Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Steven Tuber

Subject Categories



identity development; infant; mothering; music; relationship; singing


Mothers have sung to their children for centuries. Because singing provides an opportunity for self-expression and connection with others, understanding how first time mothers experience this age old practice might help us understand how singing facilitates a woman's developing relationship with herself as a mother and with her new infant. To date, little research exists on this particular function and experience of first time maternal singing. In this qualitative phenomenological study, 16 first time mothers with infants one year and under were interviewed about their experiences singing to their babies and were also asked to write a one-time diary entry following their interviews. This process was two fold: it provided an opportunity to understand how mothers experienced singing as part of their developing relationship with themselves as new mothers. It also provided an opportunity to learn how mothers experienced singing as part of their task of bonding with and caring for their babies. It was found that infant-directed singing carried out 5 tasks for new mothers in relation to their infants and themselves. These were: tasks of connection, engagement, affect regulation for mother and baby, education pertaining to culture and language enhancement, and an opportunity to reflect upon different periods of a new mother's life, from adulthood to childhood. The conclusion of the study hypothesizes that the consolidation of these 5 tasks of singing contributes to helping a woman arrive at her own unique mothering identity.

Included in

Psychology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.