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3 Soothing Baby Music Ideas for Your Nursery

Angela Tague
March 24, 2015

When a pacifier gets greeted with a pout and everything seems to make your baby bawl, it's time to try something new. Here are some techniques for using calming music to help ease your little one's cries.

You've bounced and burped your baby, but she's still fussy. Adding noise to the mix may seem like the last thing you want to do, but soothing baby music can help to calm your little one. It can take some time to find what music works best, so here are three tips to help you find the right tunes.

soothing baby music ideas

Music can pump you up for a workout or slow you down before bed, so why wouldn't it do the same for your baby? Kenneth K. Guilmartin, an early childhood music expert and founder of Music Together, explains that babies detect tempo changes and variations in melodies and loudness. When a change in music occurs, a baby may experience a startle response -- where their hands and feet move involuntarily -- or they may stare off and becoming motionless from the sound. "The startle response in relation to music lets us know that babies do hear and respond to music, even at just a few days old," Guilmartin says.

  1. Match the Music With Your Baby's Mood
    You can use the above responses to your advantage by playing different music at different times of day or night, and to be in keeping with your baby's mood. To calm a day-time temper tantrum, opt for a CD of children singing lively tunes with a fast beat to engage your little one. At nap time, a slow-paced piano instrumental might help your baby nod off. This tactic worked for mommy blogger and personal trainer Jenn Mitchell of Boston, who relied on soothing, soft music to quiet her fussy babies. When they were very young, her children's favorite CD was "Golden Slumbers: A Father's Lullaby." She explains, "Both of my kids responded to it so well that we put them to sleep using the CD for years. My son did not grow out of it until he was 5. I still have fond memories of nursing the babies to sleep listening to this CD."
  2. Let Yourself Tune In to the Music, Too
    You and your baby can find music you both can rock out to. Maya Benattar, a music therapist who works with children, recommends choosing music with a consistent pulse or beat that you can softly hum or sing along with. "This communicates warmth, caring and presence to the baby," she says, and is especially true when you're holding your little one. Most genres of music have songs that feature a consistent pulse, so you won't have to give up on your favorite pop hits. "I once worked with a baby who calmed best to the Beatles' 'Abbey Road' album," Benattar adds.

    Other great choices, according to Benattar, are classic folk and children's songs that you can sing yourself, such as "You Are My Sunshine," "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." For singer and songwriter Salina Sias, it was a no-brainer to sing to her children to put them into a good mood. But the Brooklyn, New York-based mom of two also included contemporary, jazzy music. She says that Michael Buble's "Feeling Good" always helped soothe her children to sleep.
  3. Dance It Out
    As your baby gets older, get her grooving with the music. Guilmartin says, "Over time, a baby's movements will become more purposeful and organized. Eventually, she will try to align her movements to the beat of the music she is hearing." Guilmartin says music can even make babies coo or giggle, a welcome change from crying and wailing. As your baby moves to the beat, move with her by dancing or making hand movements while maintaining eye contact to take her mind off the reason she's crying, such as sore gums from teething. Both mother and baby will enjoy this interactive bonding exercise.

So, what are you waiting for? Dust off the CD player. Fire up Pandora. Load Spotify. And calm your little one with soothing baby music to ease stress and anxiety.

Watch this fussy baby calm down right away when her favorite song comes on:


Angela Tague writes about parenting, pet care and being a home-based writer. She and her husband live in Iowa with their two spoiled dogs.

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