Those of you who have taken my workshops know that one of the first things we talk about is how to use music to establish your routine with your baby. What would that look like? For one, singing the same lullaby every time you put your baby to sleep.
By doing this you are helping your baby associate sleep with a song that he or she will come to know well. Parents in my classes say that when they do this consistently, eventually their baby rubs his/her eyes at just the sound of the song. Yesterday a mom said when her son (2 yrs) heard her singing the song he curled up in her arms and requested to go to bed. Sounds like a dream to me.
The lullaby not only acts as a trigger, prompting the baby to prepare for sleep, but also literally soothes the baby. The music acts like a massage that relaxes the body and the baby starts to flow with the rhythm. That is why lullabies from different cultures tend to have long notes, with simple and repetitive melodies. They lull us like a swing, creating long vibrations carried by the voice.
I know this on my own skin. It worked like a charm with both of my boys. We got to the point where we could use the lullaby to trigger sleep in tough situations like the car, the airplane or the inlaws house.
And yet, last night I found myself dialing in the lullaby. Literally. I was scrolling through Facebook while supposedly singing a tender lullaby to my baby. Was she going for it? Of course not.
You’d think that with my third I would be somewhat of an expert and would have this schedule and routine stuff figured out. But we are all so busy, and can’t always devote our full attention to our kids. In my case I had had a long day and was happy to have a minute away from my sons. I was secretly using the bedtime routine with Alona as my own time to check out from momhood.
The thing is that the lullaby has another purpose. It allows us to intensely connect with our babies before the (hopefully!) long separation. Music bypasses our intellect and has a way of coming from, or releasing out of, a much more emotional place. Our babies are like emotional antennas and feel when we are stressed, relaxed, or disengaged. The lullaby is so important because it is the time for both parent and baby to say – its ok, I will see you tomorrow, we will have another day together.
You might be thinking – I don’t need to soothe myself with that thought. All I want is a nice long night of sleep away from my baby. But that is not entirely true. How many of us go look at pictures of our baby on the computer or check in constantly on the monitor after our baby goes to sleep?
So back to last night. Once I realized I was doing this I felt ashamed. Not to mention guilty of exposing my baby to countless harmful rays from the cell phone.
So I put down the phone.
I went on singing but really focused on our song together. I reminded myself that she won’t always fit in my arms, that it is only 10 minutes, and most importantly, that it will be much more affective if I give it my full emotional attention. And I did. And it was. She was asleep within minutes.
Believe it or not I actually have a song about this on my new album. If you want to hear it please go to my
Kickstarter campaign to support the making of it. I only have 4 days left! Thanks for your support.