Getting a newborn child to get to sleep can be quite challenging and tiring, especially for newer and inexperienced parents. Everything about looking after a baby is challenge frankly speaking, but helping them fall asleep is especially important not just because it means the baby will be refreshed and less cranky the following day, but also because it might be the only time in the whole day where mom and dad get to spend some time together without having to worry about junior.
Multiple ways exist to help lull a baby to sleep. Some parents rock their baby’s crib until they fall asleep, and even invest in self-rocking cribs that can gently rock themselves all night long. Others buy tools that simulate the passing of streetlights while in a car, as they find that their baby is most soothed by that activity. And yet others use the tried and tested method of singing to their babies – or putting on a lullaby or music on some device – so that their baby can relax and fall asleep.
How Much Does Music Help Babies Sleep?
It cannot be denied that human beings have a very personal and meaningful relationship with music. Every single culture around the world throughout all of human history has composed music and songs of some kind to some degree. And scientific studies have proven that our brains are literally hardwired to respond positively to repeating patterns, a huge part of which can be found in music. This is also why so many people love bass in songs.
Babies are no different. Babies are well known for responding positively to music, and we can use this fact to help babies go to sleep by singing them lullabies or playing them some music through the night. Of course, not all kinds of songs or music will help a baby sleep. The type of song being sung, or the type of music being played, heavily impacts how a person feel. In fact, our heartbeats even try to synchronize with the type of music that we’re listening to. Which of course, means that funky and fast-paced songs will have quite the opposite effect on your baby, and keep them awake all night.
Are There Any Downsides to Lullabies and Music?
Before we get in to the type of music and lullabies you should play or sing to your baby, we also need to address the concerns that come with this method of helping babies sleep. Simply put, babies are extremely young and still developing. What this means is that if you rely on lullabies and music to help your baby fall asleep too much, your baby might end up developing a habit where they will find it impossible to fall asleep without the aid of said lullabies and music.
The solution to this is to not overdo it. It is recommended that you not play music all night long, as that may lead to your baby developing the tendency to wake up as soon as the music stops. Furthermore, instead of playing lullabies on an audio device, try singing them yourself until your baby falls asleep. This way, your baby will associate the lullabies and your voice both with bedtime. And this also means that the baby won’t get accustomed to lullabies playing all night long.
Another thing you should consider investing in is a white noise machine. You might be aware of these; they’re basically nifty little audio playing devices that people who find it difficult to sleep in complete silence make use of. You can use these instead of lullabies to help your baby go to sleep. Playing commonly heard noises like the pattering of raindrops on a window, the rustling of leaves as the wind blows through them, or the gentle hum of a running fan through these white noise machines help your baby get used to sleeping through all these scenarios. With all that said and done, let’s now look at some highly recommended lullabies that will help your baby calm down and go to sleep.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
How could we start off the list without bringing up everyone’s favorite childhood poem? This utter classic also doubles as an excellent lullaby to sing to your baby every night to help them fall asleep. The gently rising crescendo, the calming lyrics that have a slight touch of childlike curiosity behind them, and the calming notes that play throughout in case you use the aid of a gadget to play the lullaby, all come together to form one of the nicest lullabies you could help your baby fall asleep. And this lullaby sung in the loving voice of a mother will only enhance its effects tenfold.
Another classic, the rock-a-bye baby lullaby is famous for exactly the purpose it has been listed here for; helping young children fall asleep. Almost any form of media you consume that portrays a mother putting her baby to sleep would almost always show this lullaby being sung by the mother. This lullaby is great for helping babies go to sleep because its melody and tune never really changes. So while the same highs and lows keep getting sung every other line, the words keep changing to keep the baby listening.
Star Light Star Bright
This simple little lullaby doesn’t have much going for it when it comes to the lyrical front, but not only are the four lines of lyrics really soothing to listen to, the melody of this lullaby is one that you will recognize instantly as a tune that has been played in hundreds of different cartoons and children’s movies. Play the lullaby on a speaker or, more preferably, hum the tune yourself and watch your baby gently doze off to sleep because the magical and calming effect this melody possesses.
All the Pretty Horses
If you’re looking for a lullaby that has a bit more variation to its lyrics and melody than the ones listed above, All the Pretty Horses is a great one to sing to your baby. It has a slightly faster pacing, as well as a bit more variation when it comes to the words that are being sung, but is still really easy to memorize and quite simple to sing. The only thing you might have to compromise is the melody, because there is a tiny bit of it in between the lyrics that differs a bit from the melody of the lyrics themselves, and is probably the bit that you will have to hum to keep the flow of the lullaby consistent and not become jarring.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Though this poem has not been featured as a lullaby to help babies fall asleep as often in the media as others above it, it is still a solid choice for a bedtime lullaby. The melody of this lullaby is a brilliant one that builds up to a high point and then pays off with a calming de-escalation. The lyrics themselves are tiny and quite simple, and it might require you to sing the lullaby a few times before you notice your baby’s eyes beginning to droop.
If you’re familiar with Mary Poppins, you’re also probably aware of this one. With a name that is contradictory to the reason the lullaby is being sung in the first place, the equally contradictory lyrics of this lullaby are the most varied out of all the lullabies listed above. But though this one will require slightly more effort to memorize the lyrics of, the payoff will be worth it because this is one of the most calming things a mother could sing to her children. The gentle and unchanging harmonious melody that accompanies the soft and peaceful words of the lyrics is so effective that we won’t blame you if you begin to feel sleepy after singing it as well.
Different babies often take a liking to different lullabies, so you might have to experiment a bit before you find the perfect one for your baby. However, the lullabies listed above are a nice varied selection and there is bound to be at least one amongst this list that your baby takes a fancy to. Wondering which song to play your hubby after you’ve successfully put your baby to sleep? Our post on musician couples over the years might lead you to discovering the perfect one. Wanting to create the perfect slideshow of the best captured moments of your precious baby? We discuss what type of pictures to include in a baby slideshow you could make.