This week we are happy to be part of a beautiful tradition “THE BABY SHOWER”. A few of our Mommy friends are having their second and third babies and we are delighted to be joining in the celebration. This got us thinking about the importance of prenatal music and during child birth.
Singing to our babies when inside the womb has been something Mattie and I have been doing since our first pregnancies. Since we constantly are teaching and performing, our babies had no choice than to listen to our voices, guitars and pianos jamming on a daily basis. The good news is that music is a great way to create that initial bond with your baby and we promise you do not need to be a musician to do this!
The singing voice has a richer frequency than speech. There was a time when speech was song and it suggests that singing is the older form of communication.
A mother’s voice appears very distinct among the uterine sounds and baby gives special attention because it is so different from its own amniotic environment. This is when bonding begins!
Even though their is no conclusive evidence about the benefits of prenatal music, researchers have discovered that newborns become calmer when exposed to intrauterine sound. Playing the soothing sounds of the ocean and water are probably reminiscent of the fluid environment in which we began life.
How do I play music and how loud?
The ear first appears in the 3rd week of gestation and it becomes functional by the 16th week. The fetus begins active listening by the 24th week. You can begin to stimulate neural connections in your baby’s prenatal brain. That enhancement lasts for the rest of your child’s life!
Your best option is to play music on the stereo as you go about your day. It’s not a good idea to use headphones on your belly. The music is up close and may overstimulate the baby. It does not need to be loud! Amniotic fluid is actually a good conductor of sound. Keep the volume on your stereo no higher than 65 decibels (dB) – about as loud as background music at the store.
Choose music that you enjoy, this will make you relax and feel happy and in turn your baby will feel the same. Soothing sounds such as nature and ocean waves are a good choice. There are also many prenatal music CD’s with Sounds from the Womb. These resemble the sound of your beating heart and some simple harmonious melodies accompanying it. They are soothing and familiar to baby. Just remember play music because you enjoy it, not because you’re trying to make your unborn baby smarter! Music can help you relax, fall asleep, or give you a boost of energy when you are feeling a pregnancy low!
“Music sets up a certain vibration which unquestionably results in a physical reaction.” -George Gershwin
•Music in the Delivery Room
By forming prenatal memories, music provides comfort and reassurance as your baby faces the most stressful time of a human’s life…the birthing process and the weeks following birth. There is a close connection between the emotional well-being of the mother and that of the child she carries. Music played during childbirth can relieve expectant mothers’ anxiety, help release endorphins and reduce the need for anesthesia. It is also soothing to your baby as the sounds he/she have been listening to for the last 9 months are still comforting them on this strange journey into this world!
Mattie and I always gift birthing music at baby showers along with our favorite bubbles for some fun times to come ( see our post about THE BEST BUBBLES). Mattie, being a Certified Music Therapist, is keen on enforcing the importance of music for the wellbeing of every child, woman and man. Many of our mommy friends have confessed to us that using the music in the delivery room helped them stay calm, take a little snooze between contractions and after baby came home they continued to use the same music in the nursery to sooth baby to sleep.
Lullabies have a proven track record for soothing infants. Some babies relax to a sound track of recorded music as a way to sooth and comfort back to sleep. Mattie always has music playing in her children’s rooms at bedtime. Me, on the other hand, experienced that my children would fight sleep with music playing in the background. I chose instead to sing a slow and gentle lullaby. This did the trick every time! Human voices, especially Mom’s and Dad’s, are a baby’s favorite “music.”
Whatever works for your baby is the right thing for you! There is no secret formula with music. It will not make your baby a musical genius, but it will connect you deeply and help release tension during those long sleepless nights.