Chatting and singing to your bump can help you and your partner bond with your baby before they are even born. It will be supporting their early language development too!
What the research tells us:
- Scientific research shows that even before they are born, babies respond to their mother's voice. They move less and their heart beat slows, suggesting that the sound of their mother's voice has a calming effect on them.
- In the womb babies hear low-pitched sounds first, so are likely to hear male voices more clearly than other external sounds.
- Newborn babies respond more to language than other sounds they hear.
- Newborn babies respond positively to word patterns, like nursery rhymes, that they have heard before their birth.
- Newborn babies recognise the vowel sounds of their mother's language, and can tell the difference between different spoken languages, showing a preference for those which are familiar to them.
When can they hear?
- At 16 weeks your unborn baby's hearing will start to develop.
- At 18 weeks your unborn baby can hear your heart beat, breathing and digestion sounds.
- Between 24 and 30 weeks your baby will be able to hear external sounds.
- When they are almost full term your baby will have a mature hearing system, they will notice and respond to sounds.
What does this mean?
Your unborn baby is already listening to and learning about language. Talking to them will be supporting their early language development and will also help you to bond with them.
You and your partner could try:
- Chatting to your baby as you go about your day, or spend a few minutes each day focussed on talking to them.
- Learning a nursery rhyme or lullaby and sing it to them each day so they will be familiar with it when they are born. It may have a calming effect.
- Reading them a story, they may become familiar with the rhythm of the text and tone of your voice, so that they recognise it once they are born.
Do what you are most comfortable with, if you feel silly chatting to your tummy, find a quiet time of day when no one else is around!
By talking, singing and reading to your baby you and your partner will be establishing good habits that are even more important once your baby is born. Notice if your baby responds, either by moving more, or moving less as you talk or sing to them. You could also try playing different types of music to them to see how they respond. Newborn babies have been known to react to frequently heard television theme tunes!
Get the family involved!
Encourage your partner and your baby's siblings to chat and sing to your bump. This will help them bond with your baby too.
Babies will respond to familiar voices after they are born, so the more your partner and other children chat and sing to your bump, the more likely it is that baby will recognise their voices when they are born.
Did you know?
The sounds your baby hears in the womb contribute to hearing and brain development.
Find more pregnancy advice and guidance on Start for Life.