Transitional Musical Bonding
Using the Womb Song at Home
Helping Baby Adjust to New Home Environment
The Adjustment Phase
0-6 Weeks Old
- Play your Womb Song often during your baby’s adjustment phase, that is, for about the first 6 weeks following birth. How often? As often as possible during the first week or two. Remember, you are trying to imitate the constant rhythm of the womb. Over the remaining 4 or 5 weeks reduce the frequency by about 20% per week. There are no absolute, hard and fast rules here. We do not know yet what the optimum frequency should be and each baby and family is different. Play around with determining how much baby seems to like hearing it and most critically, how much repetition you and the rest of the family can tolerate!
- One thing we do strongly recommend is: if baby sleeps in another room, keep the Womb Song playing.
- It’s so nice for your baby to fall asleep and then awaken to that familiar sound (and we have been told that it has helped regulate poor sleeping patterns).
- During this wonderful period of adjustment, baby is learning to accept and enjoy new sounds and the need for familiarity and constancy lessens. You’ll notice a few signs of whether or not newness is readily acceptable: either he/she will be at ease with newness or will fuss, break eye contact and generally let you sense discomfort with change. There is a balance to be struck between old and new. Keep the familiar Womb Song at a pleasing sound level — in the later weeks of the adjustment phase or thereafter, you can introduce variety by:
- Slightly altering your Womb Song by singing (or taping) versions which are slightly slower or faster, humming it, la-de-dahing it, using music only, etc.
- Playing or singing other Womb Songs and other types of “soft” music (lullabies, soft rock, “new age”, soft jazz, classical, etc.).
- The Womb Song should be played as much as possible in the first weeks to imitate the constant pulse and rhythm of the womb.
- Play as often as you can tolerate hearing the song yourself.
- When baby is calm or sleeping, song can be played at a volume similar to a normal conversation or lower.
- If baby is napping or sleeping in another room let song play through sleep cycle so that baby awakens to the familiar music.
- If you are playing song many hours a day, gradually decrease the frequency of the song over the first six weeks.
Help Meet Baby’s Emotional Needs
The Attunement Phase
7 Weeks – 2 Years Old
Calming Crying Baby With Your Womb Song
- Male voice may be more calming at first because it is more like the frequency of the natural womb pulse.
- Increase volume of Womb Song or voice to match or exceed the volume level of your baby’s crying.
- Do not expect immediate calming as it is usually necessary for baby to finish expressing his/her distress before shifting mood. It often takes several repetitions or more. Try shifting baby’s position at the same time.
- If there is an activity which is distressful to your baby such as diaper changing or bathing, begin song when baby is calm, before you begin activity.
- If your baby does not quiet to the Womb Song try changing the volume. Often singing more softly will do the trick.
- There may be times when the song seems very powerful in calming baby and others when it does not seem to work. Don’t give up using your Womb Song even if there are a couple of days when there seems to be a lack of responsiveness.
More Ideas for Your Womb Songs
During the Adjustment Phase and Thereafter
- Most couples find that they can calm their baby 75 to 100% of the time that the Womb Song is used. But it is important to know that it does not always work. In fact the calming effect seems to have a cyclical nature. That is, there seems to be time periods when the song has little or no influence on your baby. It may last a day or two, or a week or two. We do not know why this happens, only that it does for most couples. It is important for you to understand this so that if it does occur you will not become disappointed with your song and give up using it.
- If you enter one of these phases the best advice is to continue to try the song. If you see no response after several repetitions then discontinue for that particular crying episode. The power of the song to calm your baby will return at some point.
- Exactly how long the calming effect works, again, varies between babies. For many babies there seems to be a type of integration within their life that occurs around six months. At this time baby does not cry randomly (by our interpretation) as much. When baby cries it is for a distinctly understandable reason. When this occurs you can directly attend to baby’s needs.
- With our children, around the six month period, they would cry more vigorously when we used the Womb Song. It was as if they were saying to us, “I have something that really bothers me, don’t try to pacify me with that song, figure out what I want and make it happen”.
- On the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, many parents are reporting that they use the Womb Song with their children until after the age of one year. How long it works for you will be determined by you and your baby.
- How do you use the Womb Song to calm baby? Play or sing it at least as loud or slightly louder than baby may be crying. An occasional baby will calm better if it is played more softly than their crying. Experiment to discover what works best for your baby, and remember, it may change over time.
- If you know that a certain activity upsets your baby, such as diaper changing, try beginning the song before you begin the activity.
- Of course the Womb Song is not a substitute (there is none) for paying attention to the crying. As soothing as your song might be, nothing satisfies hunger as does food or body discomfort as does a dry diaper! And for an infant, plenty of holding, hugging and cuddling is always in order.
We have suggested that most babies seem to cry less when their environment accommodates and supports their needs (remember baby is used to instant gratification from the umbilical cord and womb). Using movement, music, touch and sound will help you reduce levels of stress and anxiety arising from over stimulation, under stimulation or simply new sensations.
Enjoy the fascination that automatically goes along with guiding your newborn through the earliest period of growth, curiosity and discovery.
- All infants differ in their responses to outer stimuli, as do all adults. They may or may not appear calmed by your Womb Song. In some instances, a hearing deficit or slowly developing nervous system may have prevented enough sound experience within the womb – and there are no right or wrong approaches.
- “Good” is whatever works. Feel free to be natural and try different ideas. But the overriding message is one of love, reassurance and stability for your new baby with generous sprinklings of smiles and genuine pleasure as you, your family and friends say “welcome to our world . . . this is only the beginning”.