Mums wanted to test lullaby settling techniques

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Developed by UQ Associate Professors Felicity Baker and Elizabeth MacKinlay, the ‘Sing, Soothe, and Sleep’ program teaches a range of singing techniques to match the changing emotional states of new babies, such as “grizzly”, “agitated”, or “hyped up”.

In the pilot stage of this project researchers found when mothers sing a lullaby, the volume of her voice, pitch, tempo and tone as well as her patting and rocking styles, all affect how quickly her baby can be settled.

Dr MacKinlay, who is an Anthropologist and Ethnomusicologist, said mothers who used the ‘Sing, Soothe and Sleep’ program were able to cope with their transition to motherhood much better, reporting they felt calm and able to spend more quality time with their babies.

Dr Baker is the Director of Research at UQ’s School of Music. She said a key to the technique is to match the baby’s temperament musically, and then lower their arousal by slowing down the sing style.

“Mothers learn how to manipulate the singing they produce to connect with their babies,” Dr Baker said.

“Examples of the lullabies used are ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ followed by ‘Kum Bai Yah’ and ‘Brahm’s Lullaby.”

UniQuest, UQ’s main commercialisation company, is seeking a business partner to take this promising commercial prospect from the Faculty of Arts to the market.

Managing Director of UniQuest, Mr David Henderson, said this is a great example of how university research can become something tangible and be used to improve the lives of people in our communities,” he said.

“It is the research behind the ‘Sing, Soothe and Sleep’ DVD that makes this so much more than music alone,” Mr Henderson said.

Researchers are trialling the DVD to establish the best method of sharing the ‘Sing, Soothe and Sleep’ program with every new mother.

“Once the results are finalised, UniQuest will be seeking to work with a company who can achieve this,” Mr Henderson said.

Researchers are seeking first time mothers of babies six weeks of age and older to participate in the six week trial.

The trial will have two phases of three weeks and participants will be asked to complete a diary and participate in two telephone interviews with the project researchers. Mums wanting to take part in the study should call or text 0457 146 552 or email [email protected].

For more information see the webpage at and follow the link to ‘Sing, Soothe and Sleep’.

Media: Leanne Wyvill (07 3365 4037, 0409 767 199 or [email protected])

About UniQuest
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups.

With more than 80 staff and group revenues exceeding A$320 million in the past five years, the company is also benchmarked in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide.

It has created more than 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $340 million to take university technologies to market.

UniQuest commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, the Mater Medical Research Institute and two ARC Centres of Excellence.

UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year.

UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.

For more information about UniQuest, please visit

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