If you are a soon-to-be parent, you are probably wondering, “When should I start reading to my unborn baby?”
Most people know that reading to a child at a young age has tons of benefits. It offers a great bonding opportunity and helps with the child’s brain development.
Will reading provide the same benefits to a baby that is still in the womb? If so, when should you start doing it?
Before we answer these questions, it is essential to understand when an unborn baby starts to hear sounds. We will also discuss helpful online reading resources like ReadingHead Start.
When Can an Unborn Baby Start To Hear Sounds?
Most mothers-to-be speak, sing lullabies, or read stories to the baby in their wombs. However, when can the baby start to really hear the sounds?
In the fourth and fifth weeks, the baby’s brain and facial features begin to develop. At the ninth week or so, indentations will start to appear at the side of the baby’s neck. These indentations will eventually move up and become the baby’s ears.
At the 18th week of pregnancy, these little ears will start to recognize sounds, but the baby’s hearing is limited at this point.
It will only hear sounds from inside the mother’s body, like the mother’s heartbeat or growling stomach. As the weeks pass, the baby’s ears will become more sensitive.
By the 25th week, it will start to respond to sounds from outside the womb, like the mother’s voice. The sounds are muted by half because there is no open-air in the uterus. Still, the baby can hear the mother’s voice at this point.
By the third trimester, the baby will be able to recognize the mother’s voice and tell it apart from other sounds.
When Should I Start Reading To My Unborn Baby?
It is never too early to start reading to the baby growing in your womb. After all, they can start to hear sounds as soon as the 18th week. Your unborn baby won’t be able to understand what you are saying, though.
Still, studies have shown that reading to your baby while still in the womb enhances brain activity and promotes language development. Also, if it helps you relax, it will benefit your little one. Pregnancy can be stressful at times, and an expectant mother needs to find ways to reduce anxiety.
By the 25th week, your baby’s primary connection to you and the outside world will be through sounds. It will be an excellent time to start reading to your baby too. At this point, your baby will be able to recognize sounds that they hear repeatedly.
There is no single answer to the question, “When should I start reading to my unborn baby?” Just make sure that you don’t start doing it later than the 25th week when the baby’s hearing is close to optimum.
What Are the Benefits of Reading To My Unborn Baby?
As mentioned, reading to your baby in your womb comes with a long list of benefits. Let us take a closer look at the most important ones.
Helps the Soon-to-Be Mother Relax
Pregnancy signals a time when your body and your life are changing in significant ways. It brings much discomfort, including constipation, morning sickness, and back pains. It also presents the future responsibility of raising a child.
Mood swings due to changes in hormones can make things worse. To some pregnant women, these factors can lead to a lot of stress.
Too much stress can lead to high blood pressure and increase the chances of premature birth. It also leads to other problems like low birth weight.
The good news is that simple things like reading could really help. Reading is a relaxing activity that can reduce the stress levels of a soon-to-be mom. The more relaxed you are, the better it will be for your unborn baby.
Reduces Stress for the Baby
Pregnancy can be stressful for babies, too, especially if the mother is under a lot of pressure. Fortunately, a mother’s voice can have a soothing effect on an unborn baby. It is evident in the way that a baby’s heartbeat slows down when the mother reads to it.
Babies find pleasing sounds comforting, especially if they hear them often. This is not limited to the sound of a mother’s voice.
Music and other pleasant sounds can have a similar effect. Even better, these familiar sounds will continue to give the baby comfort once it is born.
Great Way To Bond
Reading is an experience that is never too early to share with your child. It will make your journey to motherhood not only more bearable but more memorable as well. You will get to feel your baby respond to your voice by kicking or moving in your womb.
On the other hand, your baby will recognize your voice and find comfort in it even after birth. You can even ask your partner and other family members to join in and share the experience.
Helps With the Baby’s Brain Development
In the study mentioned previously, scientists proved that exposure to sound helps with brain development. Specifically, it helps establish the connection between different sets of neurons or the nerve cells of the baby’s brain. The results suggest that language learning begins early, even while the baby is still in the womb.
What Books Should I Read?
An unborn baby won’t be able to understand the words, so any book will do. What’s more important is that it is something that you enjoy and helps you relax.
You can read novels, eBooks, or whatever is available to you. You could also start investing in children’s books that your child might enjoy once they learn to read.
How Should I Read To My Unborn Baby?
Since your baby won’t understand the words, you do not have to focus on enunciation. Instead, pay close attention to the tone of your voice. More importantly, you should simply enjoy the experience.
Repetition helps build language skills, so you might want to read the same materials. If you have other kids, you can let them read aloud to your unborn baby too. This will give them a chance to bond and build a relationship even before the baby is born.
How Can Reading Head Start Help?
While reading to your unborn baby is important and effective, you might need additional resources as your child grows. The ReadingHeadstart.com program is a great option. It uses a proven method to teach children aged two to 14 to read and learn new words.
What sets it apart from other reading programs is that it can motivate kids regardless of their interests. Teachers and parents alike find it very effective. It can help your child discover the wonderful world of reading and keep them excited about it.
Building a Strong Bond Early
Reading is a great experience that a parent and a child can share. You can start even before the baby is born and continue for years to come. It offers many advantages and opens up many possibilities not only for your baby but also for yourself.
Fortunately, you can find lots of books to read and helpful resources like ReadingHeadstart.