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Tribune readers talk about music they use to soothe babies

Published September 9, 2013 11:05 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I am working on a story about how and which music soothes babies.Tribune readers were asked how they calmed their young children. Here are some of the responses:A little Bob Marley always helps soothe my little boy. The rhythm naturally mimics that of a heart beat that he was used to before he was born. — Joe Martin, LehiI love to use the station on Pandora [called] "Rockabye Baby". They have renditions of rock music and my daughter Aven loves listening to them when we do our bedtime routine. Any Mozart is soothing to her also.— Amy Mickelson, Salt Lake CityBoth my "babies," now 12 and 4-year-old boys, have had unusual sound needs, being on the Autism Spectrum. My oldest was afraid of loud noises for years, but liked white noise — like a fan going all night. My younger son tends to sleep through a lot. But I found that both boys were best soothed, and still are, by the sound of me singing to them, whether it was lullabies, Disney classics, or radio hits. Granted, not every parent feels confident in their talent or lack thereof. But I think children feel soothed by a parent's voice anyway.— Adrienne Sweat, South Salt LakeMy kids are now 8 and 6, but when total and complete baby meltdown would happen — when the wailing was clearly not going to cease anytime soon — I would sing "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" by Louis Jordan to them. As soon as I started it, they would calm down. I recall one particularly painful car ride from the Alta ski area to downtown Salt Lake where I sang the song for 45 minuyes straight. Anytime I would try to stop, the baby would cry. I totally recommend "Jazz for Kids" with tracks from Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, Louis Jordan, Slim Gaillard and more. Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Deja Vu" album is great, as are the lullabies from "Music Together." When they are older, try "Peter & the Wolf" narrated by David Bowie.— Eugenie Hero Jaffe, Salt Lake City (and KRCL mid-day host)For colic, try "Super Mario Brothers Beat box": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v8b2CwAY44For a crying baby try "Lullaby Music with Bubbles" animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_301623&feature=iv&src_vid=xbe-oIehMDM&v=OSA_FhWBWCQHaving the baby in our arms or swaddled depending on their age and viewing the video worked wonders. It got to the point where we would just play it and our baby would immediately calm down without having to see the video.-Ruth Lowe, Sandy My father was a piano student at Northwestern University and upon graduation moved the family to Wisconsin where he taught music ... He also played music on the piano every night to put us to sleep initiating the practice when we were infants. The Steinway was downstairs, while our bedrooms were upstairs. Yet we could hear the piano every night. Following works by Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, he would inevitably get to Debussy, most specifically "Clair de Lune." Whenever I hear that work I think of Daddy playing "Clair de Lune" to put us to sleep. And it worked. He played it almost every night. It was such a soothing gift to us. Everything was all right in our house — Debussy is playing. — Arlys G. Whitaker, Park CityOur totally true, never-fail method with both of our kids (now 9 and 6) was The Flaming Lips' album "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." Except, be sure to skip the "Fight Song." We would sort of rock and dance the babes on our shoulders. It all started as Flaming Lips just happened to be heavy in our playlist back then. We noticed that our oldest, Dylan, would immediately calm down and sort of just chill each time that album was on. Both kids love the album still. We danced them to bed until we couldn't hold them anymore [because they were] too heavy ... I'm thinking a music lover like you might see the symbolic beauty of "Do You Realize,"and understand that there is both a soothing rhythm, and spacy, other-worldness to the sound of that album that a new baby would like.— Amy Keller-Bills, Salt Lake CityPushing our colicky baby outdoors in his stroller was the only way we could get him to sleep for any length of time. Not the most practical solution. One Sunday, I took him to church. The old white church had an historic pipe organ. When that organ music came booming out, I held my baby close, afraid he would be startled. Instead, he closed his eyes and went to sleep. He slept through the whole meeting. Thinking, hoping, I was on to something, I went home and dug out an unused Christmas present my parents had given us; a Reader's Digest boxed set of four 8-track tapes of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When nap time rolled around, I put one of the tapes in the player and the baby in the crib. It was magic! He slept. It worked every single time. We wore out those tapes. That baby is now a 37 year old law professor who enjoys all kinds of music.— Kristine Anderson Davies, HolladayWe have used music to get most of our kids to sleep and we usually begin to wean them off of music for bed around 3. My 13-year-old daughter used to listen to Moby's "Ambient" album on repeat from birth to when she was 3-years-old and it worked like a charm. Our 6-year-old from birth to 3 preferred the classical "Midsummers Night's Dream." Our 10-year-old liked jazz, and he slept to Thelonious Monk. Now our 2-year-old sleeps like an angel to "Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of The White Stripes." We usually put the music on repeat from 7 p.m. (bed time) till I go to bed. Most people think we are crazy putting our kids to sleep with music but it really works and it helps them sleep through the night. We tried music with vocals, but it seemed too distracting, and once we find one album that works we put it on repeat and that CD is what they listen to every night, The consistency makes it work well. Our youngest was the hardest to figure out. I always start with "Ambient" by Moby as it is most like sounds from the womb, but Jonah would not relax to it. Finally, a friend of ours gave us the"Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of The White Stripes" album and he sleeps to it better then ever and it is kind of fun as a parent to hear the lullaby renditions, I find myself singing when I walk by his room at night. — Mike Willden, West Valley City