Developing a relationship with your baby

The more you take time out to develop a relationship with your baby the more you help their brain development. You can feel proud that you are giving your baby the best start in life.

As your baby grows, they will start to recognise sounds and become sensitive to all the things that are happening around them. Research has shown that your baby will begin to develop communication skills very early in your pregnancy.

During your pregnancy

Did you know that many vital skills are developed and practiced before your baby is born? This includes:

  • touch
  • movement
  • hearing and listening
  • memory
  • the ability to practice 'silent crying'.
  • sucking

These skills will help your baby’s development of speech, language, and communication.

Parents and family members can interact and communicate with their baby in the pregnancy in many ways (opens in new window) > and improve their baby’s experiences in the womb. 

From 20 weeks of pregnancy your baby's brain grows very quickly. Your baby can recognise their mum's voice from 16 weeks and your partners from 20 weeks.

Your baby can respond to singing and being read to from 24 weeks. They may move about to show that they are listening.

Babies develop preferences for music while in the womb, they can move in rhythm to music and their heart rate increases.

Babies can remember from the 12 weeks of your pregnancy.

Babies communicate through movement all the way through pregnancy.

It is really important to communicate and stimulate a baby right from the start.

You can help to keep your baby happy and help it to develop in lots of ways before it is born:

  • stroke your tummy
  • sing
  • play music
  • expose your tummy to light, and gentle vibrations

Talking to your baby helps him/her to make sense of the world and start to link words and actions e.g., “Good morning”, “What shall we have for dinner” “Its bedtime, let’s read a story”.

Communicating with your unborn baby helps to build a loving, secure relationship.

Mothers communicate non-verbally to their babies through the way that they feel. Your baby will be aware of how their mum feels so try and take time to relax, this will help you control stress your levels. Baby will love and enjoy sharing this time with you!

Take note of when s/he is more active. If something like a loud noise startles her, you can comfort your baby by talking in a soothing voice and touching your bump. 

You may also have thought about how you intend to feed your baby. Talk to your midwife and health visitor who can answer your questions and give you some tips to help get feeding started.

Remember you don’t have to decide about how you will feed your baby until you hold her in your arms.