Prenatal Bonding with Baby Prepares for Good Sleep after Birth
Latest update: September 24, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
with your baby during pregnancy is just wonderful. It's your
first chance to connect with your baby and to start building that all
attachment between you.
Certain baby bonding techniques can help prepare for your newborn sleeping
well after birth.
are not all
and there will be other factors
influencing her sleep, but why not optimise your chances for the best
Tips for Bonding with Baby
Your womb is a
comfortable and secure place to be for your baby.
warm, cosy and safe, she's never alone, is fed at will, she can sleep
and be awake at will, she can kick you as much as she likes ;)
positive feelings. Also the bonding
connections you make - through her hearing and touch
senses - make her feel good.
Once born, anything that reminds
her of being in the womb - like being
warm, held close to you, feeding, hearing your voice ... - will bring
back those memories of well-being and safety.
and secure are the best cues to sleep well. So the idea
behind the tips below is
to build specific memories during pregnancy, and to bring these
memories up when your newborn is going to sleep.
What is Bonding
Bonding with baby
is all about
making loving connections. It's the
process of building an
emotional attachment between your baby and you (mom,
dad, or other primary
Mostly, it happens naturally when you provide a loving and secure environment
in which you consistently care for your baby, attend to her needs and
be there for her. How tight and secure the attachment is and how it
develops, depends on your and her personality.
The bonding a baby experiences in her first three years, will
be the reference for her emotional experiences later in life.
Research has shown how secure
baby bonding promotes healthy growth and development for
baby and good emotional functioning. It sets the stage for
building all sorts of relationships in life.
A poor, insecure
attachment is related to developmental delays,
and emotional and functional troubles later in life.
- Talk softly to your baby during quiet moments
relax, during the day or at night in bed, talk to your baby in
a soft gentle voice. Gently stroke your belly if you like.
your day, your plans and also talk about sleep as something
good, something that feels nice, ... If you have a crib or co-sleeper
prepared, talk about that too; how and where she will sleep.
Your baby will
come to love your voice (it will be one of the first things she
recognizes). Later, when you talk to your baby while putting her to
sleep, your voice will reassure her.
- Play favorite music during quiet moments
remember music played often during
pregnancy. If you play that music again after birth, it can help her
calm down and soothe to sleep more easily.
- Sing a
favorite lullaby at night
singing a lullaby you like at night is a great idea. The combination of
your voice and a soft lullaby will be a great memory and cue to drift
off to sleep
songs have always been part of bonding
throughout history and are even found in the animal world.
Note: There's no point
in trying to instill a sleep schedule now. In
the womb, your baby alternates wake and sleep phases constantly (as she
will do as a newborn) nothing close to an earthly schedule.
Bonding with baby during pregnancy is not
exclusive to moms.
Partners can do very much the same: touching, talking and singing to
the baby unborn, are great early
bonding activities for dads too.
Many a dad's lower voice has been ideal to soothe and comfort a fussy
baby so this is excellent practice for later on.
Other pregnancy effects on newborn sleeping skills
The way a newborn sleeps - or does not sleep - depends in part on how
she experienced pregnancy and delivery.
In general, a smooth
pregnancy and an uncomplicated delivery, seem to promote the best newborn sleeping
Also, the closer to full
term a baby is carried, i.e. the longer she spends in the
womb, the larger the chances for better
sleep, especially sleeping through the night seems to come
There are factors that you can't control of course, like how smooth
your pregnancy is, or how delivery goes.
But you can give yourself the best chances with a healthy lifestyle and
guidance that suits you - whether it's pregnancy yoga or
other exercises, parent's information sessions, natural birth
preparations: as long as you do the things or follow the approaches that feel right to you, you can't go wrong.