Baby Songs To Sleep
Music and Movement
Many young babies are soothed by sound and movement – continuous, rhythmic sounds and movement work best. You could try womb music (tape available from NCT Maternity Sales website, see page 152), or a vacuum cleaner, although this option may be less appealing at night. From a few months before he is born your baby is able to hear sounds outside your body. Some mothers find that songs they sing or music they play at this time have a particularly calming effect on their baby once he is born.
Richard, father of Hannah, aged nine months, found that loud and insistent music rapidly stopped her crying at night:
I used to rock her while I was walking up and down. It was incredibly boring so I put on some loud music and the insistence of the rhythm overwhelmed her senses and she went to sleep. I think it was Verdi’s Rigoletto, and some Stephen Stills that were the most effective.
But then she’s always had great taste in music – just like her father!’
Naturally, the effect isn’t always so immediate, which is probably why so many traditional folk songs have at least a dozen verses.
Tips to make the most of Movement
• Babies prefer to be rocked from head to toe, rather than from side to side.
• Some prefer being vertical to lying down.
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• The more of the baby’s five senses – touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste – you can engage at the same time, the better. So, a slow walk, holding your swaddled baby upright in a darkened room or under a tree during the day, while singing a lullaby can be very soporific, because it reaches four of your baby’s five senses – touch, smell, sight and hearing – just watch you don’t nod off yourself.
• Going for a walk with a pram, baby carrier or sling rocks your baby at a rhythm he is used to from inside your womb.
Many babies are soothed by travelling in a car, but all too often wake as soon as the engine stops. This can be an expensive, time-consuming and less than green way to get your baby to sleep regularly, although many families resort to it in desperation.
Simon used to take Rachael out in the car in the evening, it was easier than listening to her cry. She was fine when the car was moving. But as soon as he stopped she’d wake, unless he drove for long enough so that she was really deeply asleep. But even then it was almost impossible to transfer her, still asleep, into her cot, because the car was parked so far from the front door. But at least I had a break. ’
Simon and Julie, parents of Rachael and Sylvie
If your baby needs a lot of rocking, more than your back can bear or you have time for, you might want to consider buying a swinging cradle which you push by hand and which your baby can use from birth to about four months. Alternatively a baby swing, suitable for babies from four to nine months, will rock him for 15 minutes at a time when wound up. See page 152 for suppliers. Homoeopathy may also help the baby who likes a lot of motion.