Dear Parents in Tune – We talk a lot about how to connect with your baby once they are in your arms. This week, let’s spend some time talking about tuning in to them BEFORE they arrive into your arms. Specifically, let’s see how music in the womb can effect your baby once they’re born.
This is for all your friends out there who are staring at their belly wondering – will a baby actually come out of my body?? It’s for any of you who are pregnant with your first, second, third, or eighth baby.
Remember how it felt when you were pregnant for the first time? You had all the time in the world to feel the changes in your body. Every new centimeter was noticed and measured, every bit of heaviness meant a slower step, hunger was tended to and nausea was acupunctured.
With any pregnancy following, there is no time for that. Discomfort must be tolerated and we plod on, dealing with our toddlers as best we can. But no matter what number you’re on, everyone can benefit from taking a pause and tuning in before the shit hits the fan (and seeps through the onesie).
And what should you do in that pause? Two things-
- Tune in to the changes in your body.
- Connect to your fetus.
Let’s talk body:
It can feel very scary and exciting for your body to be changing so drastically. I remember the moment I realized I couldn’t suck in my stomach as I walked into a party trying hard to feel my best (before letting it all hang out by the end of the party.)
Here’s a reminder – Take the time to run your hand compassionately over areas that are changing. Allow your body to do the work of growing a human inside you with all the beauty and discomfort that comes with it.
Now let’s see how you can connect to your fetus. Why? Because the more you feel connected to your fetus now the more you will once they arrive in your arms. And it just so happens that MUSIC is a direct phone line straight to your little nugget.
4 ways to use music to connect to your baby during pregnancy
Play music you love for your baby.
Until about 30 years ago, we didn’t know how much the fetus could hear. We now know that by 16 weeks, they can hear sounds outside of the womb. A 2013 article shows that babies at birth and at four months old noticed changes in the melodies that were played to them in utero.
So take the time to put something on that makes you feel GOOD. It can be that song your teenage self jammed to or your wedding song. It could just be “Groove Thang” – don’t judge it! Just play it. There is a good chance your baby will remember that music on the outside.
Sing! Even early on.
Did you know that singing to your baby in utero can have an affect on their behavior post birth? This 2017 study published in “Women & Birth” showed that babies who were sung to in utero cried less after they were born!
That’s a pretty good reason to do it. Not only that, When you sing, your body relaxes and vibrates and it’s like an internal massage that affects everything on the inside, as well.
Where to start? Find some time during your day to take in deep breaths and use your lowest voice.
Put your hand on your chest and see if you can make it vibrate even more. Let all of your breath come out as you sing so that you take in deep breaths in between phrases. This is called vocal toning. You are using your voice to align with your vocal vibration.
Start to search for your lullaby.
Once the baby is here, you are going to want to have a lullaby prepared. Your lullaby will be KEY to helping your baby fall asleep and helping you create a dependable sleep routine. I didn’t have one ready to go and I wish I did. It is so nice to start singing your lullaby from day 1.
And if you start to sing your lullaby while you are pregnant, your baby will become familiar with it and it will work even better.
Tune in to the sounds within your body.
This means sitting still and quiet and tuning in to your heartbeat. This 2015 study showed that pre-term babies who listened to recordings of their mothers heartbeat and recordings of their mother singing had improved neural processes. So tune in with your baby!
Connecting with your fetus now means taking your first step toward bonding once they’re here. And as you know, that is crucial for your baby’s well being and your own.
I know, it’s almost impossible while you hae a toddler or more to run after at the same time. But if you can, take a few moments a day especially in the last month of pregnancy to connect. Your body will probably start telling you to turn inward, to start slowing down, go out less, do less things, and LISTEN, and SING.
Did you pick out your lullaby while pregnant (unlike me)? How did you find it? Comment below.
Have a pregnant friend? Forward them these 4 ways to connect and eliminate one of many Google searches.
The baby is already here and you need sleep help ASAP? Check out this post for some tried and true strategies that I’ve collected over my many years of work with parents and babies.