“Research suggests music helps parents bond with babies who have had a harrowing start to life, and may benefit the babies’ health and brain development.” This research is incredibly valuable to help us understand why and how singing is important in the first weeks and months of life, whether it be a smooth or harrowing start to life.
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But I wonder, how readily are parents encouraged to sing to their babies and how accepted is the sound of singing in a hospital? Research that supports the health benefits of singing for babies is great and now we need to think about the cultural changes we need to put in place so that when a worried parent begins to sing, no one reacts negatively to the sound.
Another study cited in this article found that “music, especially “songs of kin” – lullabies selected and performed by parents – improved premature infants’ vital signs and feeding. It boosted their oxygen saturation levels, reduced their heart rates and increased their calorie intake. It also reduced parents’ stress and anxiety”. Again this is an important benefit of parent song in stressful situations, both for the babies and the parents (and dare I say for the health care professionals as well).
Many educators would say that song and singing are incredibly important in children’s development but is it only acceptable in certain circumstances and context? Could and should this level of acceptance be different, considering the health benefits that research has found it conveys.
Food for healthy thought.