I love to sing lullabies to my baby. I do it during wind down at night, to calm her when she’s upset, and in other quiet moments. And even with my barely-good-enough-for-karaoke voice, she seems to lap it up. She smiles and relaxes and basks in the sound of my “lullaby voice” (a lower-volume karaoke performance), and we share a moment. Sometimes, I sing an old school lullaby. But as I’m singing those lullabies, I’m thinking “These lyrics are weird and sad.” I don’t want my baby to fall out of a tree limb. And I will NEVER buy her a mockingbird. So, most of the time I sing her contemporary, or at least, from-the-last-four-decades songs that have lyrics that connect me with my daughter. Songs which express the way I feel but also are songs to which I actually enjoy listening. Here are 10 of my favorite contemporary lullabies I have loved to sing to my babies.
"Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel 1 of 10
This song is the most special to me of all the songs I sing. I have sung this beautiful song to my son since he was a day old. He's now 11, and I still try to sing it to him whenever we have a quiet moment alone. And I still get choked up, every time.
Dumbo is a Disney Classic which gives us that heartbreaking scene where Dumbo is cradled and rocked by his mother's trunk reaching through the bars of the cage inside which she is locked. It also gave us the moving song, "Baby Mine", which for me, triggers waterfalls of tears down my cheeks. Mamas will do anything to protect their babies.
This song is off the album Lovers Rock which I listened to throughout my pregnancy with my son. This song about devotion is often used at weddings but I found that it was a perfect pledge to sing to my babies. Sade's rich, soothing voice always makes me feel like standing in front of and looking out of an open window while the chiffon curtains blow in toward me in slow motion.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland 4 of 10
This timeless song written for the Wizard of Oz is an Academy Award winner. And no one could have sung it better than Judy Garland's Dorothy. However Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole's version of it is pretty amazing. My version, however, is my 9-month old daughter's favorite. I think it's because I feed her during the show though.
This song from The Muppet Movie is almost as loved as Kermit, himself. Children and adults alike respond to this song of having and pursuing dreams. The song has been covered by numerous artists including The Carpenters, Willie Nelson and Sarah McLachlan who sings one of my favorite versions.
The lyrics in the verses may sound a bit mystical, but you'll love singing the chorus to your little nugget. I always get a little too into the chorus. And by that, I mean there may be some slow head nods, and I MAY close my eyes.
This is one of those songs that is so feel-good that it makes you wish you could be in the video, which is undoubtedly full montages of laughter and games of playful tag. Though it was written as a romantic song, the lyrics are fitting for parent to baby.