Music and your baby (newborn to 1 year)
Music is sometimes part of therapy for premature babies because research links listening to music to improved weight gain. One study found that 34-week-old babies given pacifiers that activated recordings of lullabies had shorter hospital stays.
Music can benefit you, too. It has the power to lift your spirits, soothe your frayed nerves, and move you to dance.
And music helps with bonding. Imagine the joy you’ll share with your child when you sway to the beat of a lovely melody. (Try Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”) Or how soothing it will be for you and your baby when you sing him a lilting lullaby (“Hush, Little Baby” is always a winner).
Can music make my baby smarter?
The jury’s still out on this question because not much research is available. Some experts claim that learning to play an instrument makes kids smarter in math, but that conclusion is based on research that focused on older children, not babies and young toddlers. However, plenty of research shows that studying music at a young age profoundly influences brain development.
A study involving both college students and 5-year-olds suggests that listening to pleasing music improves performance on cognitive tests and promotes creativity.
Other research shows that newborns can discriminate between their native language and unfamiliar language by listening to pitch and rhythm. At 2 months old, according to one study, infants can remember brief melodies. And some experts say that fetuses as young as 35 weeks can distinguish between and remember different sounds.