activities do you like to do with your baby bump?