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If there ever was a competition about ‘who can fuss the most at bed-time’, you know who would win it. Babies! These little human beings, no matter how angelic, can become really fussy when it is time for bed. They either want to play with you, cry for seemingly no reason, or howl whenever you put them down. So, how to help a baby get sound and undisturbed sleep? There exists a simple but very effective trick you can use at home: baby sleep music.
Simply put, baby sleep music comprises different kinds of sounds that can lull babies to sleep. Once you know what these sounds are and how to use them, your baby can fall asleep in a matter of seconds.
Why Baby Sleep Music Helps
Baby sleep music, as we just discussed, consists of soothing and calming sounds that appeal to babies. These sounds send positive signals to the baby’s brain, including reassurance, comfort, and familiarity. This triggers drowsiness in babies and helps lull them to sleep.
Recently, a new mom, Liivi Hess, shared how she and her husband tried singing to the baby to build a bedtime routine.
“As nap time approached, one of us would read to her, saying keywords like “it’s almost sleepy time” as much as possible, then we’d swaddle her while playing calming music and Will would take her to the bedroom.
Then, in a darkened room, Will would sing to her for a minute or two then place her down to sleep, saying “it’s sleepy time, I’ll see you when you wake up.” With the same pre-bed routine, Isla soon learned when nap time or bedtime was approaching, so she didn’t receive a nasty surprise when she was plonked in bed. While it took three to four weeks to achieve, Isla went from getting around nine hours of sleep per day to around 14, and she generally goes to sleep within ten minutes of being put down!”
Now, that’s really something, isn’t it?
Types of Baby Sleep Sounds and Their Benefits
So, all set to use baby sleep music to put your little one to bed? Here are the four different kinds of baby sleep sounds that parents can use. Try them out and see which one your baby loves best:
1. Baby Shusher
What is one of the top reasons babies find it difficult to fall asleep? Well, they are so busy crying! Sometimes, it can seem as if your baby is crying for no reason at all as she is well-fed, has been burped, is wearing a clean diaper, and is not ill. This is when a baby shusher can help you out.
A baby shusher is a simple but wonderful device that plays rhythmic sounds to your baby through a speaker. It can calm down a baby in a matter of seconds and help them drift off to sleep.
Why it works: A baby shusher plays a rhythmic shushing sound. The ‘shush’ is a combination of many sound waves all at once. This is close to the sounds that babies hear inside the womb – a combination of sounds from the mother’s blood circulation, breathing, digestion, etc., and the sounds from the outside environment. This is why shushing is a soothing music for baby to sleep, inducing drowsiness and a sense of calm.
How to do it: Turn on the baby shusher, direct the speaker toward your baby, and check that the baby can listen to the shushing sound. You can use a baby shusher right from birth; its sound levels are tested to be completely safe (below 85 dB).
Watch: How a Baby Shusher Miraculously Calms Down a Crying Baby!
2. White Noise
This is one of the most effective forms of baby sleep music and has been known to work in just a few seconds! White noise is a mixture of repetitive sound waves over a wide frequency range. These waves alternate between high and low pitches.
Why it works: White noise imitates the sounds that your baby heard while she was in the womb. This calms her down by making her feel secure and part of a familiar environment.
How to do it: You can purchase a white noise machine available in the market. These machines produce white noise for baby sleep at safe volumes. The sound can be played to your baby to help her sleep. You can also produce your own white noise at home. Recently, Lauren, a 31-year-old woman from Michigan, U.S., shared a wonderful experience she had with her baby niece. Lauren turned on the bathroom sink to create a stream of white noise from the running water. The baby girl, after listening to this, fell asleep in seconds! Another quick fix is to play your baby a white noise audio available on the internet.
Did you know Babies love Pink Noise and Brown Noise too?
No, these are not just fancy names for colourful kinds of noise, but scientifically derived baby sleep music. As per science, pink and brown noise are also types of white noise but slightly lower sounding. While white noise has all the frequencies of sound playing at equal strength, pink noise gives more power to the lower frequencies and less to the higher. Thus, pink noise sounds less harsh and high pitched. Brown noise is an even lower tone than pink noise and thus very pleasant to hear. We recommend trying out this soothing pink noise during your baby’s next nap time. Parents report that their babies fell asleep to this music in just a few minutes!
3. Baby Lullaby
This is a trick mothers have long been using, and your own moms and grandmoms will also vouch for its effectiveness! Baby lullabies are soft and slow songs, with lyrics specially written for babies, and often with a repeating chorus.
Why it works: Lullabies work mainly because they are reassuring to the baby. According to a paper published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, a lullaby is a kind of vocalised reassurance to the baby that indicates “Yes, mom is here, so don’t worry and sleep tight.” Some researchers also believe that babies respond so well to lullabies because it indicates loads of attention from the parent or caregiver. Let’s accept it – babies do love attention and stop fussing when they have it!
How to do it: You don’t have to be an expert singer to successfully use this trick; you just have to keep a few pointers in mind to induce sleep in your baby:
- Pick a soft, melodious tune that will help soothe your baby. Here are some top Hindi lori lyrics to help you get started. You can also choose from one of these English lullabies if you prefer.
- Sing or hum rhythmically. You can also repeat the same rhythm or tune over and over.
- It is a good idea to include your baby’s name in the lullaby. Moms have observed that hearing their name in their mom’s voice comforts the babies.
Expert Tips for Baby Lullabies
Kristen Corey, Board-Certified Music Therapist working at the Montefiore Health System, USA, shares some tips to sing lullabies more effectively:
- Sing long, smooth vowel sounds such as “ahhhhh” and “oooooo.” This helps release tension and makes your baby feel relaxed
- Begin with some slow, deep breaths to feel more relaxed
- While humming, notice the vibration in your chest. Hold your baby close so that she too can feel the vibration
Another option you should keep handy is audio CDs of baby lullabies that your husband or other family member can use if you are away. Check out some good CDs of lullabies for babies to sleep. You can consider stocking them at home and play them around your baby’s nap-time to create a relaxed environment.
4. Ocean Drum
If you have ever been to the sea, you will know how soothing the sounds of the ocean can be. An ocean drum uses exactly this fact to help babies fall asleep! An ocean drum is a disk-like drum filled with small metal beads. This drum is tilted from one side to another to create sounds that resemble the waves of the ocean.
Why it works: Thousands of moms have observed that the gentle swishing and swaying sounds produced by the ocean drum have a calming effect on their babies. A calm baby is likelier to sleep better and more soundly. What’s even more interesting is that the ocean drum also has miraculous effects on premature babies, helping them to calm down and breastfeed.
How to do it: You can easily make an ocean drum for your baby at home using a box, sturdy and clear plastic, and fillings such as pasta, beans, lentils, etc. Once ready, you can tilt this box to produce ocean-like sounds and calm your baby.
Tip: This can also double up as a great DIY once your baby is a toddler, or if you have an older child at home. Sounds of the ocean are also excellent to soothe toddler tantrums!
Benefits of Baby Sleep Music
1. Helps babies understand when it’s time for bed – Once you start using baby sleep music regularly in any form (e.g., singing a lullaby), it establishes a routine in your baby’s mind. She starts understanding that nap time is approaching and will be more willing to settle down into bed.
2. Helps baby fall back asleep after waking up – Some babies fall asleep fairly quickly but tend to get up frequently during the night. Many babies get very cranky when this happens, leading to a night of sleep deprivation for the parents too. If your baby is going through a difficult sleeping phase, you can consider keeping the baby sleep music on at a low volume during the night. This will comfort her when she wakes up and help put her back to sleep.
3. Baby sleep sounds help baby sleep during travelling – Sleeping can become very stressful for babies when they are in an unfamiliar environment. However, if they listen to their familiar sleep music at bedtime (or when they wake up during the night), much of this stress gets alleviated.
4. Older children love it too – If you have toddlers or pre-schoolers at home, they may be facing sleep issues of a different nature. Nightmares, night terrors, fear of the dark, etc., are very common at this age. Soothing sleep sounds can help relax children if they wake up frantically at night to a silent house.
When to Start With Bedtime Stories
As your baby grows a bit older, you can introduce her to an entirely new kind of music – the music of words! Child experts recommend that you can start reading to your baby as early as in the womb; however, babies aged one year and above respond the best to bedtime stories.
Why it works: Reading a story to your baby at bedtime promotes bonding, builds your baby’s cognitive and linguistic skills, and also establishes a bedtime routine. Day after day, as she gets used to this bedtime routine, the story will also become a trigger to sound, peaceful sleep.
How to do it: Make bedtime stories a part of your baby’s daily ritual. You and your husband can share this through the week. Here are top five bedtime story books recommendations to get you started; we’re sure your little bub will love these!
So, now that you know how effective baby sleep music can be, there is just one thing you need to do the next time your baby is fussing at nap-time: play some music! Tell us in the comments if you have tried out any of these tricks and how they worked for you.