Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

What Kind of Music is Soothing to Babies?


Babies are the most wonderful little people to have in our lives, but sometimes it might be a bit hard when they are tired, hungry, and discovering new things constantly. You will find many ways to soothe your child, one of the ways children love to be soothed is through the form of music.

Music is a wonderful and almost magical thing. Music has the power of each of our emotions, contributing to how we feel in any given moment. So what type of music is best for soothing your baby? Music that has been studied and proven to help soothe newborns include:

1. Lullabies
2. Classical
3. Nature
4. Your own voice

There are many different benefits of each music choice listed here, read on to find out more!

Lullabies

Lullabies are the most preferred out of any type of music by newborns. This is because, usually, lullabies consist of a 6/8 meter and only a few notes that are repeated to create a peaceful soundtrack in which they can fall asleep and be soothed to. The repetitive rhythm is comparative to that of a cradle’s or mother’s carrying sway, for this reason, the baby is carefully lulled to sleep by the seemingly hypnotizing and beautifully simple music of the lullaby.

There are many lullabies that are recommended for newborns. Some of these include, but are not limited to:
1. Brahm’s Lullaby
2. Hush Little Baby
3. When You Wish Upon a Star
4. Rock-a-bye-baby
5. Over the Rainbow
6. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
7. Danny Boy
8. Scarborough Fair
9. Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
10. I Often Go Walking

As you may note, all of these songs consist of soft tones and are sung in a hushed manner, wonderful for soothing your baby.

Classical

Classical Music is enjoyed by every age group from infancy to adulthood. While there are no lyrics, the sounds emitted from the classical instruments create and bring out emotions from us as individuals, no matter what age group we fall into. It is important when selecting music for your infant, to listen to it personally prior to playing it to your child. This is important because some classical music can be very intense and designed to create more negatively connotative feelings such as fear and suspense, this would not be good for your child to listen to because it is not soothing at all for a newborn. Instead, approach classical in search for more light music with a positive connotation. Harp music is wonderful for newborns because it is a simple and light sound played in simple melodies. Light acoustic guitar and piano music is wonderful as well. Calming symphony melodies are recommended as well.

Nature

One of the most naturalistic music to soothe your baby is that of nature itself! Listening to the patterns of different sounds of nature is extremely soothing for any age level, especially infants. Listening to nature sounds has been proven to increase positivity and happiness, and also bring increased relaxation. Some sounds to consider may consist of the following:
1. Birdsong
2. Light Rain
3. Wind through the trees or grass
4. Waves
5. A running stream

These are just some of the options of many that consist of the sounds of nature. This type of raw music is extremely beneficial and extremely soothing.

Your Own Voice

Finally, I saved the best for last. The most soothing thing to your child is, in fact, the sound and music of your own individual voice. While you may think that newborns don’t learn and recognize the sound of your voice until they are born, they actually learn to recognize your voice from inside the womb. As soon as your child is developed enough to begin to hear they will be able to hear whatever is happening outside of your belly. This includes t.v. shows, conversations, and music, and most importantly your voice. This is important to be aware of while you are pregnant, whatever you hear and the reaction it emits your baby will hear and be impacted too.

Being able to recognize and hear your voice is extremely soothing for your child, this is a necessity and comfort for them. As soon as they are born they will want to hear your voice and continue as they get used to their new life. When they are troubled and are crying they can be soothed by the sound of your voice, either through talking or singing lullabies to them. Each mother always seems to have their own preference to what lullaby they sing to their child. Singing soft lullabies such as the ones listed above are great ideas. Do not be afraid to sing out loud either, your child is no Simon Cowell and loves the comfort and attention your voice brings to them.

Another way to soothe babies with your voice is to just talk to them, tell them stories! By softly telling or reading a story to your child you will be able to involve them, soothe them, and comfort them by given your child their desired attention and affection. They will learn to listen intently to what you say and help grow their developing brain to a furthering level of comprehension.

Other notes

Playing music for your baby is a wonderful method of soothing them, after some extended research I have taken note of some recommendations when it comes to this method.
First, if you decide to play music for your baby do not just run a playlist and wait for it to shut off. Doing this may effectively soothe your baby and put it to sleep but the sudden silence following the completion of the playlist may wake your baby up. Instead, play music for your baby prior to them falling asleep and as they are drifting off slowly lower the music until it is quiet and then let them drift off on their own.

Babies can easily sense tone and emotion. This is extremely important when considering what type of music you play for your baby. With calmer and lighter music will come the result of comfort and soothing. Again, as stated before, be careful what music you play to your child because the result can lead to distress if louder and rougher music is played.

Some of you may wonder what it is about music that causes us to be comforted and soothed by it! Scientifically speaking, depending on the music you listen to, music has the power to slow your heart rate down, in extent slow your breathing down and also cause your muscles to relax. All of these effects combined lead to soothing and sleep.

It is also a fun fact to note that it can be soothing to sing or listen to songs in other languages. Infants can, in fact, tell the difference between two languages depending on tone. Some lullabies including some that are listed above were originally written in a different language such as German or Spanish this can be extremely soothing for both you and your child.

Related Questions:

Is music good for newborns? Music is wonderful for newborns. Exposing your newborn baby to new beats, melodies, and rhythms will help their brain develop and grow. The impact of music on a newborn child’s brain is positively significant in their growing process.

Do all babies like music? While we do not know if babies are programmed to enjoy music, it is rare to find a baby that does not find comfort in the music of lullabies and other musical methods listed above. But this does not mean that there is not a baby that doesn’t like music somewhere in the world.

Does music make babies smarter? Many believe in the “Mozart Effect”, this is the belief that playing and listening to music as a baby can cause you to be smarter, while this is not necessarily proven it is an interesting concept that no harm can come from if pursued, really, listening to music as a baby can truly only be for the benefit. It is always recommended to give your child the opportunity to listen to music because music, especially classical, will be able to cause comfort and soothe your baby.

Related Posts

I was giggling while reading Ceddy’s comment.  I have sung kids to sleep for as long as I can remember but, when you make up your own songs on the spot….priceless! <3

While I do believe children love the sound of their parents’ voice, I was also giggling recalling my girlfriends boy when he was still a toddler.  He would cry when she sang and smile and fall fast asleep when I sang to him.  We will laugh about that anomaly into our old age I’m sure! 

I’ve seen and heard music work it’s magic on newborn’s.  It’s a beautiful thing to behold.  Just like every adult, every teen, every tween etc…comfort levels on the musical front will differ.  

While, I do agree that soothing music is key for bed-time, I am still finding the joy in experimenting with all types of music with different kids.  Luckily, I have enough children in my life to have fun with this process! 

Music is certainly very important for the well being of the child.I know of parents who play soothing music to the child when he is still in the womb.I agree with you that the mother’s voice is the best music.I am old school and as a grandparent I believe that the best music for the child is the voice of the mother singing a lullaby at bedtime.It is not only the music but the love shown to the child that is most important. 

Hi Sophia,

Thanks so much for sharing a good article to read about what kind of music is soothing to babies, I love to learn more about this topic, I have a good reason for it, I just become a grandma for the second time, to a beautiful baby girl with the name of Sofia.

Sometimes her parents ask me to look after her while they are busy, I noticed Sofia loves music and I was wondering what kind of music is the best for young babies, with your help, now I have good information.

Next time I have to take care of Sofia, I will know what kind of music is better for her.

Aww this is the sweetest ๐Ÿ™‚ I know how grateful Sofia’s parents are for you, being such a loving and trustworthy source to take care of their most precious daughter. I am so glad this article was helpful to you. Thank you for your lovely comment. 

I always found that having music on in the house and car would keep the baby occupied and at ease, no matter what the music type was. And i always loved that my babies would love any music that would come on the television especially the adverts, the more they become used to hearing music the more inclined they were to dance and smile.

Toys and musical books that played lullabies went down well so i agree that babies love lullabies ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s so funny I came across this article because I have a toddler and we are constantly listening to music in the background. We usually listening to piano or something soft and not too distracting but it has been like that since he was born. From a young age, we discovered he liked soft tone with deep voices, so we played a lot of “can’t help falling in love with you” by Elvis Presley. I think that is the name of the song, but it would always calm him down and make go to sleep, especially in the car! This is a very nice topic for new parents because you really want to know what you subject your kids too. 

I love this post!  I have always believed in the effectiveness of using music and sound to soothe a baby, even adults too!  I appreciate the list of options in terms of types of music. I still sing the same song to my son at 7 years old which I did when he was a little baby guy and even though my voice is out of tune, he seems to really respond well to it when it is time for him to sleep.  I had read about the benefits of music, even when he was in my tummy and sometimes when I play the same music as I did when he was in my belly, he seems to relax and resonate with it.  The sounds of nature are so soothing too!  I think it is great that you are providing recommendations and insights such as these. The power of music is exponential.  Thank you for such a great read!!

Thanks for the post it has brought back a lot of memories for me. I have four kids and they were all different, the boys seemed to like the music and soothing sounds more than the girls.  They all loved their stuffies and blankets, our youngest son had a teddy that had a heartbeat sound that he loved.

Hey. Thank you for sharing this information. Now I can make her happy and sleep well too. I found that babies love music. Singing can be a powerful way of attracting a baby’s attention too.

Oh my I tell you this is bringing me oh so back to when my 6 year old son was a baby. We chose to play lullabies and classical music for him for soothing. I liked classical music but never listened to it. So this was new for the whole family. But it was awesome. 

I used to also sing him to sleep sometimes. He would just fall to sleep like a rock in my arms. I used to make up songs and sing to him as well. lol. Very interesting how you mention how babies learn and can sense certain things. Truly amazing! 

I am going to follow you on Instagram. This is some good stuff. Thanks

This is such a great article with good information, especially for new parents. I have a 6 year old daughter and a one year old son and they both fall asleep with Hispanic music such as salsa, bachata, merengue, and cumbia.  It’s so funny but it’s so true. I have videos of them crying their lungs out and when I play my favorite salsa song, they magically quiet down and in less than 5 minutes, they fall asleep.

Sometimes I even needed to have a playlist for the night. My daughter used to wake up more; my son so far doesn’t need a playlist. We will see what he brings to our nights ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are singing to your baby, do you have to slowly transition when you stop singing or can you stop abruptly when they are fast asleep? Or does this only apply to lullaby, classical, and nature sounds?

I ask because you mentioned that babies can wake up if their is a sudden silence when music stops playing. 

Jessie

Honestly its a case by case basis. You will be able to tell when you are holding your own baby, how to end the song. Trust me, it will be 2nd nature for you to determine. It will depend on how your baby falls asleep at that particular time. Babies don’t always fall asleep the same way either. Sometimes you will be singing to your baby and either you are singing while slowly trailing off…. or just abruptly stopping.

Taking care of a child can be stressful and one of the ways that you the parent can relax is when the child falls asleep. Music is really important in that process and can make the child to gently doze off. 

Like you rightfully said we should always make sure to know the type of music and the wordings of the music we play to babies so we don’t influence them the wrong way.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Great Post! I think that music is a wonderful tool for parenting. I have also been reading about how babies are the only ones truly capable of developing perfect pitch especially from listening to classical music. This means they will develop a very interesting skill of being able to identify any pitch without reference notes. I thought this was very interesting especially relating to your point on Baby Mozart being used to make babies smarter.

I think that exposing babies to complex (yet soothing) music allows their brain to learn the fundamentals ( the notes) and that sets them up to break complex ideas into simple pieces first, which is a great way to learn if you ask me!

I think the power of music and of babies should not be underestimated. The regular repeated notes of lullaby’s or even like the rain can even work for adults because the steady beat Is very soothing and predictable so the brain can relax without having to anxiously guess what is coming next. 

Than you, this is a great post. i remembr when our eldest was frst born we tried to use white noise to get her to sleep. We had sto suffer a wholenight of washing machine noises, we soon gave that up and switched to music! Like you say, just having a parent sing is great for babies, even though I am not the most tuneful!

Babies love the sound of their parents voice. Don’t worry if you don’t have the most tuneful voice, your baby will be thrilled regardless. Trust me ๐Ÿ™‚ 

18 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.