Relaxing Your Baby with Soothing Music: Benefits and Ideas

Playing relaxing music for babies provides a multitude of benefits for their development, sleep, and overall wellbeing. The soothing sounds help create a calm, nurturing environment for your little one.

In this article, we’ll explore the key benefits of using calming music with babies and give you plenty of ideas for songs and activities to try!

Why Relaxing Music Is Great for Babies

Exposing babies to soothing music has many advantages that can support their growth during the first months and years of life. Here are some of the top reasons to make relaxing tunes part of your infant’s daily routine:

Promotes Better Sleep

One of the most noticeable effects of playing soothing music for babies is that it can help improve their sleep quality. The calming melodies and nature sounds allow them to relax, reducing restlessness. Music also blocks out other disruptive noises that could prevent your baby from sleeping soundly.

Research shows that listening to lullabies and classical music before bedtime helps infants fall asleep faster. It also increases the amount of time they spend in deep, restorative sleep stages throughout the night [1]. Better sleep ensures your baby wakes up rested and ready to learn and explore their world.

Enhances Brain Development

Exposing babies to music stimulates the auditory pathways in their brain. Studies indicate that music can shape the brain’s early neurological development with effects that last well beyond infancy [2].

Even simple melodies, rhythms, and patterns challenge your baby’s growing brain, helping strengthen neural connections. Music engages many areas of the brain all at once, improving functions like memory, language skills, motor control, and more [3].

Boosts Language and Social Skills

Making music a part of your daily interactions with your infant promotes crucial communication and social development. Moving to music together and singing teaches babies about rhythm, patterns, vocal tones, and other building blocks of language.

As their language comprehension grows, the lyrics and repetitive sounds of songs introduce new words and phrases. Combining music, motion, and language establishes important neural pathways that boost learning [4].

Provides a Multi-Sensory Experience

Babies learn best when they can actively engage multiple senses simultaneously. Listening to music is the auditory part, while adding instruments, song books, and fingerplays turns it into a multi-sensory opportunity.

Seeing mom or dad dance to the beat allows babies to connect sounds and movements. Varied textures of musical toys and instruments also promotes tactile development. Engaging all the senses helps cement the experience in your baby’s mind [5].

Regulates Emotions

We instinctively know that music has the power to change our mood and evoke emotions. The same is true for infants. Soothing songs can help relax and calm your baby when feeling fussy or stressed. Upbeat tunes with energetic tempos can capture their attention and generate excitement.

Music also serves as a transitional object, giving your baby a sense of comfort and familiarity. Creating a playlist of their favorite songs provides a source of security when you are not right by their side [6].

Fosters Bonding

Making music together offers a special way for you and your baby to interact, play, and bond. Singing, swaying, and introducing new sounds promotes quality time between parent and child. Shared musical experiences also reinforce the loving connection you have with your infant.

Even everyday routines can become more fun by adding a soundtrack. Folding laundry, bath time, and car rides all present opportunities for musical bonding and positive associations. Your tune-filled interactions will create memories that last [7].

Ideas for Relaxing Music for Babies

Now that you know the multitude of benefits music can provide, let’s explore some specific song ideas and genres to try with your little one at home. Here are some soothing styles that most babies respond positively to:

Soothing Lullabies

Lullabies are the ultimate relaxation tool to help calm your baby and lull them peacefully to sleep. Their slow tempos and gentle lyrics signal rest time. Try classic favorites like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Rock-a-Bye Baby” or look up lullaby compilations to find more options. Some babies prefer vocal lullabies, while others are soothed more by gentle instrumental versions.

Serene Classical Music

Many parents find success using beloved classical composers like Mozart, Brahms, Bach, and Vivaldi to relax their babies. These instrumental pieces have consistent tempos and predictable patterns babies can tune into. Solo piano works well, or try fun combinations like lullaby renditions of famous composers. Familiarity breeds comfort, so rotate just a few favorite classical pieces.

Calming Ambient Music

For a modern take, opt for ambient music designed specifically for relaxation. These instrumental pieces use synth pads, nature samples, and dreamy melodies to evoke tranquility. Look for “baby relaxation” albums with limited vocals and variety to prevent monotony. Songs incorporating ocean waves, rainfall, and other nature sounds add soothing texture.

Slow Tempo Melodies

Songs with slower tempos around 60-80 beats per minute have inherently calming qualities. Try lullabies, ballads, or instrumental tunes that sway and rock. Steady, repetitive patterns also signal to your baby’s brain that it’s time to relax and unwind. Stick to fewer chord changes as simpler harmonies are less jarring.

White Noise Soundscapes

In addition to music, recordings of gentle white noise can help mask disruptive background sounds and promote better sleep. Try tracks with rainfall, ocean waves, wind, or static to create a cocooning effect. Layer these ambient sounds underneath quiet background music for extra relaxation power. Start with lower volumes to avoid startling your little one.

Using Music with Your Baby

Now that you have plenty of music options to try, let’s explore some easy and fun ways to incorporate these auditory experiences into your baby’s routine for maximum benefit:

Bedtime Routine

Make music part of your nightly wind-down rituals for better sleep. Play a lullaby or soothing classical track when swaddling, rocking, and feeding before bed. Install a sound machine with calming music or nature sounds to play lightly as your baby drifts off. The consistency cues your baby that it’s time for peaceful slumber.

Nap Time

Just like at night, the right music can speed the transition to dreamland for naps. Try a relaxing playlist you can turn on when it’s time for your baby to go down for a snooze. Look for songs with limited vocals and lower volumes to avoid overstimulation. Adding white noise layers enhances the sleep-inducing environment.

Fussy Moments

When your baby is cranky or upset, music can shift the mood fast. Pick them up and sway while playing a beloved lullaby or upbeat song you know makes them smile. Changing focus to the song helps redirect their emotions. The motion of dancing together soothes and comforts.

Tummy Time

Add musical excitement to tummy time with fun, developmentally appropriate play. Place toys nearby that activate music when touched or crinkly song books they can flip through. Sing songs describing your baby’s actions as they grasp and push up. The soundtrack motivates continued movement and exercise.


Incorporate instruments and musical textured toys into daily playtime. Simple items like rattles, teething rings, and soft books with embedded melodies capture interest through sound and touch. As your baby grows, add stacking/nesting toys or xylophones. Manipulating instruments develops motor skills.

On the Go

Don’t forget about music time away from home! Compact toys that attach to car seats or strollers provide portable fun. Pack finger puppets and fabric books with peek-a-boo songs to entertain at restaurants. Stream playlists from your phone to make Target trips and doctor visits more musical.


Exposing your precious little one to relaxing and stimulating music brings significant benefits that can enhance their development, inspire creative play, and strengthen your bond. Use the ideas in this article to start exploring the soothing, tuneful world of music with your baby. Be sure to tailor your approach to your infant’s changing needs and reactions over time. The positive effects of shared music time will last well beyond these early months!


[1] Shoemark, H., & Dearn, T. (2015). The Effect of Lullabies on Micro-arousals During Sleep Onset in Preterm Infants. Journal of Music Therapy, 52(4), 471–485.

[2] Teckenberg-Jansson, P., & Pölkki, T. (2018). Music therapy for premature infants: Results of a pilot study on music therapy for premature infants and their caregivers in a hospital environment. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 27(2), 156–172.

[3] Trainor, L. J., Marie, C., Gerry, D., Whiskin, E., & Unrau, A. (2012). Becoming musically enculturated: effects of music classes for infants on brain and behavior. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1252(1), 129–138.

[4] Williams, K. E., Barrett, M. S., Welch, G. F., Abad, V., & Broughton, M. (2015). Associations between early shared music activities in the home and later child outcomes: Findings from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 31, 113-124.

[5] Zentner, M., & Eerola, T. (2010). Rhythmic engagement with music in infancy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(13), 5768-5773.

[6] Creighton, A. (2011). Mother-infant musical interactions and emotional communication: a literature review. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 22, 37-56.

[7] Cirelli, L. K., Jurewicz, Z. B., & Trehub, S. E. (2020). Effects of maternal singing style on mother–infant arousal and behavior. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(7), 1213-1220.