Did you know that...
Babies can hear their parents' voices from 16 weeks old in utero?
One of the main reasons mothers say they don't sing to their babies, is that they don't think they are good enough. The truth is that your baby doesn't care at all if you are a good singer or not!
Scientific studies have shown that premature babies respond to their parents' singing more than their spoken voices - and that both are better than recorded music.
Singing and motherese (the sing-song way we naturally find ourselves speaking to babies), helps babies hear the differences in different speech sounds.
Children who miss out on high levels of this motherese or song have been found to have delays in speech development.
Babies have a physiological response to a parent's singing and it is different to the response to speaking. Many research projects have found that singing to a baby creates a bond and appears to impact on the emotional states of both the parent and the baby. The time when the baby and parent's moods and levels of arousal are most in sync is when the parent is singing a lullaby. (Cirelli, Jerewicz and Trehub (2017) Behavioural and physiological responses to maternal lullabies and play songs).
When a baby is born, it hears all the noise around it as one sound. Its strongest sense is hearing. With time they work out the direction of sound and also whether it is familiar or not. Once they can recognise a sound as speech, they start babbling to explore the different consonants, vowels, breaks, rhythms and melodies in speech. Singing lullabies helps them enormously with this process.
Singing lullabies has been found to have a positive impact on women suffering from post natal depression (Reilly, Turner, Taouk and Austin, 2018) and mothers of premature babies.
Archives of Women's Mental Health (2019) 22:123–127
‘Singing with your baby’: an evaluation of group singing sessions for women admitted to a specialist mother-baby unit
A controlled study of 35 premature infants (less than 32 weeks) found that singing lullabies live to the babies resulted in lower heart rates and deeper sleep than playing recorded lullabies.
Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 2014
Vol. 23, No. 1, 71–88,
Controlled trial of live versus recorded lullabies in preterm infants
Rasa Garunkstienea,b*, Jurate Buinauskienea, Ingrida Ulozienec and Egle Markunienea