When to Start Reading to Your Baby


Reading is an important part of your child’s brain development, and it may start much earlier than you realize.

Research suggests that babies begin to absorb language as early as 25-30 weeks gestation. One study found newborns could tell the difference between their mother’s native language and foreign languages just hours after birth.

While dads, siblings and other relatives can talk to a mom’s belly for a bonding experience, the study concluded that outside voices did not have the same impact as the mother’s voice. Headphones over the belly also did not have a significant impact.

A mother’s voice is amplified within her own body, allowing baby to take in the tone and cadence over all the other outside noises.

So how can mom maximize this unique relationship with her unborn baby?

  • Be mindful of your everyday conversation tone. Try to avoid yelling and find another outlet for stress.
  • Narrate your day. Talk through your actions. It may feel silly, but your child doesn’t mind if you are just talking about folding laundry.
  • Sing. You could choose lullabies or your favorite Top 40 song. Your baby will take in the rhythmic sounds either way.
  • Read. Set aside time each day to read out loud. Make it a part of your night time routine, and then let that habit continue once baby is born. Your child’s language skills will be greatly impacted by your efforts.

Check out our review page for book suggestions by local moms!