So finally the moment you are waiting for to share the best kept secret of your first 12 weeks of pregnancy has been let out in the bag. You have passed the first trimester with flying colours despite the outrageous morning sickness you have experienced. You have enjoyed watching the 3D ultrasound of your baby at 16 weeks and while you eagerly await for the big day and you balance the fear and joy you experience all at the same time, you ask yourself a question what is commonly blurted out by other Mom's in the world - how can I help my child inside me become bright and smart? When is the best time to mentally stimulate my child?
Let me tell you this and don't waste time - the answer is NOW! Yes you read it right now.
So what can you do to nurture the mental ability of the baby inside you?
1. Talk and keep talking to your baby
Stupid and weird as it may seem, I encourage you and your partner to constantly talk to your baby. This will help him/her be calmed and assured when he/she gets out of this world. A developing fetus can hiccup and react to loud noises and by the end of the second trimester (6 months), the baby can hear. This intelligent life in the womb can distinguish between the voice of Mom and that of a stranger and respond to a familiar story read to it.
2. Read to your baby
It does not matter if what you are reading is about the week by week development of your pregnancy. You have one avid listener inside you that wants to get involved and is a voracious listener. Of course, you are setting him for life if you also read him/her the fairy tales of long ago and other children's stories. It would not even hurt if you husband or partner decides to read Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Your baby will keep you company for as long as you want to.
One doctor from the US read to his child while inside his wife's tummy the medical books he used to have and not surprisingly, the baby blurted out his first medical terminology work i.e. "patella" also known as the knee cap when he was 2 years old. The child who is now 29 years old ended up a medical practitioner himself.
3. Play the nursery rhymes or classical music
What ever suits you will suit the baby. If you are in the mood to listen to Beethoven's or Mozart or just simply the Jack and Jill went up the hill (www.freeabcsongs.com/jackandjill), share it with your baby. Sound familiarisation will help him in the best of both worlds - in the uterus and outside.
I personally found playing the lullaby song as I rest in the afternoon or slept through the night that this had helped both of my babies (who are now giant babies at 20 and 15) to sleep contentedly with minimal interruptions all throughout the night. Thanks to this, I was never sleep deprived even when they were fed on demand as they slept through to every feed. Somehow they associated the lullaby songs as resting time for them and me.
4. Sing the numbers - count to them
If you are saying this is far too much, think again. The objective is not to reinvent Einstein but simply to introduce your treasured gem to the real world. You will be surprise on how by simply singing 1, 2 Buckle my shoe; 3, 4 Knock on the door (http://kidsmusictown.com/childrenssonglyrics/educational-learning), you are giving your baby a good head start.
As you approach the 38-40 weeks of your pregnancy, and the miracle you have created with your special love one is brought out to this world, observe how alert and responsive your bundle of joy is! This is just the start of the wonderful and rewarding journey of life. You have set the foundation of mental learning from your womb and as you discover the pains and joys of motherhood, he/she will be with you until you let him/her be part of your life. Enjoy and make the most out of the mother-son or mother-daughter relationship!