17 nontraditional songs to sing to babies

Singing to newborns

Babies love songs. For whatever reason, it’s just the way it is. Whether you’re musically gifted or, like me, usually reserve your vocal stylings for the shower, having a baby turns just about every parent into a singer out of necessity.

For the first six weeks of his life, my colicky baby could only be soothed by my dancing and singing around the room. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that most of the songs I wanted to sing had lyrics that weren’t exactly kid-friendly. And, well, let’s face it: there are only so many times you can sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” before you just. can’t. any. more.

Out of desperation, I sat down and made of some songs that are baby-appropriate and also fun to sing. 

Here are a few of my personal favourites.

  1. Rainbow Connection (The Muppets) This one technically is for kids, but it’s really cute and not so obvious.
  2. Sea of Love (Phil Phillips) Here’s a love song that I used as a lullaby. 
  3. Hey Jude (The Beatles) So many of The Beatles’ songs are great for kids. This one has a perfect rhythm for calming down a screaming baby.
  4. Dream a Little Dream of Me (Ella Fitzgerald) This is another sweet love song that works wonderfully as a bedtime song.
  5. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) (Simon & Garfunkel) This song was my jam for weeks and my personal favourite.
  6. High Hopes (Frank Sinatra) Why are so many oldies great for babies and kids? This one has the cutest lyrics about a very ambitious little ant.
  7. Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles) Another from The Beatles. It’s a classic for a reason.
  8. My Favourite Things (Julie Andrews) For the musical lovers, this Sound of Music gem is a very sweet song for little ones.
  9. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison) The upbeat tempo of this song is ideal for bouncing a fussy baby.
  10. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Randy Newman) You’ll know this cute one from the movieToy Story.
  11. Morningtown Ride (The Seekers) I love this nontraditional lullaby, and any boy or girl who loves trains will too. I like substituting the names in the lyrics (“Grandpa’s at the engine,” “Mommy rings the bell,” and so on).
  12. 1234 (Feist) It’s no wonder why Sesame Street used this song!
  13. Downtown (Petula Clark) Another oldie that’s a fun one to sing.
  14. Banana Boat Song (Day O) (Harry Belafonte) A Jamaican folk song made popular in North America by Harry Belafonte, it’s got a great beat to dance around to.
  15. Octopus’s Garden (The Beatles) Equally, Yellow Submarine.
  16. STOP (Spice Girls) What happens to Spice Girls fans when they grow up? They sing Spice Girls songs to their babies, of course!
  17. My Girl (The Temptations) or My Guy (Mary Wells) For boy baby or a girl baby, thesesongs are simply adorable.
A note on colic

Although it seems like it’ll never end when you’re in the thick of it, remember that colic does end, and you’ll get through it. If you’re having a tough time, reach out and ask for help. If you find yourself becoming angry or frustrated, put your baby down in a safe place, such as the crib, and walk away for a few deep breaths (and maybe a good cry). Call your mom, call the nurses’ hotline, or call the doctor, but never shake your baby. Check out http://purplecrying.info/ for more information.

There are many more great songs for babies out there. Do you have any favourites?


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