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It's never too early to 'bond with your bump'

Massaging your bump, talking to your baby and listening to music all help to develop a connection
An expert has said that "bonding with your bump" before birth can help the transition from being a woman to becoming a mother.

Writing in the Daily Mirror, Dr Miriam Stoppard added that it can help the development of the baby.

She said: "Even before birth, your baby needs love in the way [he or] she needs essential vitamins. You can't start expressing love too early."

When you feel love, Dr Stoppard says, your brain produces a hormone called oxytocin, which changes the way your baby's brain grows.

"Bonding with your bump can help hardwire your baby's brain to respond to distress with self-comforting and self-quieting techniques - a very positive skill to encourage," writes Dr Stoppard.

She identified three ways of doing this – a soothing massage, talking to your baby and listening to music during pregnancy.

Massaging calms your nervous system, which in turn communicates with the baby's nervous system, soothing the foetus through touch. Massaging also helps the baby's immune system, as research shows that it helps the baby develop antibodies needed to fight range of diseases.

Talking to your baby is another way you can strike up a connection with him or her.

"Hearing is one of the first senses to develop and your baby can hear from about 16 weeks after conception. By 27 weeks, all the connections from ear to brain are in place and he [or she] can actually recognise your voice. By six months the womb is buzzing with sounds but your baby can isolate your voice from all other sounds," writes Dr Stoppard.

Meanwhile, listening to music not only helps you relax, it also calms your baby.

"That way your baby remembers and relives all those good feelings associated with the music each time he hears it. It's especially calming in those chaotic weeks after birth, when he [or she] recreates for himself [or herself] the reassuring feelings sparked by the music in the womb," says Dr Stoppard.

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