“When there’s a healthy attachment between baby and parent,” Hartling says, “the baby comes to believe that the world is a safe place. This is the beginning of the establishment of trust.”
Some parents talk about feeling connected to their baby from the moment it’s conceived, says Hartling. For others, that feeling grows as the baby develops. Fathers tend to begin bonding later than mothers, for obvious reasons, Hartling says, but they can help the process along by going to doctors’ visits with the mother, looking at ultrasound pictures, and feeling the baby’s kicks.
When Luminare-Rosen was pregnant, her husband made up a jingle to sing to their daughter, Kylea, before she was born. It was one way her husband could feel close to the baby before she was born, and even as an infant, the jingle would have a soothing effect on Kylea. “Babies can recognize music they’ve heard in the womb after they’re born,” says Luminare-Rosen.
Music provides a calm, harmonious environment in which the baby can grow in the womb, says Luminare-Rosen, who has also developed an audiotape called “Communing with Your Future Child.”
That’s not necessarily any music, however, she says. Studies have shown that 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 (lullabies and New Age music, for example). Hard rock is not the way to go here, especially since the amniotic fluid amplifies the sound. (An occasional rock-out tune won’t hurt the baby, says Luminare-Rosen, but a steady diet of it won’t make your growing baby all that happy.)
“Even in the womb the baby can respond,” says Luminare-Rosen. When the mother is frightened or upset, for example, the baby’s heart rate can double. Stands to reason then, that when the mother is calm and relaxed, the baby will be, too.
Luminare-Rosen says that if you’re pregnant you shouldn’t worry if you occasionally get upset or angry. “All pregnant women get emotionally upset. But if you’re chronically upset, this can have an effect on the child’s personality.”
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