Womb to World
By Meg Faure
The womb is the optimal place for the development of the human baby from every perspective. Nutrition is delivered directly to your baby in perfect doses and your body controls all physiological needs too. But on a sensory level the womb world is also perfect:
- Touch – the temperature is always perfect and the deep pressure of the womb walls hugs your baby.
- Movement – the lulling movement of your body plus the swishing of the amniotic fluid calm your baby while providing appropriate vestibular stimulation.
- Sounds – the womb is filled with the background noise of your heartbeat, the pulsing of the blood through your veins and the gushing and gurgling of your stomach. This calming background noise is white noise.
- Sight – the womb is a darkened space and your baby’s eyes see only muted light and dark shadows.
- Smell and taste – your baby experiences a variety of flavours and smells according to what you eat. The smell and taste of amniotic fluid is a familiar one for your baby.
It is from this calming environment that your baby emerges; less mature than almost any other mammal. In young babies, the process of filtering out unnecessary or excessive sensory input is not yet mature. This means that your newborn may be easily over stimulated. To limit overstimulation and to ensure a smooth transition to the world, mimic the calming sensory world of the womb:
Touch – Your baby’s sense of touch can be used to calm her by mimicking the touch of the womb world.
- In the world of the womb your baby used sucking to self-calm. From the youngest age try to give your baby the opportunity to enjoy non- nutritive sucking on her hands, thumb or a dummy. If she is battling with keeping her hand to her mouth, a dummy is a good choice for a sucking tool.
- Swaddling (tight wrapping in a stretchy blanket) has been proven to calm young babies significantly and help them sleep well.
- Baby massage is a fantastic tool for calming a baby and has all day calming benefits.
Movement – Movement is lulling for your baby – it mimics the womb environment she came from and soothes her very effectively
- Wear your baby in a sling from early on. When she is fussing and a little irritable in the first 12 weeks, there is no better way to calm her.
Sounds – Sounds similar to those found in utero are very calming for your baby.
- White noise and soft background sounds, such as the sounds of waves or radio static absorbs other sounds and calms babies.
- Lullabies and nature music help with calming and sleep.
Sight – The muted sights of the womb work well for calming
- Avoid bright lights and brightly coloured environments in the early days
- Do not have a mobile over the cot, keep this space for sleeping and place the mobile over the changing mat.
Taste & Smell – The muted and familiar tastes and smells of the womb are preferable to strong pungent odours.
- Do not wear perfume in the first 3 to 6 months so that your baby can be calmed by your ‘mommy’ smell.
- Use fragrance free baby cosmetics and detergents.
- Do not wash your baby immediately after birth so that she can self-calm by sucking on hands that taste of the familiar womb world.
The transition from calm womb to busy world is one that can be disruptive for babies and parents. By following Babysense Secret principles for a calm baby and bearing in mind the sensory world, the early stage of mothering will be a happy one with memories of happiness and new experiences.