Songs and sounds for baby's first month
Language development begins right from birth. Your baby can already distinguish sounds and is starting to differentiate the sounds you make as you talk and sing. I heard one new dad telling his three-week old a long and wonderfully adventurous story with vivid actions and dramatic facial expressions, while his baby watched with rapt attention. Baby talk starts now. Your baby will talk to you with little gurgling and cooing sounds. Coo or gurgle back and you'll be rewarded with a whole conversation. Sing nonsense sounds or stories to a simple see-saw melody like 'I'm the king of the castle'. Visual focus isn't great yet so move in close and enjoy lots of eye contact.
Your baby will be starting to track objects and sounds with eyes and ears. Notice how your baby's head will turn towards a sound-making toy moved from side to side across your baby's field of vision and hearing. Babies see patterns with high contrast, eg in black and white, more easily than subtle colours. Avoid playing high-pitched bells loudly or very close to your baby's ears, as they can be quite painful even to adult ears. You don't need special toys or instruments – a small piece of crackly wrapping paper, or a black and white box with some lentils or peas inside will do the trick. Here's a little song to sing as you play (from Sleepytime Playsongs).
Sleepy little baby,
You have had your rest,
Listen to the sounds around That you like best.
Listen to the East, (make a sound to one side)
Listen to the West, (make a sound to the other side)
Listen to the sounds around
That you like best.
Movement is of course a big part of month one – rocking in the arms or on the shoulder is such a natural provider of security and a wonderful precurser to sleep. There are so many wonderful rocking songs. All cultures have them. This one is from North America and one of the sleepiest I know (from Sleepytime Playsongs).
Husha bye baby, bye,
Husha bye baby, bye,
Mama's gone to the mailboat, Mama's gone to the mailboat,
Bye-o baby, bye bye,
Bye-o baby, bye bye.