Are You Listening? Your Newborn Is!
When music is turned on, people of all ages react. Babies move, young people dance, and the elderly sway and smile. Whatever the age and whatever the culture, music has appeal. Engaging, educational, and entertaining, the power of this medium has long been noted. From the use of Music Therapy to the Mozart effect, music has been proven to be a powerful force.
Did you know your baby could hear sounds and music even before they were born? Research shows that the fetus in the womb is able to hear sounds a mere 20 weeks following conception. New research from England reveals that for up to one year after being born, babies remember and even prefer music that they heard in utero.
Now that your baby is here, it's a great time to continue to use music as part of their daily life.
- Music can soothe and calm. Your little baby may be laid back one minute and irritable the next. What can you do? In addition to remaining calm and trying to problem solve (are they hungry? need a diaper change? tired?), music provides you another “trick up your sleeve” to calm a fussy baby. Whether it's singing or playing music – whether classical, world music, or your favorite jazz – music can provide an engagement for your baby that may calm and comfort.
- Singing provides a great way to make transitions for baby. Patterns in rhythm and melodies compliment the rhythms in our lives. A new baby may not enjoy the sensation of getting a diaper changed or a sponge bath. Consider using a special song (i.e. You Are My Sunshine) to use during times when you are caring for your baby. It's not only a great distraction; it provides a great way to interact with your child. If you are thinking, “I can't carry a tune,” your baby doesn't care! What your baby does care about is the sound of your voice. Whether you sing on pitch (or not) or have to make up the words to a tune, singing is a great way to engage your baby, anytime and all the time.
- If you are feeling creative (or just silly from lack of sleep), try “piggy-backing” with familiar tunes. This means you may make up silly songs to tunes you know. Songs may be about things that are going on or places you are traveling to. An example is using the tune of Loop De Loo, but making your own words such as “here we go to grandma's house, here we go to grandma's house; here we go to grandma's house; on a beautiful day!” Children are naturally engaged by songs and voices. Even if they don't totally understand the content of your song, it may be just the right mechanism to prepare them for an outing or new venture.
Explore the possibilities.
Music in your baby's life: reflect, rejoice, and watch the response of your newborn.
Most of all, enjoy.