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As well as feeling overwhelmed, it is common to feel helpless whilst your baby is in neonatal care. These feelings are completely normal, but there are lots of things you can do for your baby.

Reading to your baby is one thing you can do, and is not only good for your baby, but good for you too.

Your baby won't understand everything you're doing and why. But reading to your baby is a great way to bond with them and enhance their development.

Evidence has proven that reading to your baby has lots of benefits; From increased bonding and intimacy to better voice recognition, improved language skills, improved reading skills and improved math skills. It is never too early to start reading to your baby, and it is especially important for your baby whilst they are in the neonatal unit.

Benefits of Reading to Your Baby

  • Hearing your voice can provide comfort to your baby. Studies have shown that reading to your baby in the neonatal unit can improve oxygen saturation, heart rate stability, and respiratory stability. Your baby recognises your voice and will find it comforting.

  • It supports and enhances your baby's brain development.

  • It teaches your baby about communication- your baby will hear you using many different emotions and expressive sounds. This supports social and emotional development.

  • It introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colours, and shapes.

  • It builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills.

  • It gives your baby information about the world around them.

  • It improves language skills by copying sounds, recognising pictures and learning words.

Reading to your baby regularly will help to saturate their brain with new sounds and words so that by around one-year-old they will possess the necessary skills to speak their native language. Reading different books will allow your baby to hear new words and enhance their language skills. Children who are read to often generally learn to speak, read, and write sooner than children who are not read to often.​

The books you read to your baby now will hold a special place in your baby's memory. Your baby will learn to associate these books with comfort and love, and you will be able to read them as they grow to bring back these feelings for both of you.

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