RHYTHM OF THE MATERNAL HEART
We are enveloped by sound and rhythm every moment of our lives. Even before we are born, we are in a world of music listening to the beautiful most basic beat of life: the heartbeat.
A mother’s heartbeat provides a constant, soothing reminder of their presence, both before and after birth. Close skin to skin contact soon after birth allows infants to recognise the heartbeats of both parents, and this may calm them unlike anything else.
BABIES REMEMBER MUSIC PLAYED TO THEM IN THE WOMB
Out of the five senses hearing is the one that is most developed before birth. So it is no surprise that recent studies are showing that babies remember sounds and melodies played to them whilst in the womb and up to four months after being born1.
Music plays an important role in all aspects of a child’s development. Babies in utero respond well to music. As Dr Rob Hicks said: “Music can calm or stimulate the movement and heart rate of the baby. Once a baby is born, music can help the bonding process and brain development.”2
FAMILIAR SONGS ACT AS A SECURITY BLANKET
Playing and associating a specific song as part of an infants bedtime routine can help them relax. A familiar melody can help a baby feel safe and secure, even in unfamiliar setting. Music can be play an important and powerful role just as much as a cherished blanket or teddy bear.
How you respond to your infant’s babbles can help their language development. Babbling is a very important part of learning language and the start of them creating complex sounds. Parents that actively encourage this by babbling back, trying to understand what they mean, and just by talking back to their child engages them in conversation ultimately will help speed up their child’s language development.3
Other studies are starting to show that listening to other babies babbling delights infants, in which they then babble back on a level that they can join in with. Take a step back and watch babies play, and chat to each other to watch how it all unfolds.
OUR MUSIC AS A SOOTHING OR ENGAGING AID
My First Beats® uses foetal heartbeats within our music to captivate the infant with the sound of something recognisable. Research has been done to show that hearts beating near one another, or through music, creating a process known as “entrainment”, a term that means a close movement in synchronicity.
For the soundscapes that we have created with a soothing and relaxing tone, we have slowed the heart beat down to match that of the mother’s slower rate. This calming music flows easily, settling and relaxing whilst in play. Put it on repeat at bedtime, or in the car, and it becomes a lovely way to wind down.
My First Beats® are currently in discussion with a leading sleep researcher to do controlled studies with our next EP. We want to build on older research from the USA that has shown the positive effects of heartbeat music on babies in general and undergoing neonatal procedures. Their heart rates remain more stable, they exhibit higher oxygen saturation levels, and generally are more calmer.
For our soundscapes where we wanted to activate a playful, engaging environment. Not only did we keep the heartbeat at an average infant’s rate, we used infant’s babbles woven into the music, stimulating the language centre of the babies brain. Just like how we love to sing along to our favourite song, so the infant can try and babble along to something at their level.
“The mother’s heartbeat is the baby’s first and favourite lullaby, the rhythm of life”