Over the years I’ve heard various reports about the benefits of music to mother and child during pregnancy, labour and beyond. It was in the ’90s I believe that mums began playing Beethoven to their babies, as it was believed to make the children clever. I confess that while pregnant with my first-born (Angelo) I listened to my fair share of classical music more to relax myself but with an element of curiosity see if there would any effect on my baby. Well, if you have been following this blog you know by now that Angelo is ANYTHING but calm! He’s a happy, energetic, full-on, clever, ‘Duracell Bunny’. For my second pregnancy I had no very little time to lay around listening to classical music. I was busy looking after Angelo and trying to keep things a ‘normal’ as possible for as long as possible. So that meant the odd afternoon dance-off in the living room to some current urban tune with him. Like me, Angelo enjoys music that has a good rhythm and base… enter Valentina who’s a calm baby… unless she’s unless she’s tired or hungry. While I’ve never used music during my labours, I was curious to know more about other mothers’ experience with music and pregnancy. The AMAZING Daria consented to share her story with us.
Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has seven cd’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her website; located at dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its rich variety of music and cultural content. You can follow Daria on Twitter, Facebook
The Power of Music
Music can be a powerful force.
Have you ever had a tough day and the right song totally cheered you up? Or found that certain lyrics made you feel like someone completely understood you and what you were going through? Some kinds of music make you want to get up and dance and others inspire a sense of quiet and calm and help you relax deeply. If this is how music affects us in our everyday lives, it might be a great idea to include it into the birth process and the special time just after a new baby arrives.
Music played a rather unusual role in my first child’s birth, so I hope you don’t mind if I share what happened. Although I took all the classes and thought I was well prepared, the contractions somehow took me by surprise. It was the dead of winter and Christmas had just passed so the only way I made it through labor was by singing every verse I knew to Away In A Manger, Good King Wenceslaus and a host of other Christmas carols. After about 8 hours and the appearance of a beaming baby girl, I remember hearing the midwife say that it was anything but a “Silent Night” but that I had sung my way through a particularly difficult birth and now had a little miracle to prove it. Singing had helped me regulate my breath and relax so that my baby; who was presenting backwards, had a chance to move into position and be delivered naturally!
Music in the Delivery Room
But even if you don’t want to sing in the delivery room, it’s still a good idea to bring the music you love to set the stage for your child’s birth. If you are in a hospital or birthing suite, it can make the experience more personal and give you something you love and recognize to focus on. If you’re at home, music has the same effect of allowing you to set the mood and comfort yourself with the types of sounds and messages you feel are most soothing or most helpful during your labor process.
Once you’re little one appears, music can help create a quiet space for you two. As you recoup your energy and spend time regaining strength, it’s nice to find some new music that may lull your baby to sleep and encourage you to rest and relax at the same time. I often encourage new moms to ask their friends for suggestions or gifts of new music as it helps create new memories for each welcome new addition to the family.
Types of music
Stumped for types of music? When my second child as born, I received a tape of harp music that played lullabyes and a cd of Celtic music – both were great for nap time or quiet time anywhere in the house. A girlfriend of mine swears by classical music as a way to soothe a colicky child and others love world beat music, such as the Putumayo cds that feature eclectic music from all over the planet.
Want to find something new to listen to? You can browse Itunes or any of the other music sites and preview what looks interesting to see if you love it. Try searching keywords such as New Age, or meditation cds for calming music. Look up spiritual music or songs of faith to inspire you. Think about your favorite artists from days gone by, perhaps that music will be something you want to share with your little ones as they grow. And, aside from buying or downloading something new, most libraries have a vast collection of cds that you can borrow for your listening pleasure.
And what if your baby is child # 2 – or 3 or… more? Then a visit to the library for a new cd or sharing some new tunes can be a great way to have some special one-on-one time with them. Learn a new song, make an instrument or play a musical game. Or maybe you can get really creative with your older kid or kids and “make-over” a song for the new baby. Take a look at the song below and feel free to add your own creativity.
Whatever you decide, just remember that music can be a wonderful, comforting, uplifting experience during a difficult and demanding time. Call on your muse or your favorite music as a way of caring for yourself and sharing your new joy with the world!
A NEW SONG FOR A NEW BABY
(To The tune of “BINGO”)
We have a baby that we love and Valentina is her name-o!
She has brother that she loves and Angelo is his-name-o!
Add verse about pets, friends, relatives, family family members, etc.