Regina and her friend, Rochelle, were both pregnant with their first babies. Together, they shopped for maternity clothes; they exchanged their favorite pregnancy books; they researched names for boys and girls.
But, Regina was a scientist and interested in all the science of how babies grow and learn. She had read about an experiment done with pregnant ladies and told Rochelle about it. They decided to try the experiment themselves.
During the last six weeks of their pregnancy, Regina read The Cat in the Hat to her baby-in-utero every evening. Rochelle read The King, the Mice, and the Cheese each day. Their babies were born within three weeks of one another.
Once they were both up and about, Regina and Rochelle met for coffee to try out their “experiment.”
Regina started by reading The King, the Mice, and the Cheese to her baby. The baby boy raised his eyebrows a bit when she started reading, but nothing more. When she began to read The Cat in the Hat, her son got so excited. His eyes brightened, his arms pumped, and he looked around, as though he were looking for “his” book.
Rochelle’s baby was sucking her pacifier contentedly and seemed ready for her “experiment” to began. When Rochelle read The Cat in the Hat, her daughter seemed to relax as if ready to drift right off to sleep. However, when her mom began reading The King, the Mice, and the Cheese the baby girl alerted and increased the pace and intensity of her sucking. Her eyes widened with a wise “I-know-what’s-going-on-around-here” look on her face. “That’s MY book!” she seemed to say.
Babies hear both in utero and out. Other studies show how babies will suck harder on a pacifier when they hear a recording of their mom’s voice vs. that of another woman. They prefer to hear their family’s language rather than a foreign language. They love that high-pitched, sing-song voice that grown-ups instinctively use with babies.
So, the next time you are hanging out with a newborn–or with one on its way–just remember, “I’m all ears!”
© HUG Your Baby 2018