Dubai - In fact, infants recognise the melody of a song long before they understand the words
Studies have shown that babies begin to respond to sound at 18 to 20 weeks - from the mother's heartbeat to intestines gurgling and singing. This is why babies recognise their mother's voice before they do anybody else's. In fact, infants recognise the melody of a song long before they understand the words. They often try to mimic sounds and start moving to the music as soon as they are physically able.
Keeping in mind this great potential, Aster Hospital at Mankhool, Dubai, recently organised the first 'Aster Melodia' session aimed at introducing mothers and expectant mothers to the tools and techniques for bonding with their babies through music.
"Through the pre-natal session, we sing to harmonious music that calms and relaxes the mother and helps her connect with the baby. We also get the fathers-to-be to hold the belly of the mum-to-be and feel the baby's movements. This helps to form a bond between the parents and the child," said Dr Ashima Kakar, assistant manager for the event organised by Aster Nurture.
Close to 100 parents took part in the singing sessions, dancing and interactive activities, where they learnt about how can they use music to connect with their babies in a special way, encouraging cognitive development as well as to soothe and calm their babies.
"Music activates both sides of the brain and involves the activation of three biological systems: The endocrine system, the immune system and the nervous system. The positive effect of music on babies and children is therefore diverse, encouraging development in both the mental and physical spheres. Playing music for a baby can activate the neural pathways responsible for many skills and boosting creativity, memory, language as well as emotional skills," said Dr Kakar.
During the Aster Melodia session, mothers were encouraged to hold their children (depending on the age of the child) and sway with them to the music. Different props such as ropes (to teach rowing), rattles and drums, and bouncy balls were used during the session as these are said to enhance motor skills and help children associate the movements with music.
Mothers/mums-to-be were taught simple, short songs and lullabies that can be sung to infants in a soft voice. Making up one or two lines about bathing, dressing, or eating to sing to them while carrying out these activities are said to be beneficial.
They were also taught some useful tips such as how soft background music can be soothing for infants, especially at sleep time; and loud background music may overstimulate an infant by raising the noise level of the room.