Whether you are expecting your first baby, or recently had a baby, you understand the complex and beautiful aspect of bonding that occurs between mother and baby. For fathers, bonding is equally as important as it teaches your child, from the vantage of both genders, how to self-soothe, comfort and express language and emotions.
In promotion of bonding between a young infant and a mother or father, many child therapists and pediatricians recommend the use of music therapy techniques. Because singing to an infant generally produces soft and loving tones, the use of music therapy, specifically singing, provides for a great way to capture a young baby’s attention, soothe their discomforts, and create a more loving and bonding experience.
Commonly referred to as infant-directed singing, ID, many mothers already engage their infant in this soothing and rhythmic lullabies, even at times before the infant is born. When analyzed closely, mothers and fathers, when singing to an infant, are often noted to use more vowel sounds, glide between pitches, and sing slightly higher than normal. For fathers, this method of singing may have to be taught as, often, the higher pitched singing is not as easily expressed. Because singing at these levels is more conducive to the child’s emotional state, it is important to practice and become familiar with the ID singing methods.
While it may be difficult to believe, your infant can process music and lyrical information at a very young age. Some therapists even believe your infant’s ability to process musical information may even occur while still in the womb. Without a doubt, however, healthy infants can differentiate between several tones by the time they reach seven to eight months of age. While infant’s enjoy a mother or father’s singing voice, the voice of a complete female stranger, or the use of musical productions involving instrumentals and even a man’s voice, the preference is usually to that of the mother’s singing voice.
Without regard to the method you use, infants understand and perceive sound and music at a very young age. By utilizing the sound of your voice, you can capture your infant’s attention, engage in more meaningful interaction, and teach your infant how to express emotion and, ultimately, your infant will learn to manage their own emotional well being. If you are interested in learning more about music therapy and the implications of music in a parent bonding experience, you can contact a local music therapy center in your area. In many centers, there are infant-directing singing and music classes that encourage a greater bonding experience between mother, father and baby.