Everything I have read indicates that our sweet baby boy, now 22 and a half weeks along, is able to hear what's going on outside the womb at this point, so I have really started talking to him a lot and even singing sometimes. Unfortunately, my singing is atrocious, so I have tried to keep it to a minimum for his sake.
Tonight, I started my own little routine with him by reading him his very first bedtime story. I read him The Going to Bed Book, which was a gift for him from his Aunt Sara, shortly after we announced I was pregnant. I am planning to use that as part of his bedtime routine when he arrives, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to start getting him used to the sound of me reading it. The book rhymes and has a natural rhythm to it, which makes it ideal for soothing little ones to sleep.
I don't really know whether this will make any difference in how well he responds to the bedtime routine, but there is a lot of research out there that indicates that reading to baby in the womb can be very beneficial. Studies have shown that newborn babies respond to familiar books, musics, and sounds that they could only have become familiar with while in utero. In fact, research suggests that newborns can recognize their mother's language and distinguish it from foreign languages just hours after birth.
I love knowing that even now, I can be teaching him something that will make later learning a little easier. It is so amazing to be able to share little things like this with him even before he arrives. Now, I wonder how baby boy will feel about John Grisham.