In my previous article, I reviewed the hearing abilities of unborn babies and how hearing impacts brain growth. I also outlined measures that can be taken to protect unborn babies’ hearing. Besides protective measures, mothers can utilize music safely to promote wellness for themselves and their babies. Here are a few ideas that you can start implementing now:

Music Routine: A music routine during pregnancy serves to provide daily structure, promote prenatal bonding, and equip you, the mother, with resources for postnatal bonding. Daily structure can include singing a good morning song and a goodnight song for your baby. This activity can start prenatally and then continue postnatally. Unborn babies begin remembering at 30 weeks gestational age. Therefore, the music used daily during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy can be recognized by your baby after birth. This practice also promotes consistency for you and your baby’s postnatal life.

Playlists: Compiling individualized playlists create a more intentional experience rather than listening to the radio or playlists of randomly streamed jams. You can create playlists to elevate mood, relax, and accompany activities of daily living. Playlists to elevate mood can match your current state and then include songs that you find uplifting, upbeat, and promote messages that you want to believe. Playlists to relax can begin with an upbeat song to match you current state and then gradually include slower songs to help you relax. The last playlist to accompany activities of daily living can include songs tailored to the kind of “feel” you want to have when you cook, exercise, or drive, for example. These songs can be upbeat or slower depending on how you want to feel. These songs can have positive messages that are fun, inspirational, motivational, or hopeful.

Infant-Directed Singing: Your baby loves your voice! Research studies indicate that babies in the womb respond to their mother’s voice and after birth infants are more interested in their mother’s singing than a strangers. You can sing play songs or lullabies which are often children’s songs. Children’s songs are simple enough for the infant’s brain to engage with and musically understand. The practice of infant-directed singing not only decreases maternal stress and promotes your baby’s brain growth, but also supports the development of infant behaviors such as attention, socialization, and self-regulation. Infant-directed singing can take place after activities and before nap time to promote quiet sleep. To learn more about infant-directed singing check out my video on Facebook.com/MusicTherapyforMom.

These music experiences are not only pleasurable, but can also promote your baby’s development and your mental and emotional health. Please, share this information with other mothers and healthcare professionals, and like the Facebook page (Facebook.com/MusicTherapyforMom) for the videos! Next articles coming up will discuss music and mindfulness and how music therapy can help after the NICU.

References

de l’Etoile, S. K. (2012). Responses to infant-directed singing in infants of mothers with depressive symptoms. Arts in Psychotherapy, 39(5), 353-366. DOI: 10.1016/j.aip.2012.05.003

Federico, G. F. (2016). A Musical Journey through Pregnancy: Prenatal Music Therapy. Tenerife, Spain: Editorial OB STARE.

Ferrari, G. A., Nicolini, Y., Demuru, E., Toscato, C., Hussain, M., Scesa, E., Romei, L., Boerci, M., Lappini, E., Dalla Rosa Prati, G., Palagi, E., & Ferrari, P. F. (2016). Ultrasonographic investigation of human fetus responses to maternal communicative and non-communicative Stimuli. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(354). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00354

Persico, G., Antolini, L., Vergani, P., Costantini, W., Nardi, M. T., Belloti, L. (2017). Maternal singing of lullabies during pregnancy and after birth: Effects on mother-infant bonding and on newborn’s behavior. Concurrent cohort study. Women and Birth, 30(4), 214-220. DOI: 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.01.007