Are there any benefits to reading to and playing music for your baby before and after its birth? The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!” according to Dr. Gwendolyn Reyes, a Pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center. “A baby can recognize a caregiver’s voice while in the womb,” says Dr. Reyes. “They can also recognize music. It’s a great thing to introduce them to it during pregnancy.”
Dr. Reyes recommends playing music that is calming and soothing, such as classical music. “Studies have shown that classical music calms babies both before and after they are born,” the pediatrician reports. After birth, music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor,and language skills, affecting overall literacy.
Reading to your baby before and after they are born is also beneficial, says Dr. Reyes. Studies have shown that exposure to reading during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. The best way, according to the doctor, is to start developing habits early and introduce a daily routine – 20 minutes a day is all it takes. “Make it a pattern,” she says.
Hurley Medical Center offers many programs to all babies including the Reach Out and Read Program at the Hurley Children’s Clinic. “It focuses on helping kids learn to love books,” the doctor states. Children receive free books at every visit from birth to age five. “Reading is so important to child development,” says Dr. Reyes.
Through the Born to Read Program, parents of newborns receive early literary bundles. The Born to Read bundle is a canvas bag containing at least two children’s books, developmental materials, and help for parents wanting to sign up for the Early On Program. Another fantastic program offered by Hurley is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
According to Dr. Reyes, just talking to your baby before and after they are born, helps in the developmental process. “It is so important to expose your baby to language,” she stresses. “Just talk to your baby, point at pictures, turn a page. The more words they are exposed to, the better they learn to read. Make it part of your daily routine.”
“Studies have shown that classical music calms babies down before and after they are born.”