The Power of Lullabies: Why You Should Sing to Your Baby

If you find singing softly to your baby at bedtime helps quiet your baby, you’re not alone. History shows evidence of parents employing lullabies as far back as 2000 B.C. That’s right: Moms have known the power of lullabies for 4.000 years. And now we’re beginning to understand the science behind why lullabies work.

You’ve probably discovered that lullabies can soothe and (sometimes) help put your baby to sleep. Lullabies use a musical time – the triple meter, or 6/8 time – that gives them a swaying rhythm like what your newborn felt in utero. The “feel” of the song takes your baby to a familiar, soothing place. Add in some actual motion and snuggling, and the quiet rhythm may of it all may ease your baby to sleep!

The Power of Lullabies

Researchers have observed lullabies have the power to do more than just soothe. Experiments conducted in neonatal intensive care units show babies have a positive physiological reaction to lullabies. In one study, premature babies had improved respiratory results, better sleeping and sucking patterns, and reduced stress (displayed through slower heart rates), when they listened to live lullabies. And another study found premature babies who listened to recorded lullabies left the hospital three days earlier than their counterparts who heard spoken word or no recordings.

Get Started with Lullabies

Some parents may worry about the quality of their singing voice, but if that’s you, take heart, babies aren’t critics. Nor are they more likely to be tone deaf as a result of a parent’s croaking. Studies show that kids can grow up to enjoy singing and carry a tune, no matter if their parents sang poorly to them. What’s important is the fact that they were sung to in the first place. We’re only beginning to understand the benefits of lullabies!

If you’re not already, consider adding a lullaby or two to your baby’s bedtime routine. Here are a few to get you started, if you need of some ideas. And don’t think you have to wait until your baby arrives to start! Research shows great advantages to playing music and singing to your baby while still in the womb.

Do you sing lullabies to your baby?

I’m a married mom of two living in Seattle, WA. I have a eight-year-old little boy, a second grader! He’s a fairly reserved kid and all about Legos and Minecraft. I also have a little girl who turned four at the end of February. She’s a tiny thing but a big ham; we call her our clown. They’re a lot of work but also a ton of fun. I love to eat, cook, and run (in that order). But at the end of the day, give me a spot on the couch and a little bit of TV or a good book, I’m done!