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Your womb is a sensory playfield for your baby. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that your child starts learning while it’s inside the womb. You’ll be surprised to know that your baby’s preferences for food and music start while they’re still inside your womb.
The best way to teach your baby is to interact with it. Whenever your baby kicks, encourage your little one by saying, “kick, baby, kick” and touch a spot on your bump to direct its kicks there and teach it how to respond. Reading stories and even talking allows your baby to experience a simplified source of learning from inside the womb.
Can a Baby Learn in the Womb?
Yes, your baby’s learning begins inside the womb. Every sensation you pass on or even light touches on your bump serve as stimuli for interaction with your little one. From the food you eat to the emotions you experience, every single experience you go through is a shared one with your little one when it is inside your womb.
What Can Your Unborn Learn?
It is found that babies remember sounds and tastes that they have heard and experienced in the womb. Essentially, if you had an affinity to a particular song or program during pregnancy, your baby is very likely to recognise the sound of it after birth. This may also make your baby feel relaxed due to the familiarity. Apart from sounds, your baby will also get accustomed to tastes and learn to like them. If you eat a particular food while pregnant, your baby will also develop a taste for it and prefer it after birth.
How Does Your Baby Learn?
Your baby learns inside your womb in different ways. A few are listed below:
- By Playing Music– If you’re playing music, play light music and not offbeat loud music, since extreme songs or genres may stress out your baby. Set your expectations a little low and focus on enriching the prenatal environment for your little one. Mozart and classical music are considered ideal for stimulating brain development in infants and to be honest; any prenatal music tracks will do.
- Vocal interactions and Emotions– Your foetus will recognise your voice, first and foremost, since you’re the one spending the most amount of time with it. Every word you speak travels through your abdominal passages and reverberates through your amniotic fluids, thus reaching your little one. This comforts the baby, and it is important that you sound sweet, gentle, caring and kind so that it has a fond yet distinctive memory of your voice. Even the emotions you feel are shared with your foetus. When you cry, laugh or feel happy, your baby is introduced to those emotions and how they feel. This translates to the reactions they carry on their faces after childbirth.
- Tastes and Smells – Sounds and light touches aren’t the only things that accompany foetal learning. There are tastes and smells too. Your little one’s sensory buds are fully developed around seven months of gestation with fully functional olfactory receptors to boot. The food pregnant mom eats passes into the amniotic fluid, which is in turn taken in by the foetus. This accustoms them to the flavours and smells of the foods you eat, thus hardwiring dietary preferences early on before birth.
Tips for Teaching Your Baby While It’s In the Womb
Here a couple of tips for accelerating your baby’s learning and sensory development in your womb:
- Storytime habits – We recommend you read out ‘Cat in The Hat’ by Dr Seuss to your little one. Researchers found that regular reading triggered a preference for hearing stories out loud after birth which was demonstrated by babies increasing their sucking speed once they were born.
- Exercise – Love the rush of endorphins during exercise? Well, so does your little one and the effects last for up to 8 hours in the womb. Staying active improves blood circulation around your body and in the womb, thus increasing neuron cell growth in your baby’s hippocampus. This triggers learning and memory development and increases it by 40%.
- Vitamin D – Go outside and get some sunshine! And oh, don’t forget those Vitamin-D rich foods in your diet. Autism and weak bones have been linked to Vitamin D deficiency. If you want your little ones to have strong bones and a healthy heart, then soak up in the sun for 20 minutes a day, at the bare minimum.
- Massaging Your Bump – At around 20 weeks, your baby will be able to feel the sensations of touch and caress on your bump. Stroking your bump gently sends calming signals to your baby’s nervous system, and this is a good time to take advantage of that and help her/him feel loved. Fun fact: Babies can distinguish between their mom’s and dad’s touch!
- Talk To Your Baby – From storytime sessions to narrating calming experiences and fun events, your little one pays attention to every word you send to your womb, especially from the 27th week since their ear-brain connections come in place. Babies even respond to languages and accents in the womb which makes this the perfect time to keep chatting!
- Eat right – Your baby’s taste buds develop from around 12 weeks and culinary preferences by around the 25th week. Whatever morsels you put in your mouth flavours the amniotic fluids in the womb, thus, passing it to them as food. For example, babies of moms who drink carrot juice during their pregnancy show a preference for carrot-based dishes once they’re weaned after birth.
Whether you’re planning to get pregnant or if you’re pregnant already, either way, the best way to enhance your baby’s growth and development is to nurture it from inside the womb. Don’t put pressure, take it one step at a time and go gentle.
Also Read: Talking to Baby in the Womb