Mother–Infant Relationships Mediated by Singing

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Mothers habitually sing to their infants. Researchers in different areas of knowledge and through a variety of theoretical approaches have been more intensively investigating maternal singing since the late 1990s. The present article offers an overview of themes found in these studies about how mother–infant relationships may be mediated by maternal song, prioritizing articles that offer psychological insights into this phenomenon. These investigations assert that singing promotes intimacy between a mother and her infant, strengthening their bond and nurturing their relationship. We strive to contribute to this wealth of understanding with insights based on our research study about lived experience of mothers singing to their infants, and grounded in a humanistic perspective largely inspired by the work of Carl Rogers regarding the central role of social relationships in human development. We propose that a mother communicates genuineness and unconditional acceptance while singing, developing a musical ritual, facilitating intimacy and mutual understanding; she experiences being heard; she expresses herself, gives of herself, cultivating a healthy relationship through “hugging her child with song.”

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