Language acquisition begins in the womb and this is called prenatal language. Foetuses are able to memorise sounds from the external world. In the womb, a mothers voice is one of the most prominent sounds they will hear. By the time they are born, they can tell the difference between approximately 800 sounds.
Learning begins before birth and everything that is happening on the outside is transmitted to the inside. Foetuses can hear from approximately 16-18 weeks so why not start singing lullabies? At about 24 weeks, your baby will start to respond to what you are singing or reading to them by moving around. Remember, your baby will find your voice calming and soothing.
Research has shown that lots of communication skills such as sucking, touch, movement, listening and more are practiced and acquired in the womb.
Babies in the womb can recognise pieces of music and passages read to them. Try listening to a wide variety of genres of music to see whether your growing baby has a preference.
It is important that we encourage this language acquisition by talking to our bumps on a regular basis. This will also help us get used to narrating our days and making sure our babies, when they arrive are surrounded by lots of language. Talking to your bump is also a great way to strengthen the bond. If you struggle to talk to your bump, try to get into a habit of saying good morning and good night to your bump and building the language up from there.
If you are stuck for something to say, try reading a passage from a newspaper article or paragraph from a book you are reading.
You can also get the father of the baby involved and other family members to help their relationship to begin forming with the baby.
The conversations you have with your unborn baby are laying the foundations for language development, memory and social and emotional development.