It’s not always easy to find the time and space to connect with your baby in pregnancy, and before you know it, it flies by and here you are in your 3rd trimester wondering where time went! This is definitely what happened to me 2nd time round… I actually found myself forgetting I was pregnant sometimes (only to be reminded by the sharp kicks when falling asleep at night)! Third time round I intentionally set time aside every night to connect with my baby after the busyness of the day, to take in the little moves and kicks, and the miracle of life womb side.
Some personal favourites below (which also tick the self-care box!):
Listening to a sleep relaxation (e.g. Calm or Headspace), hypnobirthing relaxation tracks or a chilled out playlist on loudspeaker before bed
Lying or sitting down eyes closed, and doing this short breathing exercise for a few minutes: Rub your palms together so they are warm (adding a few drops of lavender oil is lovely too), and place one hand on your heart, and the other on your bump. Imaging a golden thread between your two palms, connecting your heart and the baby’s heart. Breathe in and out 10 times.
A bath with epsom salts and lavender oil, putting the book aside for a few minutes to focus on the baby
My husband used to find speaking to the baby a little unnatural so he started reading us a children’s book out loud in the evenings. I really looked forward to that time!
Lying down on the sofa watching TV, hand on the tummy to feel the action inside (When there was, my husband got called in to come and feel the kicks - and watch some rubbish TV with me!)
The first days and weeks postpartum are often a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from pure happiness, sheer exhaustion, overwhelm, maybe tears (maybe LOTS of tears) and more! For some new mums, bonding with the baby happens straightaway, and for others (me included) it wasn’t the ‘love at first sight’ that I expected and it took a bit longer to get to know this new little human in front of me. All of these experiences are completely normal - whatever your feelings, they are entirely valid! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Here are some ideas for getting to know and building your bond with your new baby...⠀⠀⠀
Skin-to-skin (i.e. placing your naked baby on your bare chest) is BRILLIANT for many reasons. Benefits include promoting bonding, regulating the baby’s heart rate, temperature and breathing, supporting feeding etc. Get comfy under a blanket on the sofa/in bed, feeding, resting, cuddling as much as you can in the hours and days after birth. You could listen to a lovely relaxation or calming playlist too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A bath together ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Baby massage - you don’t need to be an expert or even attend a class (though they are really great), gently stroking or rubbing coconut oil into your baby’s skin on the changing mat will do the job⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Singing or dancing with your baby. Singing is not my forte but my son loved it when we sang to him - tunes ranged from cowboy songs (my husband) to made up tunes about what I was doing at the time! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Popping the baby in the sling for a walk or doing the household chores. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And in general newborns love eye contact and watching all your facial expressions including the weirder ones! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀