Okay, okay — this one is common sense to most mothers who have found that softly singing lullabies to their little ones will help reduce their crying, but now science is getting in on the action.
A recent study published in Women and Birth Journal has found that women who sang lullabies to their babies while they were in the womb, as well as after giving birth, had babies who cried for significantly shorter time periods.
The study split 170 pregnant women into two groups — those who were told to sing lullabies to their babies while they were pregnant and immediately after giving birth, and those who did not. Researchers at the University of Milan found that the babies in the group where mothers sang to them cried about 18.5% of the time compared to the group of babies who were not sung to (28.2%).
Additionally, the babies who experienced what the researchers deemed as excessive crying where no health reason was present (colic) but had been prenatally sung to by their mothers, still tended to cry for approximately quarter of the time compared to their non-sung-to counterparts.
The researchers analyzed maternal bonding with a scale they called the Mother-to-Infant Bonding scale as they recorded hours of sleep the babies had, their crying incidences and what they deemed as bouts of colic. They found that in the weeks following birth, the mothers and babies in the singing group had higher bonding measurements than those in the non-singing group — 1.96 to 1.28, respectively.
The researchers believe that mothers singing to their babies while pregnant can improve maternal-infant bonding, as well as have positive effects neonatally on a baby’s behavior and mother’s stress level.
So, while we want to ensure that the nursery is perfect and every possible baby item makes its way off the registry list, it seems like simple things such as good-old fashioned lullabies can help make baby’s (and yours!) first days and weeks in this world the most calm and cozy.