A Better Start Southend
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Did you know that:

  • From 16 weeks or earlier, babies can hear you whilst still in the womb
  • By the 20th week of gestation, your baby’s ears are fully developed and their hearing system a month later.
  • Between 26 and 30 weeks your baby will begin to respond to noises they can hear from outside the womb.
  • In the 6th month of pregnancy, your baby’s brain has developed so that they can begin to remember, experience and learn.

English not your home language?

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Fun Ideas to try with your baby as you Chat, Sing, Play and Read with them
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Babies learn to recognise and remember their mother’s voice during pregnancy by hearing and feeling the vibrations as you talk.

Chatting to your bump can help form foundations for later communication.

Notice how your baby responds to hearing your voice and the voices of those around them. They may become calmer and quieter as they relax in your tummy, listening to your voice.


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Play music to your baby – though don’t place headphones on your bump as it will be too loud for them! Listening to calm and soothing music can help you to feel relaxed and it’s the same for your baby -they will also respond to how you are feeling.

Think about how your baby responds to gentle music. Even theme tunes to television programmes that you enjoy will become familiar to your baby. Are they giving you a little kick to show that they’re listening?! They will be able to respond to melodies around the five to six month stage of pregnancy.

Babies love nursery rhymes and lullabies. Singing to them helps to develop their listening skills. Other people can also sing to your baby but they will recognise and remember your voice best, as you are closest to them.

They will recognise any of the songs you regularly sing following birth, helping them to feel calm and secure.

We have a lovely collection of familiar songs and rhymes from different countries in home languages that you might like to share with your little ones…


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Whilst it may not be actually ‘playing’, touching and rubbing your bump regularly, can help. If you relax and set some time aside each day to do this, your body will release oxytocin (which is a hormone that will help your baby’s brain to develop) and help with bonding.


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Reading to your baby can start even before they are born!

You can read anything to your bump!

Whatever takes your fancy! Your little one will hear the rhythm and tone of your voice helping them to feel calm and secure. This is also a lovely time for your partner or others to read to them too.


Looking for new stories?
Don’t forget to join your local library where you’ll find a limitless selection.

You can also find out when and where the Storyrhymes sessions are on at your local library.


For your nearest library in Southend

If you live in an A Better Start Southend ward, you can access Southend Storysacks where you can borrow free storytelling and activity packs.


Preparing for your baby?

Do contact your midwife or YourFamily about antenatal courses in your area.

Contact YourFamily
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