Music Therapy and Language Nutrition￼
Why should I play music for my baby?
Playing music may help your baby in many ways.
- Increase the amount of oxygen in your baby’s blood
- Reduce your baby’s stress
- Help your baby gain weight
- Help your baby soothe or calm themselves
- Help with your baby’s language development
Together, these things could shorten your baby’s hospital stay.
When should I play music for my baby?
You can start playing music for your baby as early as 32 weeks gestational age (GA).
Do not play music while your baby sleeps. Your baby’s brain needs breaks. Only play music when your baby is awake. Try playing music during kangaroo care (when you have skin-to-skin contact).
Play music for up to 15 minutes at a time. Do not play music for longer than a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes a day.
How do I choose music to play for my baby?
Choose music that keeps the same speed and volume from beginning to end. These are more soothing than music that changes throughout. Keep the volume low (no louder than the sound of a quiet conversation or whisper). Do not play radio stations. Good choices are:
- “Hush Little Baby”
- “Brahm’s Lullaby”
- “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
- “Rock-a-bye Baby”
When should I stop playing music for my baby?
Stop playing music if you see any of these signs in your baby. This may mean the music is not good for your baby right now:
- Holding fingers wide apart
- Arching back
- Tightening muscles (for example, pushing the legs out straight)
- Change of skin color
What is language nutrition?
Language nutrition is feeding your baby’s growing brain by reading, talking, and singing to them. Babies prefer hearing their mother’s voice reading or singing to them.
How can language nutrition help my baby?
When you read, talk, and sing to your baby, it helps them understand and develop language skills.
The main goals are for your baby to hear:
- Many different words and phrases
- Words spoken with:
- Slow pace
- Animation (lots of ups and downs in your voice)
- A variety of sentence structures. For example — Baby has ten toes. There are ten toes on your baby feet.
Engaging in language nutrition in the first three years of your baby’s life gives your child the best chance of success in school by improving their ability to listen, understand, memory, emotional awareness, and attention span.
When should I speak to my baby?
You can start speaking directly to your baby as early as 28 weeks gestational age (GA). GA is the number of weeks since your pregnancy started.
As they grow, you can spend more time speaking to them each day. Based on their GA, you can read and sing to your baby a total of:
- 28 to 29 weeks: At least 20 minutes a day
- 30 to 32 weeks: At least 30 minutes a day
- 32 to 33 weeks: At least 1 1⁄2 hours a day
- 34 to 35 weeks: At least 2 hours a day
- 36 to 40 weeks: At least 3 hours a day
Try to speak or sing to them for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Whisper or use a quiet voice when you are talking to your baby.