There are lots of things that can hinder a child from having peaceful rest such as teething, reflux, autism etc. But a simple remedy to this is through music. Like we all know music is a sound that is pleasant to the ear.
For infants, sleep is a fundamental aspect for development. Babies have to sleep so much because it helps their brains and body to grow rapidly(quickly).
Music also plays an important role in the development of your baby, by achieving restful sleep and a happy mood.
The auditory cortex located in the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex is one of the first portions of the human brain to develop in utero- (uterus). Around 16─18 weeks into pregnancy, the little one hears it’s very first sound.
The ear begins to form by the 24th week and the child can recognize the voice of his mother. Hence, the hearing of sound becomes a very relevant way for you to stimulate and have a bond with your child.
You know how you feel when you listen to your favorite song right? In the same way, a baby is wired to respond to music. it helps ease them into a state of relaxation through the release of endorphins.
To easily explain this, Endorphins are natural chemicals produced within the brain and the nervous system to relieve pain or reduce emotional stress. Music helps to relieve stress.
What is a lullaby?
A lullaby is a quiet, gentle song, intended to lure a child to sleep. A lullaby is different from other types of music like hip-hop, jazz, macosa, juju etc.
According to Wikipedia, the term lullaby is derived from the Middle English lullen “to lull” and by [e] (in the sense of “near”).
The English word “lullaby” is thought to come from the “lala”, or “lulu” sounds made by mothers or nurses to calm children. History has it that Lullabies are as ancient as mum’s singing to babies.
Lullabies or cradle songs are simple, repetitious, harmonic songs. They often have slow tempos (beats) and are lyrically short. They are similar to ballads.
Infants prefer higher pitched voices and higher pitched singing as compared to lower pitches. It is not with a high beat like hip pop, instead it is slow and quiet.
Singing, humming, cuddling, patting a baby’s back, swinging and rocking babies in rhythmical pattern puts babies to rest easily. It helps to nurture and influence babies sleeping pattern.
This is because babies/ humans are musically inborn, i.e., it is innate. Music is vital for human’s physiology development. It stimulates the brain to a large degree. Also, Studies have shown that music helps to distract the brain from responding to pain.
Music during pregnancy does have a long-term effect on an unborn baby’s brain. Studies have shown that babies in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) who are sang to, tend to recover faster and better than those who aren’t sang to.
In other words, they have shorter time of hospitalization. This is a direct causative of better sleep and feeding. Lullabies helps draws the child to a relaxed state, hence- to sleep.
This is through Music, which inspires emotions. Playing music while your baby falls asleep is not harmful and is unlikely to be a major problem except when the child becomes too dependent on it for sleep.
And no mother would want that right? So, it’s important the music is left for a moderate period of time, and when the child falls asleep, it could be put off, so the child does not get used to it.
You might be too tired to sing from the stress of a day’s work or bothered about how you sound especially in maintaining a key while singing. You don’t have to be worried, because if you can’t sing, there are lots of available materials online and in hard copy to use to put your baby to bed or sleep.
Depending on what works for you, it is far more preferable to sing than playing an audio lullaby for your baby. This is because, it is important to note that babies recognize a mother’s voice than her face. Don’t overlook the importance of singing just because we are living in the 21st century.
Remember that your baby is used to hearing your voice, from his conception in the womb. To him, your voice is the most melodic, soothing, and comforting sound that is known to him.
Most of all, the voice will be familiar and creates a sense of security around that child. It is also a bonding time to express love towards young one. That is what music can do between a mother and a child.
So, singing out loud to your baby is much more effective and preferable than listening to a recording such as a CD, DVD or YouTube of other people singing. That way you can regulate or adjust the pattern or rhythm of the music to attune to the baby’s emotions.
Benefits of Lullabies
Let’s enlighten ourselves with a few benefits of Music and lullabies.
- Music helps a child’s literacy skills: This works by improving vocabulary and introduce and have knowledge of new words.
- Cognitive ability: Singing can help your baby to develop skills in paying attention for longer periods of time and sustaining their concentration.
- Researchers in neuroscience and psychology has shown the effect of singing on new babies. Is so strong that singing is known to improve the heart rate, respiratory rate, sleep, feeding patterns and weight gain of premature babies.
- Nurturing Bond: Singing involves touching and maintaining eye contact. This strengthen focus and the relationship between the parent and the child. Parents who sing have more pleasant times with their kids and are able to have more effectively communication with them.
- Lullabies helps to soothe a baby when they are upset, and to provide comfort when they are afraid or stressed. Through the release of endorphins. It also brightens the baby’s mood. I will use myself as an example, my niece was crying but when a song was played, she stopped crying immediately and tune to a happy mood. That is the power of music, it softens the heart most especially that of a child.
Some popular songs include- twinkle twinkle Little Star, cradle song, bush baby hush, etc. Remember that the baby has a faster ability to remember sounds; how about you sing your special song to your precious one today!