There are many research findings about babies before they learn to speak that have to do with moral behavior, infant-mother attachment, language, and other’s emotions. Learning to observe these changes helps mothers and fathers enjoy their babies as they observe their growing capabilities.
A fetus absorbs in the intrauterine environment the rhythm of a mother’s voice. It’s been discovered that vowel sounds in a mother’s speech are the loudest bits of sound the fetus keys into. So a newborn is already primed to distinguish their mother’s voice from that of others.
Attentive vocal fathers can quickly gain importance as well by singing and talking frequently to their newborns. The quiet low sound of the father’s voice often calms a baby when a mother is having difficulty quieting her crying baby. However, it has also been found that infants who were studied wearing sound-recording vests revealed that the babies heard three times more words from their mothers than their fathers.
The stranger’s voice becomes the novelty that babies also turn to being able to differentiate the parents’ voices they have become accustomed to. Babies are drawn to novelty, which is important for parents to know, so they don’t feel rejected if the baby turns away from them to a new voice.
Motherese is the sing-song rhythm that babies enjoy. Fathers of course can do the same and other people in the environment seem to naturally catch on to this manner of speaking that affects a baby cooing after a few months. Cooing is the beginning of language, a milestone.
Researchers in Sweden and Washington state observed newborns exposed to different languages. When the newborns had pacifiers that were wired to a computer they sucked longer when they heard their native language indicating they were able to differentiate the two languages.