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Suggestions for using music with newborns

  • Babies prefer their mother's or other close caregiver's voice over others. Babies recognize and respond to mom's voice more quickly than voices of strangers.
  • Lullabies are the best type of music to help babies rest. All cultures have their own lullabies.
  • Lullabies are simple—one or two voices or instruments, volume is soft and steady, speed is slow.
  • Heart rate and breathing can slow down while listening to slow music—for babies and moms!
  • Live singing is more effective than a recording—baby can feel your calm breathing, you can make eye contact, & you can change the music based on baby's needs.
  • If you are not comfortable singing with your baby just yet, talking and reading to baby is just as important—baby just needs to hear your voice!

Try this:

  • Take a relaxing breath for yourself.
  • During waking hours, hold your baby skin to skin if possible—baby benefits from this closeness and can feel your breathing and loving care.
  • Sing a favorite lullaby. Your baby won’t mind if you don't know all the words. You can even try singing about what you're doing as you go throughout the day.
  • Humming without words can be really helpful for helping a baby stay calm and go to sleep, too. Humming is more simple, and simple is calming.
  • Remember, babies love to be rocked or swayed to the beat of the music!

For a link to lyrics to common lullabies and a link to listen and learn them, click here.

For a link to lyrics to some lullabies as well as play songs for older babies, click here.

Source: Liesel Stephens, MT-BC, Children's Mercy Hospital

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