Milestones & Key facts


Babies learn to recognise and remember their mother’s voice during pregnancy – hearing and feeling the vibrations.


By 20th week of gestation a baby’s ears are fully developed – and their hearing system a month later.


Between 26 and 30 weeks most babies start to respond to external noise


Third trimester ‘chats’ with your unborn baby can help form foundations for your child’s communication skills, studies have shown.


Babies need adults to nurture and support their development during pregnancy and beyond birth.

Communication is one of the skills you can help your baby to develop. Encouraging communication with your baby shapes how their brain develops. This is as true before they’re born as when they arrive. Your baby can hear you from at least 16 weeks, and perhaps earlier. During pregnancy it is important to communicate and form a relationship with your baby by talking to your bump.

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There is lots of helpful information to support you with talking to your bump during pregnancy.

  • Take time out to relax

Taking time out as part of your daily routine to think about and bond with your unborn baby is known to release oxytocin, a hormone which can help your baby’s brain to develop.

  • Responding to your bump

You can do this by:

  • Stroking your bump or gently massaging your bump
  • Talking to your baby
  • Noticing and responding to movements
  • Having a bath
  • Trying pregnancy yoga
  • Practising hypnobirthing
  • Playing music to your baby (please do not place headphones on your bump as it is too loud for baby)
  • Writing a letter to your baby and reading it out loud
  • Using an app to help you understand how your baby is growing and developing, such as the Baby Buddy App.

This helps your baby:

To get to know voices, which will help them feel safe and secure; tune up their hearing and get ready for when they will eventually talk.

It will also help them to manage their feelings and have safe and healthy relationships in the future.

  • Involve your partner/family/other children

Babies hear their mother’s voices most clearly, but other people in the family can talk and sing to them as well – your baby will love to hear from others too.

Help & support

Your health visitor can provide a great deal of support and is a good person to sense check things with in the first instance. Children’s speech, language and communication development also benefits from interacting and playing with others their own age, so we highly recommend inducting in playgroups and activity sessions designed to enhance child development.

Child Reading
General training


Discover our range of free online language resources offering tips you can easily apply with your child at home.

Child outdoors playing


Advance your speech, language and communication understanding using our training resources.