Ep 161: Connecting with Your Baby Through Song with Music Therapist Vered Benhorin

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This is a really fun episode about music! I really do wish I had this information when I was pregnant. I know it feels natural for a lot of us to sing to our babies and it turns out there’s a reason for that. As our guest Vered Benhorin explains, there may well be some compelling science behind the benefits of music both before and after birth.

A mother of three, Vered knows a thing or two (or three!) about birth and babies. Music was a powerful tool for her in parenthood and was central to her pre-mom life. Now a music therapist and psychotherapist, she has developed classes and techniques for parents to integrate the power of song into their babies lives.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How Vered’s path shifted from aspiring rockstar to musical mom
  • How music helped her connect with her baby
  • Why it is so beneficial to sing to your baby during pregnancy
  • How songs can help in developing a routine
  • How to choose what songs to sing
  • How to reframe what makes a “good” singing voice
  • Why Vered recommends a labor playlist

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Ep 161: Connecting with Your Baby Through Song with Music Therapist Vered Benhorin

Nicole: This is a really fun episode about babies and music with Vered Benhorin. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Well, hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 161, and I am so glad that you are spending some time with me today. So in today's episode, we have Vered Benhorin and Vered is a music therapist and psychotherapist, whose mission is to teach parents how to connect with their baby, speak their baby's language and find moments of joy together. Thousands of parents swear by the techniques and tools she teaches in her baby in tune classes, and more than 10,000 families listen to her award-winning music for families on Spotify and iTunes. When she is not leading classes, doing instructor trainings or lectures at conferences, such as 0 to 3, she can be found in Tel Aviv, Israel with her husband and three children. I absolutely love this conversation with Vered where we talk about things like the benefits of having a few songs that you sing on a regular basis, like a lullaby song, a morning song, and a nighttime or bath song, how song choices for babies do not matter at all.

Nicole: Even Guns and Roses can work. And she talks about that. She talks about why your voice or whether you can carry a note really doesn't matter. Like I, myself, I always say I can sing. I just don't sound good when I sing. She says it doesn't even matter. And then also some free resources she has to offer you if you want to try and write your own song for your baby. So I love this conversation and I really do wish I had this information when I was pregnant. You are definitely going to love it now real quick. Let's do a listener shout out. This is from McKenna Be who left me this review in Apple Podcast. And the title of the review says best pregnancy podcast. And the review says the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast has been such a game changer for me.

Nicole: I am pregnant with my first child, and I have learned so much from Dr. Rankins and now feel so much more confident and calm going into my birth. I even took her birth pla birth class because I loved listening to her so much. I 10 outta 10 recommend this podcast for anyone who is thinking about becoming pregnant or for someone who is, and then there are a couple of hearts behind it. Well, thank you so much, McKenna for leaving me that kind review in the podcast. And I'm also so glad to have you inside the Birth Preparation Course. If you don't know, the Birth Preparation Course is my signature online class that gets you calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth. And if you love the podcast, you'll love the course. It's an organized way to take you through all of the things that will get you ready for your birth. So you can check out all the details of the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right, let's get into the conversation with Vered. Thank you so much, Vered for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am so excited to talk to you about your work because it is re it is, it is really, really cool.

Vered: I'm so excited to be here because Nicole, I love your podcast. I'm a fan of it. So, um, thank you for having me. Oh,

Nicole: Thank you. Thank you. So why don't you tell us a bit about yourself and your work and your family?

Vered: Okay. So I'm a mom of three, I've got a 13 year old, 10 year old, seven year old. And, um, I'm a music therapist, a psychotherapist and a musician. And, um, it all started, uh, when I was pregnant and I was actually before that kind of doing a singer songwriter thing, wanting to be a rock star. And, uh, when I, I was living in the East Village, I was performing with my band and when I got pregnant, I thought, okay, so I'm either gonna keep doing this rockstar thing or, uh, I'm gonna be a grownup now, cause I'm pregnant. I have a baby on the way.

Vered: So I did, I actually decided to give up on the music and, um, I, I was already a music therapist. I was already working as a music therapist in, in various clinics. I had done worked in addiction and in and psychiatric and with kids. But at that time I decided to go study clinical psychology and the program talked a lot about attachment theory, which of course is the, uh, research behind what makes for the connection between parents and babies and the different, uh, types of connection. And I would go home to my baby and these theories kind of jumped out of the page, cuz I had the baby right there in front of me. Right. And I actually wrote my first song after a day of, of, uh, being in class, we had just learned about the concept of rapprochement, which means this push and pull that baby has ha babies have like the desire for independence that they increasingly have, you know, from the moment they can crawl away to the moment they go off to college.

Vered: Um, and then also the need for the home base, the need for us to be there, to comfort them. So it's always this push and pull of away and toward. And so that was my, so the first song I wrote, the, the chorus goes, um, mama, leave me be, but don't wait. Yes, mama, leave me be, but don't leave me. And then at the end, actually the mom says, baby, leave me be, but don't leave me. So, um, after that I went on to create baby in tune, which is classes, helping parents connect to their baby because I actually didn't connect with my baby right off the bat. I think people, yeah. People think, assume that I did, because this is my life's work. Right. But, um, I was sort of the, the mom who tried to do it all, I was in a PhD program.

Vered: I was working at a clinic. I was still making me, you know, I just decided I'm gonna gel. I'm gonna have a baby too. I'm gonna add that on didn't work that way. So, uh, it was, and also I had a lot of nursing issues and I was pumping, I was trying to feed. Right. And I was exhausted. I was, you know, I was doing the thing that we do in those first months. And um, I remember this moment of seeing my husband singing to the baby in the middle of the night, you know, I was like crouched over the pump. I'm so tired. I just wanna go to sleep and seeing him going, why am I not singing to the baby? Like, where is my connection right now? How does he have this? So naturally. Right. And um, I, I remember thinking at that time that it it's like in the movies, even in paintings, Leonardo DaVinci paintings, you know, it's kind of assumed you're gonna fall in love with your baby right away.

Vered: And it took me time. It, I loved my baby, but I remember the moment that I felt in love with him. It was like around six months, it took me, it took me a little while and music had a big part in finally finding this connection. And I, I, I started to sing again, like I said, I gave up on the music, so I had a complicated relationship with it. Right. But when I did start to sing again with him, I remember feeling like, oh, I kind of feel more like a rock star right now than I ever have. Right. Just cuz of the way he was looking at me and the way we felt together. And so that was the start of it all. And uh, and then I went to, to make, I created classes and more albums and my goal was to help other parents find their connection with their baby.

Nicole: Oh my goodness. I absolutely love that. Love that. It's so amazing how our, our lives influence our work. And it's great when you get, get to connect those two and your passion comes out in, in what you do.

Vered: I fully, fully, I feel grateful that, uh, I, you know, having a baby, I think for so many women, especially it derails you from your career. I've, I've worked with so many women like that. And, and even for me, you know, it took, it took a while to get to understand what my priorities are, what I'm doing, but in the end it actually brought all of my loose ends together. The, the therapist, the musician, the rock star, the mom. It really kind of helped me merge all of them.

Nicole: Nice. Nice, nice. Nice. Now you said you're a therapist, you have a PhD and you're also trained in music therapy as well.

Vered: I actually don't have a PhD. I, I never fully finished the program because got it. I got pregnant with my second, but I have a master's in clinical psychology. I have a master's in music therapy, and um, and I've made these, I've made three albums for parents and babies.

Nicole: Got it, got it. Yeah. I know that PhD struggle. My husband, uh, left a PhD program, so I totally understand how that goes.

Vered: Oh my goodness. Does he regret it?

Nicole: Um, no, he actually went on and did another program and ultimately finished. It took a while, but um, it also took a while to realize that the first program wasn't the right one either. So right. Uh, yeah. You just, you just it's it's always tell folks like a PhD is, um, so much harder than an MD, I think.

Vered: Oh yeah.

Nicole: Like you have to, and I'm going on a tangent here, but like a MD is a defined, like you take these classes and you're done, whereas a PhD can go on forever. So anyway,

Vered: It can, it's five, six years of research. Yes. One day I might, I, I think I will go back to it. Um, at the moment I'm actually working on a book, so it's probably, I'll probably do this and then do that. But I am thinking that at some point, yeah, I might go back

Nicole: Maybe you'll go back to it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So let's talk about singing to their babies. Why is it important for moms to sing to their babies during pregnancy?

Vered: Yeah. Um, okay. There's a lot of research showing that when pregnant women and, and you know, when we sing, uh, whether it's women or men, um, when caregivers sing to their baby in vitro that it actually affects the baby's behavior afterwards, it affects the baby's behavior once they're born. Huh? So they're soothed for longer, longer periods of time. Yes. It's an amazing study that shows that if you sing to them in vitro, they, um, they stay soothed for longer. So that's one reason that it seems to have a correlation between that and, and being calm. The other is that this is more intuitive, that there are so many benefits of music. As we know, there's a lot of research behind it, but there's also our feeling about it, that it calms us. It lowers our cortisol. It can, we, we get endorphins, we get happier, we feel better. It can be calming. It can be energizing. And that really helps in pregnancy as well, because

Nicole: Hundred percent. Yeah.

Vered: Yes. I mean, so many changes are happening in the body. There's, it's very stressful and music helps us out of that a little bit. Out of these little physical discomforts and into a place that's um, you know, I think some people might say music makes them feel more spiritual or more, uh, for me, I always feel like it brings me into my sensing self and out of my thinking self.

Nicole: Hmm. I love that.

Vered: So I'm kind of more in, in the moment I'm feeling my movements and I'm feel I'm looking around differently. I'm smelling, I'm tasting, I'm like feeling my more grounded and that is so important during pregnancy as well. I mean, for me, it was for sure.

Nicole: Absolutely. Absolutely. So what, what do you have any specific recommendations on what folks should sing? How often they should sing or just, you know yeah. What, what do you have thoughts about that?

Vered: So, so one thing that I definitely recommend there's there's two, two big recommendations. One is to start singing your lullaby now to start thinking about what the lullaby will be and start singing it now. First of all, because what I was saying with this research study that shows that shows they'll stay sta- calmer for longer, but also because the baby, another study shows the baby remembers not only does the baby recognize the voice, their, their mother's voice, but, um, I, they had, they just haven't done the study with, you know, the men that are around, but they've done the study with women. So I can say the women, but, um, they definitely recognize the voice. So that's one is, is just singing in general. But if you sing the same song, they also recognized that song. And there was a study done where even like four months later, they still remembered the song that was sung to them in vitro.

Vered: So taking a lullaby it and starting to sing it the reason. So now let's go into life after birth, the lullaby is going to be your best friend. It's such a great tool for bedtime because our babies really speak music from day one. They, they hear, they hear melodies and the repetition of the melody helps them, um, get used to it so that if, once you sing a lullaby every night, it becomes a behavioral cue. So just like the pacifier, the lullaby becomes a physical cue. The lullaby is an audio cue that li I mean, the more you sing it, the baby will rub their eyes and they will yawn just at the sound of it. And what I love about the lullaby that goes beyond a transitional object, like a pacifier, is that it's, I, I think of it as like an emotional transitional object in the sense that when you're singing the lullaby to your baby weather its in vitro or post there's, a lot of emotion that goes into singing.

Vered: Singing is, and, and music in general makes us feel emotional, vulnerable. There are studies about that too. Like for instance, people who are, who wrote, um, they were writing a paper, I think in college. And some were listening to music. Some weren't, those who were listening to music, their writing was a million times more emotional, which totally makes sense. Right. But, so when we sing to our baby, there's a lot of emotion that comes with it. And our babies pick up on that, which by the way, is the reason they prefer to hear us sing rather than speak. And that means that we are conveying so much emotion within this lullaby. And what that means is that tomorrow, when grandma's to put the baby to bed, and she sings this lullaby, let's say you are my sunshine or whatever. The baby is still feeling those feelings that they felt when mama sang it. So that's what I mean by this emotional transitional object that now the nanny can sing it. Now the people can sing it and it's invoking this kind of safety. Okay.

Nicole: Okay. And you're not saying like, you have to make up your own song or anything, just pick something that you like, like, like you said, you are my sunshine or whatever you wanna do works.

Vered: Yeah. Yeah. So let's talk about song choice for a second um, yeah, there are so many amazing lullabies out there. I actually have a whole list. So if anybody's listening here and they want, I've just collected over the years, all of the lullabies that parents have told me that they sing and some are like, you wouldn't think they're a lullaby, like a, I remember a parent who sings sweet child of mine, Guns and Roses to the baby and just slowed down. Right. So anything there's no research on, you know, what a lullaby needs to be. It is true that often lullabies are in three meaning 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, rock a bye baby. 1, 2, 3, 1, but they don't have to be, that's sort of a swinging feel. Um, they, they really can be any song. So I would say yes, pick a song. That means something to you.

Vered: I think it, it is. You're going to be singing this song a lot, like possibly for the next five years, every single day. So pick something you like, and it's, I find that it's even better when maybe it's something that was sung to you. Maybe it's a song that was sung to your parents. I mean, start to ask around what songs are meaningful in your family. I love when it, when it's generational, because music has this way of collapsing time, you know, we hear a song from our past and we're immediately there. It just has this way of collapsing it to this, to just a song. And it holds all time in it in a way. So pick one that maybe your grandmother sings or something that was sung to her. And, um, the other option is like, you're saying to write one and it's actually easier than, I don't know if like right now people are going, oh, forget it.

Vered: Okay. I'm, I'm definitely not gonna write a song. Right. It's actually easier than we think. And I'll just go briefly into this. The reason is that when we speak to our babies, we're naturally very melodic with them. So we, we say, hi baby. Hi. Right. We use this parent-ease, which is the way I did, you know, it's normally this kind of bell curve, ah, starts lower, goes higher and comes down. And for all of you, pregnant people out there who are listening and going, I'm never gonna speak that way to my baby. You will. The reason is that your baby responds to it. Your baby wants that. And so, and then when we're soothing, we descend in our tone, naturally we say, oh, it's okay. Tell me babies. Mm. And so we're already so melodic with our babies. And so I find that writing a song, and when I help parents write a song for their baby in my classes, it's really just a matter of connecting to that melody you're already using with your baby. So, uh, I actually have a template for that too. If anyone, um, wants to email me, I I'd be happy to send that to you. I've kind of have a template of how to write your own lullaby if for all the courageous souls out there.

Nicole: Yes, yes, yes, yes. All right. So what if folks don't have a great singing voice? You know, should they be worried if, you know, like I always say, I can, I can sing. I just don't sound good when I sing.

Vered: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I'm I'm so glad you asked this because you're not alone. In fact, I think that a hundred percent of the people feel that they don't have a good singing voice and I'm talking like even Beyonce, I think even people who are, you know, the best at singing, right. Have singing insecurities. Um, they just expect more of themselves. The reason is that, like I was saying before, it's very emotional to sing, which means that we feel more vulnerable. And also most of us, if not, all of us have been told at some point in our lives to stop singing, maybe stop singing. You don't sound good or stop singing. It's too loud. Right. And that affects us. I mean, I have, I remember when I was now, I now it's become my career, but I was definitely told at some point, no, you don't have a great voice.

Vered: So music, uh, singing brings up a lot of vulnerability, but I wanna tell you a story, um, that a mom in one of my groups told me, she, she came one day, we had just talked about lullabies. We had done the class on lullabies and, um, she came and she said, you know, I was really upset this week because I was thinking about the lullaby and, and trying to sing one. And I just, I sound awful. And, uh, and she said that her father always had such a beautiful voice and that she used to say to her dad, oh my God, you're such a great singer. You should be famous. Right. Why aren't, you know, when she was little, he used to sing to her and she thought, wow, he's really such an amazing singer. And she, like, she called him and she said, what am I gonna do? I don't sing like you. And he said, oh baby, I have a terrible voice. You and your sister always thought that I was such a good singer, but the truth is I can't hold a note, but you thought I was a rock star. And yes, exactly.

Nicole: Yes.

Vered: The fact is that your baby just wants to hear you. Gotcha. And they don't care how you sound. Right. And if you're gonna sing to your baby in a closed room and nobody hears you fine. Right. Do it right for your baby. Nobody else needs to hear you.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. I love that. I love that. Now let's shift gears a bit and talk about labor playlist. Um, that was one of the things you, you wrote in about why do you recommend that women have labor playlist?

Vered: The reason is that it saved me from all free births. It really did. Music saved me in all three births. And I, and I, and you know, the thing is I'm a music therapist. So you would think that I, I would know the power of music, but right. I was surprised all over again, that it did it because each one of my births were so different. And each time it was music that got me through it. So, huh. With the first one, you know, I kind of was so naïve. I remember we carried like the bouncy ball to the hospital. I can't believe we brought the bouncy ball to the hospitals, by the way, it saved us because I, the taxi dropped us off at the back of the building and we had to walk, it was in New York. We had to walk all the way around. And so I kept needing the bouncy ball to rest.

Nicole: Oh my goodness.

Vered: I know. So, um, when, when we got there, it was, it was a long labor. And when I was finally pushing, I had made a playlist with like the yoga music I was listening to at the time. So different from the other two births, by the way, I was less still in like calm. Oh. And I had done yoga during my pregnancy with him. And so it was, uh, mostly SNA, Tom Kaur. She's a, um, Kundalini singer. And during the pushing, I remember it being like, like as if I was in between pushing, I was sort of going into a Shavasana. Like the, and the music helped me do it. It's like I was saying before, it got me out of thinking and into this, like just kind of at that moment, it really was kind of an out of body experience because the music just helped me leave my body and flow.

Vered: And I re and not that it wasn't painful. Of course it was. And it was, it's a stressful situation. But I just remember in between the pushes, because those moments are not always talked about, we kind of think more about the pushing itself, but in between we wanna find this like deep rest and that's what the music helped me do in that birth. Gotcha. Um, with my second birth, I was in a completely different state. My playlist was all like Stevie Wonder and, um, and Elton John, just like fun songs that I like to dance to. Right. And when I got to the hospital, I was lucky there was a shower there. We turned on the shower and for like two hours. I was in the shower, my husband set up the speaker and I just kind of danced and sang along with this.

Vered: And it got me through all the contractions. Gotcha. That was, yep. That was that birth. The third birth was so fast, but I remember in the taxi, I was because it was so fast. It was, you know, it was painful and everything was happening really fast. But I remember in the taxi, a song came on that just kind of reminded me of the beauty of it. You know, you can, you can get into this like stress mode. So once again, it kind of relaxed me and brought down my cortisol and I didn't even have time in that birth to put on my playlist. But that song in the taxi, I just remember, once again, it kind of, oh, made me take a breath and, um, and realize what was ha you know, the exciting, the, the, the amazing part of what was happening.

Nicole: I love it. I love it. I love it. So, do you have any specifics? Are you like create a couple of playlists, have some different options? Cause in the moment you may not know exactly how you feel

Vered: That's right. So, yeah, I, I do like the idea of, um, creating a couple of different playlists. You might want, you know, more upbeat. And, but I think that it, it really has to do with what music you're listening to during the pregnancy. What I find is that people's playlists that work during the birth are, you know, there's a reason that certain songs are coming up for you during the pregnancy. So what are those songs that you're wanting to hear these days? What are the things that you're going to, you know, on Spotify? And it doesn't matter how silly and weird and like maybe something from high school, it does, like, whatever it is, that's what this baby is kind of calling. That's what your body is calling for at the moment. So I do love one playlist, just really being with all of the songs that are coming up. And then, yeah, I do think it's a nice idea to have a secondary playlist, you know, if that's upbeat, go do something calmer and vice versa and maybe even have your partner or, you know, friend or doula, or whoever's gonna be there with you, um, kind of suggest, uh, stuff too, or make their own, make their playlist cause right. You never know how long you're gonna be there.

Nicole: That is very true. Very true. And I love the idea of like, there's a reason that songs are coming up, you know, pay attention to those little nudges.

Vered: Yeah, exactly. I mean, I, so when my, when my first was born, the Mel, the, uh, the lullaby I started singing was twinkle twinkle. And I was like, oh God, I can't believe now. I'm gonna, I can't believe this is the one, but what are you gonna do? That's the one that was the one that came up with him. And that's the one I had to stick with. Cuz I fell like, all right, well that's, I guess that's what this baby wanted.

Nicole: Right, right. Oh, all right. So let's switch gears and talk about after baby is here. I know you said you recommend having, uh, you know, sung a lullaby. Is there any other music that mom should prepare for after baby arrives or songs? Or what are your thoughts on that?

Vered: Yeah, so, so definitely, um, I just wanna reiterate the lullaby and by the way, the lullaby ha have a conversation with your, the, your partner. If it, if there's a partner that's gonna be with you, they can have their own lullaby too. It doesn't have to be something that you absolutely both, um, you know, agree on. It can be different. When my husband saying a lullaby in Hebrew, I sang a different one. Um, and, and it'll become, it will become the behavioral cue, but your baby will, will, it'll be, it'll also be a mental cue. They'll kind of know that bedtime's coming. It's just so, so helpful. And along those lines, you, you can use the same theory for the morning song, the diaper changing song, um, the feeding song, because our babies really speak music from day one. They, they of course are not speaking language.

Vered: They're kind of their, their language is body, voice face, right. It's the gestures. This is, these is the language, our babies speak. And melody, you, you just see it right away that how babies are tuned into melody, how after only two times of singing a song, they already know it. And there are studies about this too, by the way, with like babies hearing, uh, a rhythm and then hearing it again with a slight change and being able to, and, and actually hearing the difference or for instance, babies who, um, I don't know if you had this experience where you see a baby kind of kicking to the beat, to the beat of the music and you think, wait second, I think the baby's kicking to the beat and they actually are. They are. It's pretty amazing. That is pretty amazing.

Vered: Yeah. So it's really nice to have a morning song as well. Um, the reason I love the morning song is that you're gonna want something that cues to the baby it's morning, right? It's time for us to be together now. Right? You're not gonna sing the morning song at 3:00 AM. You're not gonna sing it at 5:00 AM. You're gonna sing it whenever you decide it's morning and it's gonna cue to the baby. Okay. It's together time it's play time. But the other reason is that we tend to pick up the baby and then go from like the dark room and the, the, uh, you know, the sound machine like this very quiet atmosphere to the living room where there's chaos and there's light. And there's phone ringing and food being made. But if you have a morning song, what I love for parents to do is pick up the baby, start to sing the song in the room and help them transition from the room to the outside while you're singing this song.

Vered: I mean, can you imagine that you pick up your baby and you start to sing good morning, my love, good morning, my love, and you're singing it sweetly. And then you slowly move out into the room. That's the kind of way we wanna transition with our babies without having these abrupt transitions. And music is so helpful for that. So morning is one, um, feeding, same thing at the beginning, babies, you know, they're gonna be feeding all the time. Eventually there's gonna be a situation where your baby gets very frustrated until you get the food ready. Right? And when you have a feeding song, it cues the baby, that food is on the way because they do start to learn it. Same with bath time. Bath, uh, bath time is a great time to have a song because you're saying to the baby, you are about to be submerged in water.

Vered: And I sing this song now, as I get you dressed, and soon you're gonna be doing this thing, cause otherwise it can be very jarring. And so with all of these songs, I could say to the baby, let's say with the lullaby, I could say to the baby, okay, goodnight, baby. I love you. And the next night say sleep well, but if every night I'm singing, sleep my baby. Then the baby's gonna get to know that they'll get to know the bath song. They'll get to know the morning song. It really does work. So that's one thing is, is to use songs with your routine moments beyond that, um, music is so helpful with language because, because our babies are learning these melodies through the repetition, they're learning words and even better when you're putting gestures with it. So similar, when you think about like itsy bitsy, spider. Yeah. This really helps babies learn. Cause it's really, uh, focusing on all their modalities of learning. Yes.

Nicole: I saw a really cool video on your site where you were, it was like the nose and you were pointing out body parts.

Vered: Yes, yes, yes, exactly. So, um, I love doing the, the body parts song. I love offering that as a suggestion to parents, because I think it's a really easy song for parents to write in a way, all you're doing is saying, I love your nose. I love your toes or whatever. It doesn't, it can be any melody. It can, you can even use a melody that exists. Let's say, um, uh, what's fun that it repeats. Um, I don't know, but let's say you are my sunshine. I love your nose. I love your toes. I love your hair. And I love your cheeks. Like it could be anything, but I love, um, when you're pointing to these body parts, as you're saying them, um, then the baby is learning these body parts. Because it becomes a symbol. So it's working on their audio, their visual, their kinesthetic, their tactile it's really working on all modalities of learning.

Vered: Gestures are just gesture, but not gestures alone gestures with song. And on that note, the, the way you can tell that babies are learning language through music is that often the first words that babies speak are the ones that we sort of sing song without realizing it. Right. Right. Like often a baby will say, uh, oh, will be their first one because we always sing it the same way. Right. Or like my baby, her first word was diaper because I always said, should we change your diaper? Should we change your diaper? So her first word was Papa. Yeah.

Nicole: I love that. Love that. Love, that. Love that. And you said it earlier, but I wanna be clear. You think dads can sing to baby too, correct?

Vered: Oh God. Yeah. Yes. I mean, like I said, my husband was the, the crooner way before me

Vered: And by the way, dads actually have a more resonant tone because they have a deeper tone. Their chest is vibrating more. So their chest is sort of like a natural vibrating chair for the baby in those first months, especially when they're kind of in foggy position. And all they wanna do is just lie on your chest. Right? The dad's singing is, is beautiful because it creates a lot of vibration that we, our voices, we can try to do that and we can bring down our voices as low as possible, which I do work on that with the parents. How can we have a more resonant voice, um, and a calmer voice, a voice that's more soothing, but dads have, um, a very low and resonant tone.

Nicole: Got it. Love it. Love it. Love it. So dads, you can sing too. Uh, so as, as we wrap up, what would you say is the most frustrating part of your work?

Vered: Hmm. What's the most frustrating.

Nicole: And these are questions. I ask all my guests. So what you think, what do you think is the most frustrating part?

Vered: All right. So, so I do these classes and they're helping parents find these connection moments with their baby. They're really helping them find these moments of sort of like these magical moments, but that's not what brings parents to my classes in a way. So what frustrates me is like, I'd like to say to parents, you should come to my class because I'm gonna help you feel more connected. That ends up being the thing that parents always say, oh, it was the thing I didn't know I needed. Right.

Vered: But they come because it's a music class. And I guess what I wanna tell your audience is you guys connection is the most important. Once your baby is here. And even as we talked about in vitro, you can connect through the singing. That's the important stuff. There's so much, you know, we have 50 years of research now, attachment theory telling us that that's the stuff that's, the what's gonna affect your baby's wellbeing the most. Right. And so go into it, knowing that, and, and that doesn't mean you have to be connected to your baby all the time. It doesn't mean you have to be present with them all the time. That's impossible. All it means is that you're gonna work on it. You're gonna find these this way to feel connected to your baby during the day. And whether it's a few minutes here and there, you know, however, however that is for you. Um, but, but just knowing that that's really, that's the goal.

Nicole: I love it. Yep, absolutely. Absolutely. So on the flip side, what's the most rewarding part of your work?

Vered: Hmm. Oh God. So many things. I really, I feel so lucky to do this work. Um, I guess I would say the emails that I get that are like, we were driving in the car today and your song literally saved us, or we were, you know, playing today and what you taught us to do. Yes. That the, the, those emails, the emails that I get that are just, I mean, even yesterday I posted something that Mr. Rogers said that, which was so amazing about, um, about children and, and how they kind of teach us. And, um, and someone wrote to me on Instagram, you're as inspiring to me as Mr. Rogers. That's like the height of it.

Nicole: Yes, yes. Doesn't get better than that. Love it. Absolutely love it. It's like, I'm wishing I would've found you when I was, when I was expecting, so this is just such really great, useful information and, and not hard to implement, like, you're not saying this has to be difficult or complicated or anything like that. So then what exactly.

Vered: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. So what, what is your favorite piece of advice that you would give to expecting families?

Vered: Um, so I guess it really is to, to go with the music. I mean, I know it's, I sounding like a broken record, no pun intended, but, but, um, I just know how much it helps the pregnant women that I work with and how much it helps me helped me, um, through the pregnancy, but also through the births is, is, and, and really this, the connecting I okay. And I, and here's another, uh, offshoot of that, just to dance, to dance.

Nicole: Yes. Yeah. Let's talk about that. Let's go ahead and talk about that. Yes.

Vered: Yeah. Um, you know, the thing about pregnancy, you know, when I, I don't know if you felt this Nicole, when I was pregnant, I felt like sort of a flower. I felt like, oh, okay, I get it. I am just this, this part of nature that, that I grow a being, you know, I've been grown. It was so humbling and also empowering at the same time. And I just felt like this part of, I felt sort of primal. I just, I felt like I am, I am a seedling growing from the earth. And when I danced, I remember feeling connected to that. It was the only time that I really dove into that because when I put on music and I moved my body around, I sort of imagined I was the tree or blowing. And I, right when I really let myself go with it then, um, that I felt kind of free with my body.

Vered: And beyond that, I had so many aches and pains and there's something about dancing where we move the way our body needs to be moved. It's really lubricating our body. In this way, that's safe for us. We're not like trying to stretch, you know, sometimes when we do certain stretches, we can like sort of jam ourselves into it. Dancing is a very gentle way to move our body around, uh, in a way that feels nice and feels right. And, uh, and I think really music facilitate facilitates that. And not just that music makes us in sync with others that at music and dancing, so dancing. Yes, exactly. I know

Nicole: My God. Yes, yes, yes. And sync with the baby, maybe in sync with your partner, all of those things.

Vered: Yes. Yes. Yes. So I do remember dancing when I was pregnant and feeling the baby, you know, because you can have the baby in, you, you walk around, you do things you're living life, but if you stop and dance and put on music, you suddenly are like, oh, okay we're in this dance together. And this dance is gonna go on and they're gonna be outside of me. And we're also gonna be in a dance because right. When I soothe, I'm gonna be bouncing. I'm gonna be emulating my heartbeat and the steps that I took, you know, we often bounce after the baby comes out because they're used to our steps, which is why they were, you know, sleeping during the day when we were walking around. And then they're up in the middle of the night because we're not moving. So it's the same thing when, once they're out and we're bouncing so much, but it's really this way of dancing with our baby and being in sync with them. There's so many studies on rhythm and being in sync with others, making us feel connected. Um, so definitely, uh, that would be my number one piece of advice. And I love what you said too, about dancing with your partner as well.

Nicole: I love it. Love it, definitely important to help, help connect. So where can people find you in all of the amazing resources that you have?

Vered: So, first of all, if you all wanna hear my music, it's on Spotify and it's at Vered. So that's V E R E D. And you can find, I have three albums for parents and babies, but I, I would really say even to start listening before, um, because there's the LA, there's a lullaby I wrote there. There's just certain songs that'll make you feel, um, connected to the baby even. Yeah. Even while you're pregnant. So that's number one. Number two is my website is baby in tune, like to tune into your baby babyintune.com. And it's the same on Instagram baby in tune. But more than that, if anybody, um, wants a, the, the lullaby list, or if you want the songwriting template, then you should go onto the website, baby in tune.com or Instagram at baby in tune and message me and say, Hey, can I have that thing, cuz I would love to send it to you. And once your baby comes, I can also send you the soothing method, which will, um, help you. It, it's a way to vocalize and use rhythm in order to soothe your baby.

Nicole: Love it. Love it. And do you do virtual classes or anything?

Vered: I do. I do. Yeah. So I have classes on Zoom and then there's classes in New York as well.

Nicole: Awesome. Perfect. Well thank you so much for coming onto the podcast Vered. This was really great information. I know folks are gonna love it.

Vered: Oh, thank you so much. I've love this conversation.

Nicole: So wasn't that a great conversation with Vered? I really enjoyed the, that information and it didn't feel overwhelming. It just felt like it could really be a fun thing to do. And I really do encourage you to check out her YouTube and her website because she has some really, really cool videos there. And those links of course will be in the show notes. All right. You know, after every episode, when I have a guest on, I do something called Dr. Nicole's Notes, where I talk about my top takeaways from the episode, here are my Dr. Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Vered. I just have a couple for this one. Number one, you may not have an immediate connection with your child. And that is okay. It took Vered she said about six months before she really felt that connection to her baby. That is not unusual.

Nicole: It doesn't mean that you're a bad mother. It doesn't mean that anything is wrong. You are two human beings who are getting to know each other. And it just may take a little bit of time. It doesn't mean that you don't love your baby with everything you have in your heart. It just takes a little bit to connect. You're two humans again, and you just may need a little bit of time. So if you don't have that immediate connection, don't feel bad. It is normal. And then the second point I want to make is that music can help create a safe environment during your labor. And there are some other things that can help with that too. I talk about that. And one of the first lessons inside the Birth Preparation Course, the fact that having a safe environment or you feeling safe is so important to help you relax into the process of labor and birth.

Nicole: If you are in a state where you feel fear, your body can shut down and labor won't happen, this is something that can actually happen in all mammals where labor will stop. If you feel like you are scared or afraid or not in a safe place. And music is one of the ways that you can help feel safer and more comfortable. Some other things that you can do are lights, dim lights in the room often help. You can also use aromatherapy, like certain smells can help. You can also use things that make you feel at home, make you feel comfortable like personal items, like a blanket or a pillow, or having photos around of people who are important to you. Again, I'll talk about that in more detail inside the Birth Preparation Course, you can check out the Birth Preparation Course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll.

Nicole: All right. So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you did. Can you share it with a friend sharing helps the show to grow? It helps me to further my mission of serving as many first time moms, especially as possible. So please share this episode with a friend. If you enjoyed it, also subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcast or wherever you're listening to me right now. And I would love it if you leave that review because I do shouts from the reviews. And more importantly, I just love to hear what you think about the show. Also do come follow me on Instagram, where we can continue the conversation there. There's also lots of great information that I post on Instagram about pregnancy and birth, including some funny stuff as well. So follow me on Instagram @drnicoleankins. All right. So that's it for this episode do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.