The act of a mother singing to her baby, one of the universal forms of care giving, is as beneficial to the mom as it is to the child, a new study suggests.
Mothers while singing to their baby experience a much-needed distraction from the negative emotions and thoughts associated with depression, while also feeling empowered as a parent, researchers said.
On the other hand, the infants are provided with a much needed sensory stimulation that can focus their attention and modulate their arousal, they said.
“The extraction and analysis of vocal data revealed that mothers with post-partum depression may lack sensitivity and emotional expression in their singing,” said Shannon de l’Etoile, professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in the US.
The findings revealed that when infants were engaged during song, their mother’s instincts are also on high alert.
“Intuitively, when infant engagement declined, the mother adjusted her pitch, tempo or key to stimulate and regulate infant response,” de l’Etoile said.
Mothers around the world sing to their infants in remarkably similar ways, and infants prefer these specialised songs,” she said.
“The tempo and key certainly do not need to be perfect or professional for mothers and infants to interact through song.
“In fact, infants may be drawn to the personalised tempo and pitch of their mother, which encourage them to direct their gaze towards and ultimately communicate through this gaze,” she added.