Lullaby Baby: Soothing Baby To Sleep With Music
Baby’s bedtime is a special time of day; it’s all cuddles and closeness with your little one as you say goodbye to the day together. But – it’s also a time when you realise you’ve made it through another 24 hours alive and can at last have a hot cup of tea. That’s if the event runs smoothly and there’s been no hyperactivity or fighting sleep, tears from teething or wind. If baby doesn’t want to go to sleep (and let’s admit, isn’t that most of the time?) it can be quite the nightmare, not least because you can’t comfort baby, but you’re no where near getting that hot cup of tea.
* PR GIFTED / DIGITAL ALBUMS
I speak from my own experience, of course. I think I missed the memo saying parents aren’t meant to be holding baby for the entirety of their sleep as they encounter their eighth month in the world. I’m an over thinker, a pessimistic parent, I worry about why my baby’s crying, why my attempts at soothing him aren’t working, and to be honest, probably creating a stressful environment no one could fall asleep in, let alone a tired out baby. So what gives?
Well, thankfully some pretty good lullabies are good for settling a baby. I’m quite the entertainer singing Reuben through his nappy changes these days but lullabies don’t come as easily to mind, even Twinkle Twinkle Little Star turns into a beat box version. So when a desperate Spotify search for lullabies brought up playlist upon playlist of the same old sounding baby tunes, I found this little gem that really, really works (and sounds stunning too.)
Nursery Rhymes 123, fronted by singer, performer and producer, Martha Bean, first released Lullaby Baby by digital download back in January 2016. A collection of soothing songs for settling babies, the album was a massive success, which prompted the follow up recording, Lullaby Baby Volume 2, which was launched back in the spring.
I was sent the two albums to review, and although I was already familiar with the music I straight away noticed there were bonuses in owning the albums as opposed to streaming; there’s not only an extra track on the original album, but instrumental versions of each song if you fancy playing the tracks without vocals, plus three additional piano pieces.
Martha Bean’s vocals make the Lullaby Baby albums the works of art they are. Her effortless tone, entwined with the sounds of the autoharp, piano, guitar and violin, lends the melodies a pure wholesomeness that other lullaby tunes lack. In fact, it’s incomparable. I play these albums for myself as much as for Reuben and my therapist would approve. There’s something magical about the ability of this soul soothing music.
So what’s each album actually like?
Lullaby Baby is a collection of classic nursery rhymes and lullabies you’ll likely remember from when you were young, such as: You Are My Sunshine, Lavender’s Blue and Rock-A-Bye-Baby. Performed in a gentle and pure style, each lullaby, lasting just 2-3 minutes a piece, helps create the perfect calming environment for a little one’s bedtime.
Row Row Row Your Boat is a lovely, relaxing track that especially helps Reuben to chill out. Its rhythmic hum relaxes you right down, and I find Martha’s soft harmonies a real treat to the senses.
Sleep Tight is an exclusively written piece so you’ll only find it on Lullaby Baby. It’s a noteworthy track as it’s so beautifully produced. Its softly sweet, almost melancholic tone wraps you up with a warm, cosy feel, the tip-toing of the piano keys and sweeping viola sounding romantically reminiscent of The Snowman.
You won’t find Are You Sleeping/Frere Jacques on Spotify, but I can assure you it’s worth buying the album for. Martha’s whisper light vocals blend perfectly with the delicate piano led melody and rousing soft strings melody – and the instrumental only version is just as magical. This is my favourite track of them all which I can listen to over and over again.
Lullaby Baby Volume 2 continues with the super chilled out theme, this time with a slight swing in its step, following a more folk and Irish style. Tracks include the likes of Danny Boy, Hushabye Baby, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby.
Occasionally Martha’s velveteen vocals conjure up images of an underground 40s jazz singer, before she’s right back to the free spirited country lass; styles she works effortlessly with style.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow oozes nostalgia with a magical by-gone era style; sweet and sultry vocals, and the essence of a wind up musical jewellery box.
Hush My Darling is another exclusively penned track that adds to this album’s folk flavour. It’s just a beautifully relaxing, marshmallowy soft lullaby that makes me feel like I’m floating through the clouds.
Wild Mountain Thyme is a gorgeously rich Irish piece with its breezy lyrics and rousing violin and melodica. It could be too extravagant a composition for a lullaby album, but it works. Martha keeps the sound clean and fresh, and the result is an evocative sensation.
At times I feel the tracks are maybe too engaging for babies’ lullabies; Hushabye Mountain gets quite emotionally dramatic and I find myself pricking up my ears to fully enjoy the immersive array of instruments. But, when I look down at Reuben snoozing away I realise it’s obviously not overly stimulating to fall asleep to. What remains consistent throughout both the albums, while they are both different and beautiful in their own way, are the slow tempo and easy melodies.
I absolutely love the Lullaby Baby albums, of all the baby music saturating the market it’s a breath of fresh air to find decent music that isn’t irritating and totally acceptable to listen to yourself. Personally, this music is truly an essential piece in your bedtime baby regime if you’re a parent struggling to settle your baby to sleep – and of course you. Hey, frazzled out parents deserve soothing to sleep too!
Buy or stream ‘Lullaby Baby’ and ‘Lullaby Baby Volume 2’ from:
How do you settle your baby to sleep? Have you found lullabies work? Maybe you use other methods to lull baby to sleep. Whichever way, I’d love to hear what you do, in the comments below.