Category Archives: Soothing

How to deal with our new reality

Dearest Tunester,

Here we are. A new reality. Our normal routine thrown out the window. So how do we deal with this?

Here are my two cents. At least for this week.

 

We take it day. By. Day.

It is so easy to slide into our fears. There are so many unknowns!
But worrying is an interesting thing. We worry to try to prevent something hard from happening in the future. But often we can’t control it, and meanwhile we may actually cause something hard to happen in the present – worry!!

What worry really does is distract us from what we are actually experiencing.

So let’s look around us and see what is happening TODAY.

And we’ll just go one step at a time.

 

We breathe.

Those of you in Baby in Tune classes know that I always do Three Breaths to get us into the present moment. This is such a simple technique and can make a difference in your day. It is just taking in three deep breaths and on every exhale thinking about something you are grateful for. Don’t plan it, just let whatever pops into your head come.

We are all feeling alot right now. Breathing deep can help us allow for all those feelings to exist. It’s ok. Let the feelings that are beyond words wash over you. Denying them is worse.

 

We find ways to lift us during the day.

It is so important to find your sunny windows during the day; Skyping with friends or relatives, finding some time to put everytihng aside and truly be present and play with your child, singing, stretching, jogging, reading, whatever it is.

And if you need us – we are here to add more lift to your day with your baby. We added a bunch of remote classes and they’ve been so fun and heartwarming so far. I love this community. We come together to sing. (Go to the classes page to register.)

 

We acknoledge the positives of the situation.

So many parents in our remote classes are telling us that the situation has brought them closer to their friends and community. I can say the same. Today I will be meeting with a bunch of YOU who I haven’t been able to sing with for a while because your baby started daycare or maybe aged out of my classes. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see you all again.

That is a HUGE plus for me.

Also, my kids have been joining me for some of the remote classes. It’s been so nice to sing these songs with my own babies again.

In addition, there are other benefits to this situation. While there will also be many tragedies due to Covid19, it is also making us reduce polution, reduce waste, care for each other, evaluate our health system, and even evaluate our educational system.

 

We truly take a pause.

This is an opportunity. We are being asked to slow down. To wash our hands of what we’ve been doing and go inward. Can we do it? It won’t be easy. We are used to moving fast, to having what we want at the tips of our fingers,

But I wonder if we can take some items out of our usual to-do list and allow for space? that is what is called upon us right now.

You guys, I sat for a whole hour today and did a puzzle with my kids. I don’t think I’ve EVER done that. I also played Risk with them in the morning (it confirmed my belief that it is the most evil game ever. A never ending sibling rivalry trap.) And in between I did a training for new Baby in Tune instructors and wrote a song.

So I worked, becuase I love working. But alot less than usual.

 

We care for each other.

We are so lucky to have the technology to connect remotely. We need to be practicing physical distancing. But we also have the tools to practice social inclusion. We can rely on each other more than ever as a community. Even if that means virtually.

And we can widen our circle of caring to those who need it desperately right now; Single parents,  parents who just gave birth and are experiencing even more acute post partum depression, parents who don’t have the resources to stock up on necessities, or don’t have computers to give their children access to remote learning.

 

We find some sort of routine to keep us sane.

I don’t mean having an excel sheet with an hour-to-hour plan. I mean having touchstones during your day. Breakfast, playtime, worktime, lunch, rest time, worktime, outdoor time, playtime, dinner, bedtime. That’s how it is shaping up more or less for us. How about you?

This is going to be our reality for a while. Give yourself time to find the anchors in your day so that you can reinforce them for you and your baby.

 

We keep in mind that we can get used to anything.

In a few weeks we won’t be as shocked by this new situation. We’ll be used to having the kids home all day and working from home will feel more normal.

Humans are so adaptive. We will find ways to mold our habits and benaviors to our new reality. We will make the best of it because that is what we do.

 

Before I leave you I want to invite you to how Baby in Tune can help you this week. I hope you will join us for one of these or many of these. We will be adding more to the schedule each week.

A la carte remote music classes!

Tuesday 10:00am (0-5 years)

Tuesday 12:30pm (0-7m)

Thursday 10:00am (0-5 years)

Thursday 12:30pm (0-7m)

Thursday 5:00pm (0-5 years)

Just go to the classes page to sign up. I can’t wait to sing with you.

 

Do you have friends who might want to join? Send them this post or the link to the classes page: www.babyintune.com/classes

How to relieve anxiety. And boy do we need it now.

First of all, let’s all take a deep breath.

 

There’s alot going on these days. We all seem to be teetering between-  “Omg the apocolypse!” and – “Eh it’s just the flu,”  about 10 times within an hour.

 

That takes a huge toll on our nervous system.

So today let’s see how music can help.

 

But first, a story.

 

I’m in monthly supervision with the Baby in Tune instructors and we’re having a tough conversation. 

 

We’re doing what we encourage YOU all to do in our groups – talk about your challenges openly and get support from each other.

 

Normally when we meet, besides talking about topics you all bring up, how to best lead a group discussion, and how we can improve on the music activities, we share our own insecurities and where they might get in the way of group leading.

 

The coversation was open and supportive, but it was also heavy and difficult. At a certain point we desperately needed an energy shift. We needed to release everything that had come up. 

 

So you know what we did? I bet you can guess.

 

Hell yeah. MUSIC.

 

I told the instructors about a group I had where one of the moms shared very upsetting news. After processing verbally, we turned to music to take us the rest of the way into supporting and soothing each other. 

 

The song I turn to in moments like that is “Peace like a River.” I’m not sure why, something about the simplicity of it, the predictable melody, the spiritual but not religious lyrics, does it for me.

 

It reminds me to breathe deeply, bring my focus back to my body, listen closely to the voices of others, and get out of my thinking brain and into my feeling body.

 

I asked the other instructors “What song does that for you?”

 

One mentioned “Landslide” and she sang it for us. Pause to imagine it. We didn’t even dare sing with her because we wanted to hear the calm and beauty of her voice.

 

Another said hers was “Let it Be.” This time we sang along, because we also felt the power of that song to bring us all together.

 

After a couple of songs we realized that the energy in the room had shifted COMPLETELY. We went from tension, insecurity, and anxiety, to connectedness. To feeling. To being fully in the moment and with each other.

 

So this week dear Tunesters, I’ve got two tips for you:

 

1. Share all of your fears and anxiety in our groups.  

That’s what they are there for. At this point you know that our classes are not just about singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider. And if you aren’t in our classes share with a friend or a relative.

As Tom Hanks recently said, quoting Mr. Rogers:

“If it is mentionable, it is manageable.”

But talking doesn’t get us there all the way.

 

2. When you start to feel overwhelmed, find your song.

When you are in the thick of a tough conversation, or find yourself talking about your challenges but not really feeling them, use a song. See if it can help you center, breathe into it, and feel that emotion even more. And if you’re not in a belt-out-loud appropriate place, sing it in your head. Or blast it on your headphones.

I bet you know how I would edit Mr. Rogers’ words just by listening to my music:

“If it’s singable, it’s manageable.”

 

We all have a song. Now find the one that makes you feel more powerful than the Coronavirus. 

 

Do you have a song that immediately calms you or your babe down (or, bonus points, BOTH of you)? Share with us and all the moms out there in need of a battle cry. 

 

Have you been singing Covid19 to the tune of “Come On Eileen?” If not it may be time to start.

 

Have a friend who needs to hear this? Send them the Tuesday Tune In so they can relieve their anxiety momentarily as well.

And tell them to sign up below so they can get more of these.

 

Sleep and how to get it

Dear Tunesters, 

I can talk about music up the wazoo but the fact is that your biggest chagrin is sleep. I know. That’s why I’ve dedicated this Tuesday Tune-in to sleep and how to get it. After working with thousands of parents and dealing with three babies of my own, I’ve come up with what I feel are the important elements when it comes to sleep. 

 

Did you ever imagine that you’d be thinking about sleep so much? I’m sure that these days you plan your entire day around it – when you’ll feed, when you’ll leave the house, when you (eventually) take a shower, when you eat. It’s all around the baby’s sleep

 

That’s why, from the moment they come into our lives, they RULE us. We become slaves to shuteye. And our babies become our tyrant majesties. But such cute kings and queens! 🙂

 

I’m no sleep consultant and you guys know that’s not my main focus. But I do work hard to make your relationship with your baby the best it can be and sleep is an integral part of that. 

 

Most of us struggle with this at one point or another. There are those miracle babies out there who instantly sleep well at night, but if your baby is anything like my three adorable little night-hell creatures, yours keeps you up through the night. 

 

The frustrating thing about this is that there is no absolute right way. I am sure you know that by now because it applies to all things baby. Each path you choose will have its benefits and costs somewhere down the road.

 

So I’ll share tips that are not dependent on a particular strategy (CIO, attachment, 5 minutes, etc.) but can be used across the board. But the important part is to share with each other what has worked for YOU. Please comment below and let us know so that we can do some important group sharing. 

 

So here are my tips in no particular order of importance: 

 

Tips to Better Sleep 

1.  A white-noise machine

As a musician, I am particularly sensitive to sound. So are our babies. White noise helps to simulate the sound of the womb and helps to block out any sudden noises in the environment. If you have an older kid, this is important. And if you don’t want to be tiptoeing around your own home, this is also important. 

 

2. A lovey

In psychology, the English psychoanalyst Winnicott was the first to talk about transitional objects. The idea is that these objects – like a lovey or a blankey – help our baby transition from needing to be soothed by US to being able to SELF soothe with the help of an object that replaces us.

It is basically a micro version of our work with our children in general. We slowly teach them how to be independent and less reliant on us.

I like those little animals heads with the felt body like this one. It’s nice to put it in your shirt for a couple of days before you give it to your baby so it will smell like you. 

 

3. A lullaby

If you’ve been with me for a while, this should not come as a surprise. I’m not just saying this one because I believe in the power of music to soothe, make us happier and connect us to each other. The lullaby actually does work.

Pick a lullaby; be consistent with it; and eventually your baby will associate the lullaby with sleep and will rub her eyes just at the sound of it. 

Also, it is the perfect way to really connect with your baby before the overnight separation. 

Here’s mine as an example.  Your lullaby should be a song that’s soothing for YOU too. Find one that inspires you to slow down gaze lovingly into the eyes of your babe.

 

4. A bottle before bed

No matter if you are doing sleep training or not, it’s torturous to feel like our baby is crying because she’s hungry in the middle of the night. The best way to quell our own anxiety is to give them a full bottle before bed.

When we breastfeed it’s much harder to tell how much our baby is eating and it leaves us with too many middle of the night anxiety attacks. Knowing our baby went to sleep with a full stomach means they can potentially sleep through the night without refueling.

 

5. Baby talk 

This one becomes more important after about 9 or 10 months but it’s good to start it early on.

Talk to your baby. Tell your baby that you are about to put him into bed. Calmly tell him that you are right next door; that you love him; that you will be there if he absolutely needs you, but that it is better for him and for you to sleep through the night.

The more you talk to your baby in this way, the more your baby will start to understand this.

And parents, this is also for you. Because I know that you need to hear this just as much as your baby does. Talk to you.

 

6. Laying down only half asleep

I know you hate this one but it’s true. Try to put your baby into bed when they are not fully asleep. The best time to work on this is during the day for naps when they aren’t completely exhausted from the day and neither are you.

It’s great to have a mobile in the bed that will help them zone out a little bit until their eyes finally fall closed. But this one only works if you do the next tip … 

 

7. Bedtime before overtired time

This one’s hard. It involves catching our baby before the fussy-overtired-overstimulated-monster-baby takes over.

I know. It can be hard to pick up on the cues. For that reason, especially at the beginning, It’s best to go with time intervals to really help you be aware. For instance, babies around four months old can only stay awake for about an hour and 45 minutes between naps. This means that by the time an hour and a half has gone by you should start winding down.

I’ve found that this is a universal rule-  right when our babies are their most charming, funny and engaged, is when the crash is around the corner. 

 

8. A long wind-down

Think about yourself. When you get into bed it probably takes you at least half an hour to wind down. You might do this with a book, your phone, the TV, meditation or just staring at the ceiling. Our babies are the same way. But they need us to help them wind down.

In my opinion, music is the best way to do this. But no matter what tool you use, be sure to start winding down a good half hour before you are going to put them to sleep. Start to limit the noises in the room; dim the lights; bring down your own energy; and create a calm atmosphere. 

 

9. A fade out 

Once you’ve managed to calm your baby and you’ve found the sweet spot when they are a little drowsy but not overtired, you put them into the bed successfully.

But wait.

Be sure you don’t bolt out of there. That might ruin the whole deal. Take an extra minute to slowly fade out on your lullaby, to let your energy stay soft and calm as you slowly walk out of the room. It takes willpower, time and concentration but it’s worth the effort. 

 

That’s all about getting your baby to sleep. 

Now what about keeping your baby asleep? 

 

It’s important to know that all babies wake up in the middle of the night, just as we do. Our goal is to teach them how to put themselves back to sleep without our help. 

There are so many resources out there about sleep training. So much controversy, so many different types of advice. I’m not going to tell you whether to sleep train or not. I will tell you that I needed to do it with all three of mine, despite high hopes of not needing to.

I can tell you that in my years of working with parents, it is RARE that a baby who woke up often during the night learns how to sleep through the night on his own. They usually need some type of intervening or lack of intervening.

 

All that said,  here’s what I’ve learned and I think this is most important …

 

We all have a different threshold of what we can take. 

 

Some of you absolutely needed to start sleeping through the night at 3 months. Some of you don’t mind waking up a couple of times with your one year old. Some of you hit your threshold at 2 years and decided the baby needed to leave your bed. 

We all have a different breaking point and that’s okay. It’s important to notice our own. That’s going to be the moment when you are ready to take action. Until then, there’s no point in torturing yourself about whether or not you’ll sleep train. If you aren’t at your threshold yet, then you are going to want to believe that you don’t need to do it. If you are at your threshold, you will be ready to do what it takes to get a good night’s sleep.

It takes a ton of willpower and no matter what technique you use it’s no fun. 

But even if you don’t here’s something important to remember:  This does not last forever. I don’t mean that in a seize-the-moment kind of way. I mean it in a this-nighttime-hell-will-pass way.

Eventually, probably within the year, you will go back to sleeping through the night. I promise. By that time, your baby will be a little older and things will be different than they are now. You won’t be in quite the same sleepless haze wondering what someone JUST said. 

Okay. Stop reading. Go to bed. I hope you got some good sleep tonight.

And if you get woken up tonight sing your baby THIS. It is the only protest song I’ve ever written.

So we all REALLY want to hear – What is your best sleep trick? Comment below and tell us.

 

Does your friend need this list?  Send them the Tuesday Tune In.

And they can sign up for more below:

 

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

Parenting Mistakes Through the Eyes of an 8 Year Old

In today’s Tuesday Tune-In I’m going to give you the secret to parenting. 

It’s true. It makes all the difference. And if you ask your kids, they’ll say I’m right. It was actually my son who really drove this lesson home for me. A couple of years ago, he started writing a book that he called “Parenting Mistakes Through the Eyes of an 8 Year Old.”

Clearly, he had a whole book’s worth of material. 

 

That said, Lesson One was simple and important for us all to learn. Actually all the chapters came down to one main idea:

 

Be playful.

 

Or in his own words: “Parents need to be more silly, lighter about things.” When I asked him what he meant, he said, ”Let’s do a role play.” 

 

Example 1: Not Playful

He went to lie on the couch and told me to call him to go to the shower the way I normally do. I did, in a straightforward way,  and he said, “I don’t want to go.” And kept lying there. I said, “Please go to the shower so that we can have dinner.” He said, ”In a few minutes.”

 

Indeed, that was an annoyingly good illustration of how it normally goes.

 

Then he said, ”Okay, let’s try it again. This time, try to be more FUN about it. Find a way to turn it into a game.”

 

Example 2: Not Playful Enough

This time, I called him again with kind of a silly voice and did a silly dance along with it. 

 

He said, ”That’s not it. Try again.”  

 

(Side note: do the rest of you have parenting coaches at home or am I the only one? Is this retribution to me being a kind of a parenting coach?)

 

Example 3: Playful

Finally, I went over and said, ”I’m going to tickle you if you don’t get up right away and run into the shower. You better go quick!” Immediately, he started laughing. Then I tickled him and said, ”Let’s see if we can jump the whole way there.” He got up and started jumping.

 

That day, he reminded me of a lesson that we all need to keep in mind ALL of the time. Our kids want to play. They want to have fun with us. They want to be silly and they want US to be silly. And this is for ALL ages, from tiny babies to attitude tweens.

 

Here’s the thing.

 

Things tend to be very serious all the time in our very important worlds. We get caught up in day-to-day tasks that weigh down on us. Our kids see us working very hard to get things done – to feed them, bathe them, make sure they’re healthy, make sure we get our own stuff done, and put them to sleep. We can get pretty bogged down in a mode of checking things off of our list. 

 

So – We all need a reminder. And I am a girl who loves a challenge. 

 

I challenge you to be playful. 

 

See if you can turn small moments into a game and bring out your silly side whenever possible.

 

But there’s more to this. I’m not just suggesting to be silly. I’m recommending you to do it when you least want to. Right at that moment when your kid pushes back the most – when they are at their most intolerable, irrational and defiant.

 

It’s right at that moment – when WE may be our most tired, most frustrated, and most spent – that we need to remember this approach.

 

Here’s the scenario: You’re trying to get your toddler’s shoes on to get out the door. You’re late to wherever you’re going. Your child has already wanted to change outfits three times, has thrown tantrums over lunch and does NOT want to put on shoes.

 

You just want it to end. A part of you wants to force the damn shoes on the toddler and get going. But you also know that if you do that there are probably 3 more tantrums waiting around the corner.

 

You have no resources left. You feel depleted.

 

This is when I want you to dig even deeper and find that playful place within you. Find a way to be funny, to be silly, to turn it into a game, and to play.

 

I promise you that you will get out of the door so much faster than if you force it.

 

Now I want to hear from you. What are some ways that you turn a tough moment into a fun moment? Comment and don’t hold back because that is when we all need it the most.

 

Know a parent having a rough week? Forward this silly solution to them.

 

Finally, know a book publisher? Send me their info. I think this could be a huge hit . Seriously.

 

Here’s a way to get your friends on this list so they’ll have the secret to parenting too:

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

The real reason I don’t spend time with my baby

Dear Tunester – Today I want to talk about a topic that’s both painful and beautiful: Time. I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase, “I don’t have time.” 

 

As in: “I don’t have time to spend time with my baby.” Or “I don’t have time to do music with my baby.” – I need to do laundry, work, dishes, shower, eat, feed, put to sleep, and a thousand other things.

 

I can’t help but wonder though: Is it true that we don’t have time? In many ways, absolutely. Taking care of a baby and kids is a FULL-TIME job. No doubt about it. But also … 

 

Is it possible that we use time as an excuse?

 

Let’s explore that for a minute. Are we avoiding hanging out with our kids in a meaningful way? Are we saying, “I don’t have time” but really meaning to say, “I don’t want to”?

 

Pause. 

 

I’m going to stop here for a minute and say that this blog post has been extremely hard for me to write. I’ve already spent more than 3 hours staring at the screen. And when that happens it is always an indication that this one is an issue that runs deep for me. So let’s continue but just know that I am right there with you if you are feeling it.

 

So – if time is an excuse to NOT hang out with our baby – why are we avoiding our baby?

 

Let’s explore some of the reasons that came up for me. I would love to hear yours in the comments below.

 

  1. It’s boring. Being with a baby or kid can be repetitive. One more time playing hide and seek; one more time jumping on the bed or tickling or singing that one song.
  2. It’s tiring. It’s a lot of physical work. Certainly for the first two years it’s all physical labor – picking them up, putting them down, dressing them, feeding them. Even after that it’s very tiring physically. Running around the playground, playing catch, throwing them around. One more push on that darn swing.
  3. It takes a different mindset and can feel isolating. There isn’t the shared understanding we have with grown-ups that allows us to tune out together in the same way or take things for granted in the same way. It is comforting to be with a grown-up who has a similar outlook merely because they’ve been in the world for a longer time. We are not surprised by the same things our kids are. (Side note: This same reason is also what makes hanging out with kids and babies so fantastically refreshing. They are surprised by things we already take for granted. We get an opportunity to experience even mundane things anew with them.)
  4. It involves self-sacrifice. Being with our babies and kids involves letting go of our own needs a bit. Although we strive to maintain our whole selves with them, their urgent needs take over. Kids are self centered and narcissistic and that is how they should be. But it means relinquishing ourselves a bit when we are with them.

 

It’s ok to feel these things. It’s ok to not want to be with our babies all the time. And it is important to explore all the reasons why. 

 

So we know why we DON”T want to hang out with them. 

 

And I know you know why we DO want to hang out with them. 

 

In fact, I’ve spent my career trying to put those feelings into song. It’s impossible to describe the joy that we receive as parents and we never even came close to before. That profound joy is amplified because we watch our kids grow so fast right in front of our eyes. With every new ability and new shoe size, we feel that we are mourning the bliss that came right before.

 

So this whole thing is tragic really. 

 

We want to be with them so badly. But we also don’t. 

 

It is unbearable and sublime all at once.

 

And that tension, and the fact that our babies are the ultimate reminder of time passing and the moments slipping through our fingers, makes it all too hard. 

 

So what do we do?

 

We do what we are doing here together. We acknowledge the difficulty. 

 

We forgive ourselves. We try to satisfy our need not to be bored, tired, isolated and sacrificed. We do this on our own or with friends and family. And then we go and sit with our time-lapsed capsules of joy.

 

What else are we saving our time for? What else is more important?

 

As my time in this career passes, I’ve realized that my mission – beyond helping you feel more confident as parents by giving new tools and techniques – is to remind you and myself that indeed we don’t have time and we’ll never have time. 

 

Time is not something we can have. What we do have is connection and touch, and feelings and breath. 

 

This is why I made The Baby in Tune Online Class (and all the classes). 

 

It isn’t about solving an urgent problem – although it helps you learn how to soothe baby, put him to sleep, and make your day wholly more fun.  More than that, it is about helping you feel, touch, breathe, and sing with your baby. It is about finding time to be with your baby fully.

 

Our babies ask us for one thing: Our time. 

 

That’s all they want. They want us to be with them.

 

So why is music the key to this conundrum?

 

 

Because it inherently brings us into the moment through FEELING, and BREATH, and being in SYNC, in a language that our baby understands and that we intuitively speak.

 

Let’s learn together how to do it in a way that feels just as nourishing for us as it is for them.

That’s what I am here to help you do.

 

Do you know someone who could use a step by step guide on how to BE with their baby in a way that is enjoyable and enriching for both? Send them to this link or buy them my brand new online class.

 

Do you know someone who really needs a weekly check in on all things parenthood and music? Send them the link below so they can join the Tuesday Tune In.

 

Do you resonate with the tragedy of wanting to be with your baby but also NOT wanting to be with your baby? Comment and let me know.

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

I just did something awesome/crazy/scary

I’ve got some big news for you all and it deserves its own Tune In, not even on a Tuesday.

Do you have non-New Yorker friends or family who you wish could have taken my class with you?

Do you work 9-to-5and wish you could have taken my class if time was limitless?

Now. Everyone. Can.

After almost 10 years of classes, I’ve finally gone and done it: I’ve created a digital class!

 

The Baby in Tune Online Class

WHAT IS IT? A downloadable, six-week video series that teaches parents and babies how music can help them connect more deeply and joyfully.

As each parent self-navigates the curriculum, they also log in for weekly live meetings with myself and the group so we all develop a class community.

Participants also receive supporting materials from PDF instructions to song videos.

WHO IS IT FOR? Moms or dads with babies 0 to 12 months.

WHY DID I DO THIS? Two reasons.

To give parents who would otherwise not be able to take this type of class, access to the incredible connective power that music can have on a family.

Also, candidly, for me to be less tied to one city and open up the opportunity to travel with my family while still growing my passion project/business.

HOW DO I JOIN? Attend a FREE online workshop that will give you a taste of what we’ll cover in The Baby in Tune Online Class.

Registration for the Online Class will open Nov 6. Make sure to subscribe to my email list so you’re first to hear.

I think you know this but it’s worth restating: I really believe in what I teach.

I know that music is the perfect modality through which to connect to our babies.

It makes us instantly more present and more connected. I’ve felt this firsthand with my three babies and in class with you and your babies.

It’s a language we all understand. Babies included. And it’s a tool we can use to help our little ones feel soothed, sleepy, safe and happy.

And it’s just a lot of good fun.

Now I can share all of this knowledge with more parents. Cue happy dance!

You helped me hone my craft. So I turn to you first with this big news.

Share this with your pregnant friends!
Share this with your new-mom friends!
Share this with your second-time dad friends!
Share this with your cousin in Montana or your college friend in London.
Share this with your doula!
Share this with your prenatal yoga teacher!

I feel like you get the drift.

Share this with anyone who you think would appreciate the joy connecting to their baby with music. This is the perfect way to do it from the comfort of their own couch. Which is where this whole thing started anyway – with me singing to my first son on our little couch.

And now. All this. And more to come!

 

Love,

Vered

What’s so good about music, anyway?

Dear tuned-in parents,

As you know, I’m sold on music as a way to communicate with our babies.

Let’s say I’m a 10 out 10.

This Tuesday Tune-in is for any of you who are floating around a 6 out of 10.

Basically this is for those of you who are saying: “I feel like my baby responds to music but how can I be sure that it is the most effective way to soothe, play, enrich, and communicate with my baby?”

Today, I want to break it down so you can see why I’m a 10 out of 10 all the way.

Let’s start with the research. If you know me, you know that my background in psychology makes me quite the research lover/nerd.

Studies show babies who hear music respond to it, notice its patterns, prefer to be in sync with it, like it more than spoken words, sleep better with it, feel soothed by it and increase their language development.

Now, don’t just take my word for it. Read on to see what happened when these studies were performed…

 

1. Babies respond to music even before they are born.

While you were pregnant, you may have read some blogs telling you to put music headphones on your belly because your baby was listening. How do they know that? Because studies like this one in 2013 have shown that little ones remember the music that was played for them in utero.

Their responses were shown through heightened alertness, lower heart rate and fewer movements when they heard the music again.

 

2. Musical patterns and changes can be detected by babies.

This study is so cool. Our babies are little maestors.

Neuro research has shown that newborns could detect when a downbeat was missing from a drum pattern. You can see this by the change in brain activity during this 2009 study.

It means that babies possess a cognitive skill called beat induction, a uniquely human trait that allows us to detect and follow rhythmic patterns.

 

3. It’s not just adults that like moving to the rhythm.

You can dance, but you wonder – can your baby?

You’ve seen her kicking her legs and you could have sworn it was to the beat. Well it turns out it was.

A 2014 study shows that our babies are listening closely to the music around them and that they have a preference for being in sync with what they hear.

Not only that, they can MODIFY their movements according to the beat. WOW!

Another take away from this one-  Your baby prefers to be in sync with the external rhythm. So when you are bouncing your baby, she prefers you to bounce to the rhythm of a song .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Mama, dada: Don’t say it. Sing it.

Ever feel like your infant listens longer when you sing to her instead of speak to her?  This 2017 study proves you’re right.

It was performed with 6 to 10-month-olds and speculated that the reason might be that song holds more emotion and babies are aware of that.

I’d add that babies prefer to hear the voices that they heard in utero, which are yours.

 

4. Music helps babies sleep.

Preemie babies in the NICU who are given music interventions have been found to sleep better, according to this 2016 study.

 

5. Babies feel soothed by music.

I don’t have to tell you that this is significant. This is what we spend much of our days doing in different ways: Soothing baby.

This 2003 study shows that a mother’s singing to her babies has the power to regulate her babies emotions – to calm and soothe them.

 

6. Music makes us – babies and parents – happier.

This happens through the release of endorphins, both for the baby and us.

 

7. Playing & interacting with music improves language development.

Finally, studies like this 2012 one show that babies’ brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk.

(And I know of a pretty great music lesson for babies you might want to try 🙂

 

So let’s recap.

  1. Our babies are born with a sensitivity to music. You could even say that music is innate. This is a uniquely human quality.
  2. Our babies can and prefer to be in sync with the music they hear. You could say but our babies are born with an ability and a love to dance to music.
  3. Our babies prefer hearing us sing rather than speak. This is matters If you are thinking about the best way to communicate with your baby it’s going to be through melody rather than speech.
  4. Our babies feel happier when they hear music.
  5. Our babies feel soothed when they are sung to.
  6. Our babies improve language development through music.

 

That’s why I’m a 10 out of 10 when it comes to my confidence in music being the best way to connect with your baby.

But that’s not all!

The benefits that apply to your baby with music also apply to you.

We also feel regulated when we hear music. It can make us feel happier as well as calmer. And you already know that a happier and calmer parent makes for a happier and calmer baby.

 

I’ll leave you with this quick visualization:

Imagine you were saying to your baby, “I love you, now go to sleep.”

Now imagine you’re singing it: ” I love you, now go to sleep.”

Be honest. Is the second version more emotional? More soothing? More connected to your baby?

 

If the answer is yes, then you know exactly you are on the right path. That a musical journey with your baby is a beautiful way forward.

Play devil’s advocate for me. Why else do you feel less than 10 out of 10 in using music to connect with your baby? Comment so I don’t think everyone thinks like me!

Know another research lover/nerd? Send them this post and make their data-filled days.
They can sign up for the Tuesday Tune In right here:

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

Step one to a happy baby

Dear tuned-in parents, 

Today it’s all about you. It’s time to time to tune in to YOU.

As you know, attachment theory shows that in order for parents to be emotionally available to develop a secure bond with their baby, they need to have THEIR needs met as well.

And in case you’ve forgotten what your own needs include, that’s everything from how much you move each day to how many colors are on your lunch plate and, definitely, how many Zzzs you’re getting. 

 

So it’s time to take inventory.  A 3 minute check-in.

It’s like sixth-grade honor code: You grade yourself. 

I can tell you for myself, that every now and then I get thrown off course and I need a little nudge to set me back.

When I had little babies at home this was especially true. I definitely didn’t sleep enough. I didn’t do yoga or the gym. And I constantly ate the leftovers from my kids’ plates. Is that you? Then let’s do this.

 

I’m just going to give you a quick checklist so you can go through and see how you’re doing.

Sometimes there are easy fixes that we can make and it’s nice to have someone we trust remind us to do it. 

 

  1. How many hours of sleep are YOU getting?

This is a huge topic, I know. Many of you are in the trenches with sleep training or just hoping your baby will start to sleep REALLY soon – once they stop teething, coughing, pooping untimely or forget the old pacifier.

By far your own sleep is your biggest challenge. I know this first hand and I know it from listening to your challenges each week in class. 

 

Good news: There are some things that you can do.

First of all, you can put that Netflix show aside at night and get into bed early. I know that is way easier said than done. When I am addicted to a show (like Fleabag – love it!) I go to sleep every night at midnight.

Not only am I tired the next day but I am shorter with my kids and my body is much more achy. It takes a ton of willpower to Just. Go. To. Bed.

But we can do this. I know we can. Try to make your bed a non-screen zone and get into it no later than 10:00pm. Fine. 10:30pm. I promise you will be a happier person and a better parent. 

 

Here’s a tip: Make it hard for yourself to watch. Put the computer in the other room. Unplug the darn TV. Turn off the phone so you aren’t enticed. Listen. I am telling myself these things, too. I know it’s not easy.

 

(And – look out for a blog post solely about our favorite subject coming soon…SLEEP)

 

  1. How ALIGNED (not toned) does your body feel? 

You probably don’t have too much time to go to the gym right now so I’m not even going to suggest it. But I want to give you two tips that will make all the difference. 

 

First, do 15 minutes of stretching a day. Holding a baby is a TON of physical work. It is a huge strain on your body. Stretching for 15 minutes or even 5 minutes a day will help you feel so much better. You can do the strengthening another time.

For now, take care of your body and be kind to yourself. Try to find time to do either yoga stretches or deep breaths. 

 

Here’s another tip that I found extremely important while I had little babies: Stand up straight; put your bag on the other shoulder every now and then; bring your chin back slightly so that your neck is long and lift your chest.

By the time I was done with the constant holding phase for each baby I felt my body straightening out the way Keyser Söze did at the end of “The Usual Suspects.” My body went from all crooked and suddenly I was walking straight. 

Try not to make the same mistakes I made. 

 

  1. How KIND are you being to yourself? 

If you’re anything like me during days of having little babies, then you are having extreme highs and lows often in the same hour. Our hormones go a little wild after we have babies, especially if breastfeeding is involved.

So, first of all, know that this will not last forever. This is not your new state as a parent. I promise you will feel more emotionally stable as time goes on.

During this time please be kind to yourself. During any time really. You are working hard to tune into your babies and kids. Now I’m asking you to turn that same level of compassion and patience towards YOURSELF.

 

To your baby and your loved ones around, you are probably saying a version of “I love you. I’m listening.” Today, I’d like you to do the same for yourself.

Take a moment. Take some deep breaths. And say to yourself, “I love you and I am listening.” Now, see what comes up. 

 

See if you can put your thoughts into a feeling in your body. If you’re thinking about a particular frustration with someone or something, where does that sit in your body? Now put your hand there and hold it lovingly. 

You do so much soothing for your baby. You need just as much soothing yourself to keep at it. 

 

  1. When is the last time you asked for help? 

Here’s the final one for today. Please ask for what you need.

Ask your partner to get up in the middle of the night instead of you. Ask your parents to help out if you need them or stay away if you need more space.

Ask your friends to check in more often and be sure to tell her the best times to do so. One woman in my class had a friend who always checked in during the witching hour. The mom loved speaking to her friend (who was not a mom) and didn’t want to miss out on those calls. At the same time, she needed her friend to know how different her life now was and that her needs had changed. 

Usually when we tell people what we need they are grateful. We all want to be helpful and have a little superhero moment. Give those around you that opportunity. Let them know where they can swoop in and Save the Day. 

 

To sum it up: Instead of watching an admittedly hilarious 60-minute TV show, dedicate 20 minutes to your own needs (stretch & hold space).

And then go to bed. Immediately to bed. No sweeping. No folding of things. Do not pass Go. I’m quoting board games now which means maybe I need a bit of sleep, too?

And if even reading this gives you a headache because you are so far from being able to take care of yourself right now (trust me, I’ve been there,) then ask for help. People want to help you.

 

I hope hearing this helps you find a way to feel a little bit healthier and happier. 

 

If it did, let me know which of these mental-health prompts did you need to hear today? Maybe you didn’t realize it until you read it. Comment and let me know so I can ask more parents.

 

Have a friend who might need to hear one these tips for the good of themselves and their household? Forward this their way and have your own Save the Day moment.

 

AND – here’s a fun thing. Are you wondering what the best bedtime routine is for you and your baby? Take this QUIZ I put together to find out.

And maybe your friends need a little bedtime help? Send them this link and maybe they’ll thank you tomorrow morning 🙂

The Baby in Tune Bedtime Routine Quiz.

 

 

This song is magic

 

Dear in tune parent,

If you have taken my class you know the soothing song and probably use it quite a bit. It works, and you’ve told me it can be a life saver.

 

But today I’m  not talking about the soothing song to get you though the tough moments. This song is even more special than that. Read on, friend.

 

Here’s the scenario: Last weekend, we went on a camping trip with friends and family. A minor tragedy happened when a rock got thrown at my daughter’s face, right by her eye.

 

As you can imagine, she immediately turned into a puddle of tears. The blood, the shock, the pain, the fear. So we hugged, we examined we made sure no major harm was done. 

 

And right then, I knew I needed to pull out my most powerful soothing tool. It goes beyond the hugs and the kisses.

 

It’s probably obvious by now – knowing me – that it was a song. But not the one you think it was.

 

It’s NOT a soothing song.

 

It’s OUR SONG – a song that’s just for me and my child. 

 

You know that song for you and your partner that makes you melt and say “That’s our song!” You need one of those for you and your son or daughter. 

 

How to find YOUR SONG

 

To set up your most powerful soothing tool, choose a song that you associate with feeling happy and connected. For me and my daughter, it is “You Are My Sunshine.”

 

Find moments to sing it in which you are both content and present. Perhaps in the morning, during bath, as you are walking with the carrier or just playing on the floor. Sing the song often so that it encapsulates the joy of being together. 

 

That moment for us is in the shower. Since my daughter was a baby, I have been singing “You Are My Sunshine” to her as I hold her and she rests her head on my shoulder, while we feel the warm water hitting our heads and shoulders.

 

Those moments are precious to us both. We both feel relaxed and soothed by the water and feel connected and peaceful together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The more you do this something magical will happen.

 

Since that song will be associated with PEACEFUL moments, it will be waiting to help you when you need to soothe your baby. 

 

It is your most powerful tool so use it sparingly.

 

I suggest using it only when you really need it so that it keeps its place in your hearts as a fully positive experience. If you use it for soothing too much, then it will turn into something else a bit.

 

BUT for those moments when you need it most, it will be waiting for you.

  

So back to our day by the lake. The reason the song worked to soothe her was not just because music is soothing and I was rocking her to the rhythm of the song.

 

Even more than that, it worked because we both associate that song with feeling happy, connected, calm, warm, and alone together in a bubble.

 

As I sang it to her by the lake, it elicited all of those feelings and that’s what truly soothed her.

 

Music has the power to tap into our deepest bonds — if we let it. 

 

So now tell me: What song makes you feel happy and connected? Do you already have YOUR song? If so, share which one it is! We need inspiration. COMMENT BELOW.

 

Now that you know how to find your song, what moments of the day do you plan to sing it to your child and strengthen your connection? COMMENT BELOW.

 

AND – here’s a fun thing. Are you wondering what the best bedtime routine is for you and your baby? Take this QUIZ I put together to find out.

 

And maybe your friends need a little bedtime help? Send them this link and maybe they’ll thank you tomorrow morning 🙂

 

www.babyintune.com/quiz

 

 

Ready? Let’s tackle tantrums

Dear tuned-in parents,

To begin today’s Tuesday Tune-In, I want to tell you how my morning went. Spoiler: It has nothing to do with music and everything to do with tantrums – a parent’s least favorite sound.

Everything was normal to start. I gave the kids morning hugs – my eldest on the couch, my other son on the floor playing and my daughter in her bed. All was well.

And then something flipped.
Peaceful lapping waves raged into a storm and, yes, a tantrum was brewing.

Listen: Toddler tantrums are not all that different from school-age tantrums. They can look a bit different, with more reasoning available, but they take shape a lot like a toddler kicking and screaming on the floor.

The details are never the important part. Suffice it to say that my son was not getting what he wanted. And I was not prepared to budge in that particular moment. Yelling, door slamming, and aggression, too. And then he found a way to exert his ultimate control -A hunger strike.

So what do we do? Both with our toddlers and with our older kids?

Here’s the simple answer: We give them space to have the tantrum.

Pause for a moment. Let’s consider what this means. I don’t mean we watch them having the tantrum and wait for it to end while we boil inside. I mean we truly give them the space to express their emotions in the only way they can at that moment.

After we’ve tried to reason, emphasize and help; we need to accept.

It helps to remember that tantrums are appropriate.

Our kids are desperately trying to understand how much control they have and where the boundaries are.

They are looking to us to hold up limits so that they can feel safer. They want to know that not everything is possible and that we, their caregivers, will keep them safe.

I always think of the image of a pantomime.
You know how they walk around doing that move with their hands pretending there’s a glass wall. That’s what our babies are doing. Constantly asking: Is this where the wall is?

Parenting educator Janet Lansbury has a way to understand types of tantrums that really resonated with me.

She talks about three types of tantrums for toddlers in her work but I find it fully applicable to even my ten-year-old.

(Because you are all awesome you answered my call for pics of tantrums and delivered big time. So these three types will be accompanied by some real life visuals ala the Tune-iverse.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Types of Tantrums

1. Unarticulated Basic Needs

Overview: The toddler wants something like food water or sleep, but because he is not fully articulate and does not always know to ask for things, he gets to the point where it is too late and now he’s been pushed over the edge. He is too hungry or tired.

Response: In those moments, we empathise and try to give them what they need.

We could say something like: “Wow. I see that you were really hungry and it was hard for you to tell me that.”

I don’t know about you but my big kids definitely get to that point as well – and they can speak just fine.

In this situation, we can try to stay calm by reminding ourselves that it is totally natural for our kids to behave this way when they are in this state.

Of course, we can try to preempt it but every now and then we’ve got places to get to and other kids to tend to and we’re not always able to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Unreasonable Wants

Overview: The toddler is in a tantrum where the demands are unreasonable. Perhaps the toddler is trying to break out of the tantrum but is not succeeding. That’s when your toddler wants a particular cup and when you bring it he throws it away and wants a different cup.

Response: In those moments, Lansbury suggests that we breathe and we take care of ourselves. We need to trust that the tantrum needs to happen right now. Our job during the tantrum is to keep our baby safe.

These storms pass when we allow them and when we don’t push back on it or try to fix it. Easier said than done I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Power Assertions

Overview: This is when we’re setting a limit or we’re saying no to something that we feel is important – whether it’s a safety, educational or health reason. (this is where I was at this morning.)

Response: We stick to our limits during these tantrums.

The important part is not to change our minds because we feel uncomfortable with the screaming and crying.

When we do that we can make them feel that their feelings scare us in some way. We give them the message that we will rescue them from these difficult feelings. In doing that, we teach them that if they push those down, then the boundary might move.

If we can keep our limits and show our children that it is ok to have feelings around it, then we teach them that we think they are safe there.

The bottom line with each of these types of tantrums?
We, as caregivers, need to know that is okay for kids to have them.

It’s okay for them to have difficult emotions. The more we can allow space for it without trying to fix it the more our children will know that it is perfectly safe to have those emotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what happened with my son?

When I picked him up from school, he ran over and gave me a big hug. We embraced for a while.

I said, ”We didn’t get to say goodbye properly.” He said, ”I know. And I regretted it all day.” (Isn’t nice that he is old enough to say that? It is in your future!)

I told him that it is ok that he got angry at me. That I just wanted him to be safe.

We agreed that next time we would try to say goodbye in a nicer way no matter what, even if we are still angry and may need to continue to work it out later.

I told him the bottom line: ‘I love you so much no matter how angry you get, how many doors you slam, and despite the sandwich you left at home.

But let’s work on expressing your anger in a more productive way before you turn into the hulk.’

So you tell me – Do these types resonate with you? which one of them have you survived recently ?

Comment so we can all work through one of the toughest parts of parenting together.

Know anyone struggling with responding to tantrums? Send them this hunger-strike story so they feel less alone. Power to the parents.


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