Babies love to be soothed by music. They spent nine months listening to the regular rhythm of mom's heartbeat and they are naturally programmed to be relaxed by rhythm and repetition. Choosing music for your newborn is easy and fun. Here are a few tips to get you started building your library of soothing baby music:
- Start with music that relaxes you. This is really the most important factor. Music industry execs know that parents have the buying power and so there are compilations out there to suit every taste. You are the one who is going to be playing the song, so there is no point in selecting something that annoys you.
- Babies are drawn to smooth, harmonious music. Think heartbeat, think blood pulsing through the placenta. These intrauterine sounds have rocked her to sleep for the past nine months and will be the most familiar to her. If your baby falls asleep to Metallica, it is because she is overwhelmed and is shutting down her senses. It might work once, but don't let this become your standby lullaby.
- Visit a music store that allows you to listen to samples of the CDs available. Listen to what is on offer. Don't limit yourself to the children's section. Check out the new age music and the nature CDs. Close your eyes. How does the music make you feel? Can you picture yourself rocking your baby to this? If not, put it aside and move on.
- Avoid the toddler music section. This is fun, peppy music for active little ones and is not really appropriate for babies and parents desperate for sleep. Leave those CDs for the future and instead look to lullabies, classical music, new age music and instrumentals. If you can afford it, buy a selection of CDs and see which ones you and your baby like the most. If you have a limited budget, download eight or ten songs from an internet music store and "burn" a CD of lullabies. This may take some trial and error, but you will find that your baby does respond to specific songs. (They have preferences already!)
- A study in Britain in the 1980s found that babies were soothed by songs they heard regularly while in the womb. In the study, the song was the theme song to a popular soap opera watched by the mothers. If your baby has not yet arrived, try training her to with a lullaby by playing it at the same time every evening.
- There are many "soothing baby" compilations on the market that offer a combination of music and rhythmic nature sounds. Some of the better ones include: Transitions: Soothing Music for Crying Infants, Happiest Baby on the Block, and "Super-soothing" Calming Sounds. But any collection of soft, repetitive music of your own creation will do just as well. Remember that this is one of the most meaningful times of your life. The music that you and your infant listen to in these days will return to you over and over throughout both your lives, and years from now when you hear that certain lullaby, you will be transported to these days. Take the time to choose music that you really enjoy. It will be with you forever.