The Power Of Lullabies
By Carol Harding, PhD.
Visit any music store and you'll find an impressive selection of lullaby CDs -- from Mozart to Mediterranean music-designed to lull your baby to sleep. While these CDs can certainly soothe your infant, don't overlook the power of your own voice to comfort her.
Singing lullabies is one of the oldest, most natural forms of interaction between parents and babies. The sound of the human voice soothes restless infants and makes sad ones happy. These early feelings of warmth and togetherness form the basis of baby's first attachment and provide the framework for your developing relationship with your baby. The human interaction (touch, voice, eye contact) is the important thing -- not the lullaby itself.
Whether humming, chanting, or singing, we all can make music. Here are some tips on how to make the most of singing lullabies:
- Establish a naptime and/or bedtime routine that incorporates lullabies. Singing for as little as five minutes is enough for you and baby to reap the benefits.
- Don't focus on the words or your singing ability. The words can be nonsense and the melody off-tune. Use your baby's name or tender endearments. Chant, sing, or hum. It doesn't matter. It's the lulling sound and the warm, cozy closeness that makes the lullaby work. If it makes you more comfortable, play a lullaby CD in the background at a low volume and sing along with it.
- Savor the moment. While you sing, hold your baby close as you sit in a rocker or stand and sway to the music. Let your mind clear as you enjoy the warm feelings and become one with the your baby and the music.
- As your child grows, use other songs (play songs, ballads, nursery rhymes) as ways to play together and connect. But don't forget about the lullaby. All of us at any age can profit from the gentle sounds of sleeping music.