Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Science of Lullabies

In 1962, Dr.Lee Salk demonstrated that the fetus is aware of the mother's heartbeat. Today embryologists agree that the ear is the first organ to develop in embryo, that it becomes functional after only eighteen weeks, and that it listens actively from twenty four weeks on. In The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, Dr. Thomas Verny tells the story of Boris Brott, conductor of the Himilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Ontario. Over the years, Brott was puzzled at how he could play some music by ear, while he had to labor to master most pieces. He later learned from his mother that she had played the selections that came to him effortlessly while pregnant. In his book, Verny also cites recent scientific experiments showing that fetuses preferred Mozart and Vivaldi to other composers in early as well as later stages of pregnancy. Fetal heart rates invariably steadied and kicking declined, while other music, especially rock, "drove most fetuses to distraction", and they "kicked violently" when it was played to their pregnant mothers.
The evidence is mounting that babies - before and after they are born - are as responsive to music as the most avid concertgoers. In a study in the mid-1980s, psychologists at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that playing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" - a tune that inspired Mozart to create a set of variations - and "Hickory, Dickory, Dock" on a Sony Walkman helped hospitalized babies keep from kicking and yowling. And Philips Records recently released an album, Mozart of Mothers-to-Be, citing pre- and postnatal studies showing that mothers, as well as babies, respond positively to this music.
(According to legend, Mozart held the hand of his wife, Constanza, during the delivery of one of their children while humming and composing with the other).

Speaking, reading, and singing to baby before birth enhances its ability to distinguish among sounds after birth. This is known as "auditory tracking". Although that may sound like science fiction, the fetus really does begin to hear sounds from the outside world between the third and fourth months of development. Years later, childrean have been known to recognize songs, lullabies, and even classical music that had been played to them while they were still *in utero.
Here are several suggestions.
Read to your baby in the womb, and have your partner do the same. Classics like *The Little Prince and *Winnie the Pooh are recommended. It's better not to read stories with scary images; your child will have plenty of experience with them after he or she has been born.
Make up songs with lyrics like "Hello, baby, this is dad. We'll be welcoming you soon", or "Hello, baby, this is mom, loving you with song". Don't be self-conscious; it will be quite a few more years before your child has the capacity to be judgmental.
After birth, repeat these same songs and stories from time to time to calm the child and reinforce his or her listening ability and neural development.

Don Campbell, the world's foremost educator on the connection between music and healing is the author of remarkable book -
The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit

Read this book, you may never hear music the same way again.

Is it true that music has an impact on an unborn child?
Is it true or not that the fetus hears sounds in the womb?

Perhaps the best suggestion is to simply relax and enjoy music the way you normally do - and chances are your baby will relax along with you.
It is well documented that music is good for everybody -
physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Really good Links:

Dolphins Chillout - (music for babies-pregnancy):
a gently guided pregnancy meditation for deep relaxation
for moms to be and baby in the womb:

Heartstrings: Visualizations for Pregnancy
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