There is no shortage of advice for mothers-to-be about what to do once baby arrives. But, there’s something you can do before baby is born to help bring a calmer child into the world. The key is singing to baby while he or she is still in utero, according to a new study.
Researchers divided about 170 pregnant women into two groups; one group sang lullabies in the months immediately before and after birth. The other group did not sing to their baby at all.
They found that babies from the singing group generally cried 18.5 per cent of the time compared to 28.2 per cent of the time in the group who were not sung to.
Meanwhile for those with colic - excessive or frequent crying where there is no ill health - the babies who had enjoyed prenatal lullabies tended to cry for about a quarter of the time.
How well moms and babies were able to bond was also measured after birth. Researchers used a scientific measurement called the Mother-to-Infant Bonding Scale while they also recorded hours of baby sleep, crying incidences and bouts of colic.
In the weeks following birth, the postnatal bonding measurement was a little higher among the singers - 1.96 against 1.28 on the scale.
The authors concluded that: "Mothers singing lullabies could improve maternal-infant bonding. It could also have positive effects on neonatal behavior and maternal stress.”
Babies cry for many reasons. It’s how they communicate hunger, pain, fear, the need to sleep and more.
The most common reason for crying is hunger. Once you recognize the signs of hunger, you can feed before they start. Some signs to watch for are lip smacking, fussiness, putting their hands to their mouths and pushing their heads into your hand or shoulder.
Colic (tummy troubles) is also a common cause of crying. This may come after feeding, so burping the baby is often helpful. If your baby has colic a lot be sure to talk to your pediatrician.
A dirty diaper will trigger crying. This is an easy one to control; check and change often.
Babies need a lot of sleep. Instead of nodding off easily, babies may fuss and cry – especially when they're overtired.
Creating a quiet and warm (but not too warm or hot) room helps, plus rocking baby will often soothe and send them to dreamland. Also, make sure that their clothing is soft. Scratchy blankets or clothes can irritate their tender skin.
And of course, babies cry when they don’t feel well. Discuss what symptoms to look for and the best way to take your little one’s temperature with your pediatrician.
Sometimes, baby just cry and we’re not really sure why, after all, they can’t tell us. They may just want to be held and cuddled. We all like that.
The research was undertaken by the University of Milan and published in the journal Women and Birth.
Story sources: Henry Bodkin, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/03/07/sing-bump-lullabies-babies-womb-decreases-crying/