Babies Need Lullabies
I read an article in the op-ed portion of today’s New York Times, entitled “Night Lights, Blankets and Lullabies,” written by Siri Hustvedt, an author who has had her work translated into 29 languages. Her work includes:
- The Sorrows of an American
- What I Loved
- 2 books of essays
- The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves
What she wrote impressed me enough to write a comment in response. The New York Times kindly published that comment, and so I am posting it here for you to read too.
Dear Ms. Hustvedt,
I salute your for your unabashed opinion and congratulate the NY Times for printing it!
That being said, I would have loved to hear more about lullabies and here is why: just as you have a passion for neuroscience research that reveals great untapped resources hidden in the brain, I too have a passion for the type of brain research that has to do with a mother’s voice and its significant influence on how a baby responds to the world.
Most particularly, I focus on when and how a baby hears, reacts to and imitates her mother’s voice and how “panic vocalizations” can be countered with what I call “calming vocalizations.”
A mother who knows how to use her voice in this way has a tremendous potential to “wrap” her baby in sounds that can immediately restore a sense of security. Amazingly, yet logically, it all starts during pregnancy.
There is much research on this subject and my job is to find it, report it to the public in user-friendly ways, then suggest easy activities that mothers can do to improve the quality of their voices so that their babies will have a better chance at enhancing their own perceptions of the world and contributing their own positive “calming vocalizations” later in life.
Here is one more thing in support of what you have written: I raised my three children in a log cabin in Alaska and two of them were born in that cabin. I held and cuddled with them many times through the night, sang to them, read and played with them. Now they are all successful professionals who contribute to society in wonderful ways and I am grateful that they still carry my songs in their hearts.
Joy Sikorski, M.A.
If you would like to read Ms. Hustedt’s article and the other comments, you can do so through this link. I’m #18 in the Comments Section and if you like what I had to say, I’d love it if you click on the “recommend” button below my comment.