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Music Appears As A New Way To Calm Crying Infants

The piercing cry of a baby can be very upsetting for frantic new parents. Often, no matter what they try, the crying continues. I remember those times with the continuing frustration as one solution after another failed. Rocking, talking, and humming had little effect.

My son had a strong cry, and night after night we listened to him cry and kept looking for solutions. Finally, driving around the block proved to be the way to lull him to sleep. Over time he calmed down and so did we, but at the time we were desperate to find solutions.

Over time, all new parents seem to find ways to calm their babies and life goes on.  But I am sure most of them would be open to new solutions that worked.

Now researchers seem to have found just such an answer in music.

A report from YouthHealthMag outlines the details of the new music research. Professor Isabelle Peretz wanted to see if good music could make a difference. She found infants hearing melodies remained calm for a significantly longer time than when they heard voices.

The researchers found that when infants listened to music, they remained calm for about nine minutes. But when listening to speech, it only kept them calm for approximately four minutes, regardless of what sort of talking it was.

The researchers said their findings underscore the importance of music and suggest how nursery rhymes can be helpful with small babies with their simplicity and repetition.

Sidenote on Other Research

Music as a way to soothe children has also been used in hospitals. Not long ago a group of young medical residents dealing with young children who had cancer were looking for distractions for the pain. A couple of them were also jazz fans, and they began to bring their instruments into the wards playing for the children. The children responded immediately and the music proved to be one of the most effective ways to help the children cope with their pain.

Both the crying infants and the young ill children’s responses indicate there may be a lot more that can be done to use music to help children.

The researchers also noted this type of research information should be provided to parents having trouble with parenting. Often, the more agitated the baby becomes, the more agitated the parent becomes too. 

Putting together a music kit with suggestions might be a terrific way to help parents solve the problem, and calm down in general.  I think it would help rebuild their confidence too. It is too easy to feel like a failure as your baby cries and you cannot come up with a solution.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Aravindan Ganesan

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