Although it’s still eight weeks before my little package will start making use of the ears they’ve been busy growing, I’m already reading up on what their ideal playlist might sound like.
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest babies remember and respond to music they’ve heard in the womb. I’ve even seen a few vaguely scientific sounding studies that suggest pre-natal learning of language is possible (or certainly preparation for it is).
The most convincing report I’ve read detailed how the parents recorded an hour of alphabet phonetics, times tables and Dr Seuss books to play through headphones to the bump most nights from around 24 weeks onwards. Their child was speaking at nine months.
Whilst headphones aren’t always advised as sound is conducted remarkably well through amniotic fluid (babies should hear pretty much what we do on the outside), I guess hearing about A Cat in a Hat every night might drive you slightly mad without the appreciative child tucked up in bed to thank you.
Any sound is recommended to be kept below about 70 decibels and I understand that bass comes through much more than treble – possibly why women’s voices are preferred to men’s. So if you want bump to appreciate your favourite tunes in their original form, turn down the bass for a few months.
Babies recognise their mother’s voices extremely well as the sound is conducted directly through the body every day; making it important for father’s and family to spend time talking close by to develop recognition of their voices too.
Most of that anecdotal evidence points towards classical music making kids smarter. Nothing has been proven, and yet I could easily believe that the geometry of the sound trains the brain in some way. I’m intending to switch watching rubbish on TV, to reading, writing, dancing around, etc. whilst listening to a mixture of classical and (my favourite) house music.
And as for Dr Seuss? I’m definitely up for growing a genius, so will be looking out for his books in second hand shops (baby budget already in effect). I figure it’ll be pretty easy to record straight onto my iPhone; just got to figure out how to play to the bump safely with earphones whilst not driving myself insane…