Music & Baby’s Health
December 12, 2008 by SmarterBaby
Infants can recognize music, noise and sounds at a very early age, and introducing them to different types of music offers several health and developmental benefits. Soothing music can relax babies and make them more comfortable with their environment, and different musical notes and tunes can also develop auditory system and hearing skills.
Significance: Infants can process music as early as the last few months in the womb, and they will respond to different types of sounds by the age of 6 months. Introducing babies to different types of music from birth to 6 months of age allows them to develop their listening and attention skills, and they will learn to differentiate between songs and voices.
Function: Babies feel more secure when they hear lullabies and slow-paced music with a steady beat at regular intervals throughout the day. Any music with a light tempo and rhythm can help the baby settle down when stressed, reduce anxiety and encourage a happy and positive mood. Even though babies respond to various types of music in different ways, the most soothing sound a baby can hear is that of a human voice—preferably the parent’s.
Types: The most beneficial types of music for baby include classical music to improve focus and concentration; rhythmic music to reduce anxiety, tension and stress; soothing lullabies and melodies to encourage sleep and relaxation; and upbeat, light-hearted and fun music to encourage positive emotions. Regular exposure to certain types of music can teach infants to differentiate between different sounds and stimulate their senses.
Benefits: Music can be used to change moods, encourage babies to go to sleep and help with overall health and well-being. It may also play an important role in developing neural pathways that promote intelligence, creativity and cultivate natural curiosity. Babies may be more likely to engage in singing, dancing and moving to music in their toddler years if they were introduced to a variety of stimulating music and activities at an early age. Rocking babies to the rhythm of the music or moving their hands and feet to the beat of different types of music can also improve their motor skills and muscle coordination during later stages of development.
Considerations: Premature babies may be easily over-stimulated by certain noises and sounds, so parents may need to start with very soothing, low-volume music and build the tolerance level of the child over time. Relaxing music such as lullaby tunes and soothing, meditative music can slow down the baby’s heartbeat and encourage a relaxation response. Fast, loud and intense music can provoke anxiety and feelings of fear, and may be too much for your baby to process.