3 Reasons This Mom Loves to Listen to Heavy Metal with Her Baby

I’m happy to welcome Momtastic guest poster Allie Diltz, who blogs at Hey Mom, Now What?, with an interesting perspective about babies and music choices:

blue-jeans-boy-child-164835It seems like so long ago now that I was pregnant with my first baby. I was 23 years old, fresh out of college, and had my first real job working in the Pathology Department at a large medical center about an hour away from my house. I had this long morning commute down I-89 in Vermont, all interstate driving, newly pregnant and exhausted. This was back in 2001, pre-children, when I had extra money for things like a real kick-ass stereo system in my car. I would leave my house at the crack of dawn to be at work over an hour away, and I relied heavily on loud music to keep me awake. My favorite CD (remember those?) to listen to at the time: Machine by Static-X.

 Fast-forward eight months or so later, I had a new baby girl, all dimples and brown eyes, and she LOVED to listen to Static-X. My own mother would be astonished because there would be times that baby girl would only calm down and sleep when I put Static-X on for her to listen to. Seems a bit ridiculous, right? I’m sure that many of you are thinking two things: What the Hell was I thinking? and Why did that particular music calm her down? Well, she heard it so much in the womb while I was driving back and forth to work that she remembered it, and it was soothing to her.

Before you all decide that I must be absolutely crazy, let me explain why this makes sense to me and worked for all five of my babies.

Reason 1: Baby Mozart Was A Popular Fad, But Proven To Be A Myth

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of marketing to parents about the positive effects of classical music, specifically Mozart, on the brains of infants. The hypothesis was that when babies listened to mathematically complicated music, there was an immediate identifiable effect on their ability to identify shapes and colors. There was also some “evidence” that babies who listened to classical music were happier, calmer and overall more intelligent than non-exposed infants. And BOOM, the major industry marketing classical music in all forms to parents was born.

I bought into this myself, literally. I filled my baby shower registry with Baby Mozart, Baby Einstein and other related trendy products. I was absolutely sure that I would be able to use classical music as a platform on which to build my baby girl’s IQ and ensure that she would be a happy, well-adjusted child. I spent a lot of money on products that were being marketed towards new parents who were determined to produce the best baby that they could.

 Well, guess what? The so-called Mozart Effect stemmed from a study that was done in 1993 where the researchers were investigating the effect of music increasing IQ on college students, not infants. They were trying to determine if there was any correlation between test scores and listening to classical music while studying. They did find a positive correlation, but it typically only lasted for 15 minutes following being exposed classical music, and showed a modest increase of about 8-9 IQ points. In 1996, a meta-analysis of 16 different studies on the effects of classical music to the brain was done at Harvard University. This study determined that there was a very brief and modest effect to the brain by ALL forms of music. Another study that did use children as subjects again showed a very small positive correlation between Mozart and children being able to name shapes. This same study, however, also demonstrated that other forms of music, including the band Blur which was popular at the time, had a stronger positive correlation than classical music.

I’m sure you’re asking how Heavy Metal fits in to this discussion (I am using this term loosely to cover a wide range of metal genres). Mozart, and classical music as a whole, is renowned for the complicated mathematics behind the music. Regarding this, there is research evidence that supports the stimulating effect of mathematically complicated music to the brain. However, classical music is not the sole providing genre of mathematically complicated music.

Fun Fact: I was a classically trained Percussionist when I was younger. All through high school, I was part of Youth Orchestras, nationwide music festivals, and was even accepted to perform with the United States Youth Ensemble. I was pretty good, and preparing for college auditions in my senior year when an injury to my arms put an end to my music career. Having been a percussionist, I spent hours upon hours studying tempo, time signature and rhythm. As a Metal lover, I can attest that there are some bands that produce uncommonly mathematically complicated music. Have you ever really tried to figure out the fluctuating time signatures to Schism by Tool? Have you listened to the overlapping layers of syncopation in Do Not Look Down by Meshuggah? It makes my brain hurt trying to map it out! But I love it. It stimulates my brain, makes me really pay attention and draws me in.

Your take away from these findings: All forms of music have been shown to have positive, albeit brief, effects on cognitive functioning.

Reason 2: Lullabies Are Soothing For A Reason- Tempo and Time Signature

Why are lullabies soothing to infants? Well, think about this. Hum “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Ring Around the Rosy” to yourself… feel the similarities? Lullabies have a slow, rocking rhythm that makes you want to sway back and forth. Moms, you know what I am talking about. You’re holding your baby while standing, and you unconsciously begin to rock side to side on your feet, slightly twisting at the hips.. You’re thinking about how it feels right now, aren’t you? This motion is what I fondly call “The Mom Sway” and it’s the repetitive motion that is ubiquitous among mothers all over the globe. Why do we do it? It soothes our babies. Why is it soothing? Because it mimics the motions and sensations of being in our wombs. It’s comforting, warm, and safe. Heck, I even like it as an adult when my husband holds me and sways like that!

Lullabies are not the only kinds of music that can make us sway and rock in this manner. There are softer forms of Heavy Metal that have tempos and time signatures very similar to lullabies and that inspire that slow rocking motion. One of my particular favorites when I think of these songs is Empress Rising by Monolord. Another that may be more recognizable to you is When The Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin.

Go ahead, take a listen to those songs and get your Mom Sway on…

Reason 3: What Makes Mommy Happy Makes Baby Happy

Is there anything that your baby loves more than to see you feel joy? What better medicine is there for any child than to share something that their parent loves? My two youngest baby girls in particular are the biggest Metal lovers out of all my five children. The reason for this is that they have spent hours listening to all genres of Metal with both myself and my husband Steve. Music is a huge component in our home; there is always something playing. And nothing makes those little girls happier than to sit with Mommy or Daddy and listen to music that makes us smile and slowly bob our heads.adult-baby-boy-755049

 Babies take their cues from their parents. If they see Mom smiling and enjoying some music, they will build a positive association between happiness and that particular music. Kind of like when you do a repetitive motion and build muscle memory. Remember those studies that I referenced earlier? There was a factor that was identified in all the studies, but could not be really explained, so it wasn’t shared in the results. This was referred to as “enjoyment arousal effect.” Because it couldn’t be quantified and measured in an empirical manner, it was ruled out as a factor of why music had this effect on people. Basically, this positive arousal effect shows us that when we are feeling joy or pleasure, we function at out best overall, even if only temporarily. There can be conclusions drawn that the so-called Mozart effect was not because the music made the subjects smarter, it was because the music made them feel good. People perform better when they feel good. Maybe this is something that can’t be measured, but it can’t be denied either.

So there you go, Mama. Whatever your musical preference, share it with your children. Hold your babies and move those hips. Dance with your daughters and sway with your sons. Your babies will love you for it.

 Let me know what you think in the comments below! I would love to hear what kinds of music you listen to with your babies!


About Allie, from Hey Mom, Now What?

ADiltzprofilepicI am a mother of five children, ages 2 to 16. I work full-time as an Emergency Mental Health Screener, but with my work schedule I am able to be both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. Through my work with families in crisis, I have a unique perspective on the challenges and problems that modern parents face. My goal is to provide parents with interesting, informative and honest content that is geared towards kids and mental health issues. 

Trying Out ABC Mouse Early Learning Academy

I’ve been seeing the ABC Mouse ads on TV since Keelan was born and the Disney channel became a constant companion. So when they recently contacted me about becoming an affiliate and giving them a try, I was excited to sign up. They are having a sale right now for 60% off the whole year, but you can also just sign up and try it out for a month for free so there’s nothing to lose!

untitledSo far Keelan is really enjoying the program. He’s a fan of Reading Eggs, but he’s gone through most of the games on there and is always asking to play on “mommy’s computer.” ABC Mouse starts out with as assessment test, but we only got through one section before he was losing interest so I quickly jumped to the games section and was happy to see there are LOTS of games!

He also liked earning the tickets, which he used to buy himself a pet bunny. I’m not sure what else you can use the tickets for yet, but he really liked feeding and bathing his new virtual pet. He also enjoyed playing a game where you feed a dinosaur and one where you count eggs. Each activity ends with earning a certain amount of tickets.

While I’ve been having trouble getting him to enjoy actual books, he’s always happy to play on the computer. I guess it’s just the new digital generation! I’m just glad to have found some sort of educational activity he enjoys.

I’m looking forward to exploring more of the ABC Mouse program! If you’d like to check them out (and try it for FREE!) just head to www.ABCmouse.com



Did You Go to Your High School Reunion?

I recently skipped out on my high school reunion. It was the 25th year, and I went to the 10 and the 20, so this wasn’t really a big one. I figured I’d wait until the 30 year reunion when everyone has REALLY changed!

Candy Keane Sew Geek Mama High School
Me in 11th grade

It’s pretty funny how at the 10 year reunion everyone is still so young, but we have no idea we are. Most people still look similar. A lot of guys still have their hair. Many people have gotten married and started families. We are all still finding our way in life, even though we feel all grown up.

Flash forward to your 20 year reunion and that’s when people are really interesting! The kids are bigger, there’s been marriages and divorces, job changes and of course, more hair loss. I think I enjoyed my 20 year reunion the most because I talked to more people that year.

So who was I in high school? A quiet nerd. I had a lot of fun not being shy and quiet for once thanks to a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio and thought it was sweet that everyone I talked to had something nice to say about shy, quiet high school me. And so who was I at my high school reunion? I guess if I had to pick something off the poster, it would be “Ugly Duckling” although I didn’t consider myself ugly. It was more of just getting over my shyness, and coming out of my shell, which is something I still work on to this day.

So did you go to your reunion? Which type of person were you?



10 Ways to Celebrate Your Nanny During National Nanny Recognition Week September 23-29

*Article contributed by the Amslee Institute. Training Nannies and Babysitters, Trusted by Families. Follow @AmsleeInstitute to see weekly childcare care articles and faculty chats to help Nannies, Sitters, and Families better care for kids.

nanny-appreciation-weekNational Nanny Recognition Week has been celebrated since 1998 so families, agencies and communities can champion the work of nannies and childcare providers. As the last week in September is coming up, now is a great time to acknowledge and thank nannies for their contributions.


Here are a few ways you can celebrate and show appreciation for your Nanny:

1. Provide an extra paid day off or a financial bonus. Often, we have time but are short on funds or have money but are working so many hours that we are short on time. Ask what your nanny would prefer and help your nanny break this cycle for a day with a gift of time and/or extra income.

2. Make a card. Have the children write a card for their nanny and include a gift card to a favorite store. When children write thank you cards, they learn appreciation and your nanny has a treasure to keep that memorializes the time they invested to support your family and help your children thrive.

3. Invest in your nanny’s professional development. Professional and career nannies can better care for children and advance their career through continuing education. Programs at Amslee Institute offers courses and training leading to childcare diplomas and certifications (www.amsleeinstitute.com).

4. Create a memory book. Younger children can create a book using construction paper. Computer savvy children can create a memory ebook or use online stores to build a professional bound album (www.shutterfly.com).

5. Subscribe to Nanny Magazine. Nanny Magazine is the premier publication for childcare workers, with nanny tips, advice, and articles suited to the professional nanny’s career (www.nannymagazine.com).

6. Give Nanny Merchandise. Nanny tee shirts, water bottles, and coffee mugs are a great way to show appreciate and can be found on Amazon and Etsy. Our favorite is Nanny Tees (www.nannytees.com).

7. Personalize a gift. An engraved charm or necklace is a wonderful keepsake. Customized holiday ornaments, journals, and picture frames are also great gifts to show your appreciation (www.thingsremembered.com).

8. Schedule a day at the salon, spa, or a massage. A day of pampering can include nail services, facials, and massages based on the preferences of your nanny. A gift card to their favorite spot can provide service and scheduling flexibility (www.spafinder.com).

9. Make a video. Grab your phone and ask the kids several questions about their nanny. Capturing genuine responses and sharing them with your nanny will create new memories and commemorate their time together.

10. Order a gift basket. If your nanny loves chocolate, fruit, nuts, or popcorn, there is a gift basket available. You can order pre-made baskets or build one of your own. Add some fresh flowers or balloons to make it more festive (www.harryanddavid.com).

Nannies work hard to care for our children and this is a great opportunity to show them our appreciation. Writing cards and telling nannies how valued they are to the family will ensure they feel appreciated.

ameliaAbout Amslee Institute ~ Amslee Institute provides the only licensed online childcare classes with diploma and certification programs based on a curriculum specifically designed to advance the skills of Nannies and Sitters. Amslee Institute has over 30 adjunct faculty with a passion for education and childcare, bringing them together to help childcare providers gain practical skills and certifications that benefit their careers and the children in their care. Amslee Institute is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 5951 and is a member of the International Nanny Association (INA). Amslee Institute partners with industry leading agencies to help families connect with Amslee graduates.

For more information, visit https://www.AmsleeInstitute.com.