Why it's never too early to share stories with your baby

It’s never too early to start sharing stories, songs and rhymes with your baby – you can even start before they’re born. Your baby can hear from around 22 weeks of pregnancy, so they are listening when you speak or sing. And although you might feel a bit silly doing it, there is lots of research to support the benefits of talking and singing to your baby in the womb.

What should I read?

Baby books are often quite simple and have only one or two words per page, so although they’re great to share with newborn babies, you might prefer to read a longer story at first. Rhyming sounds are easiest for babies to hear before birth, so choose a longer, rhyming story that will keep you engaged. A nice idea is to start with a picture book that you want to read with baby after they’re born. The most important thing is to choose something you will enjoy reading yourself; it’s the perfect reason to take a few minutes to put your feet up and relax. 

When you sing, rhyme or read to your baby, it helps them learn your voice. 

How does it help your baby?

When you sing, rhyme or read to your baby, it helps them learn your voice. Once they’re born, hearing a voice they know and remember can soothe your baby and help them feel reassured. You might even notice that they respond best to songs, rhymes and stories you shared before birth and are more easily calmed by these sounds. Babies can remember songs and rhymes they hear before birth and these are naturally the ones they prefer.

Babies in the womb respond best to rhyme and rhythmic sounds. These are the sounds that are easiest for babies to hear. Babies learn language through hearing it and starting early with songs and rhymes is a great way to bond but also help your baby learn. Even before birth, your baby is starting to use your speech, sound and rhythm to help them build the skills they will need to communicate.

Babies also love hearing the voices of their family and friends. Talking, reading, singing or rhyming with babies is a great way to build relationships, develop language and give your child a love of books and reading that will stay with them for their whole life. The great news is you don’t have to wait until the baby is born – you can start before birth as soon as you’re ready.

 

Find out more about sharing books and songs with your baby before they're born on our website. You can also watch a lovely film of a mum-to-be sharing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star with her baby bump.

Need some inspiration for books to read with your baby either pre-birth or post-birth? Check out our book lists for children and this month's Bookbug Book of the Month.