On Monday, April 15, the New York Time reported on yet another study documenting the benefits of music with preemies in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit). It’s one of those many music healing/music medicine phenomena wherein an ancient practice, known since the beginning of time as lulling or singing softly to your newborn for calming, soothing, and comforting, is studied in modern times and found to be beneficial! And it’s a good thing!
When I started my family back in 1975, I know that I wanted to do everything as naturally as possible. I knew that, as a professional musician and music teacher, that my unborn and newborn baby would be hearing lots of music all day every day. Today, my oldest daughter is a professional music in Boston and hear daughters also hear music, classical music, all day, every day. There is no question that when a baby is growing inside the mother, the baby can hear mother’s heartbeat, digestive sounds, and eventually, her voice. When a mother sings to her unborn baby, that baby begins to asociate her mother’s voice with love, safety, security and protection. This is exactly why I encourage all pregnant women to sing or hum softly to theri unborn child. You never know when baby may decide to come early, for whatever reason, and if mother has been singing all along, those same songs will prove to be a huge asset.
The study reported in the NY Times documents that babies who are sung to by their mothers, gain weight faster, stabilize their body temperature and pulse sooner and are ultimately discharged sooner! At a cost of $15,000 per day in the NICU, mother’s song is a huge bargain! After almost 25 years in the field of Music Medicine, I have worked with lots of mothers who gave birth anywhere from 1-3 months earlier than expected. Many were career women who were still working and planning to read up on childbirth preparation “soon” but had not yet done so. Needless to say, they were all pretty much in a state of shock to find out that they were in labor and that the baby was coming whether they were ready or not. Those that had even thought of some lullabies or simple, melodious songs while pregnant, fared better when trying to sing to their tiny preemies. If only women realized the power of their voices while pregnant, I think more would begin humming or singing as soon as they found out they were pregnant.
In our society, many people have been told that their voices were not pretty enough and that they should just be listeners. Believe me, your own baby will never feel this way! So listen to lots of lullabies while you’re pregnant and start singing or humming along as soon as you feel ready! I have made a lullaby CD that is all piano, but the words are included so that you can sing them in any key you want when you’re alone and be familiar with the tunes and the words. To find more information on that click here: Lullabies for Mother and Baby. Best wishes for a wonderful birth experience with your precious child.
To ready the NY Times article go to Music in the NICU