Play and sing for the baby in your belly
Did you know that babies listen to music whilst still in the womb? From around 16-18 weeks of pregnancy babies start to hear sounds, but by the third trimester their hearing is much more advanced. They can hear music and tend to find classical music and soft melodies soothing – but they can enjoy other music too. They will grow to love any music you love, as whatever you listen to regularly will become what they are familiar with and what they will enjoy. Your favourite tunes will then have the added bonus of helping your baby feel comforted and reassured after emerging into the outside world!
It is thought that listening to music whilst pregnant may also help in a baby’s brain development. A Finnish study published in 2013 found babies who had been played the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 5 times a week from 29 weeks of pregnancy were more likely to show recognition of the tune after birth and after 4 months. Interestingly they also responded when duff notes were played, showing their surprise! The researchers wrote that listening to music in pregnancy may well help the baby’s auditory system to develop.
Music aside, by the last trimester babies will recognise their mother’s voices, familiar rhymes and even their own native language. Their ears are working well and brains are processing, enabling them to listen to the world around them.
So get that music on and sing your heart out. The combination of music together with your familiar voice will be particularly enjoyable for your little one and fun for you too. Just don’t turn the volume up too loud to not irritate the little one too much!