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The Benefits of Singing to Baby

I don't know all the words to any one baby song ("Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top"  -- then what?), but when the spirit moves me, I love to strike up a tune for my little one. My fix: Make life one big musical. I just use a singsongy voice to tell my daughter what I'm doing and improvise from there. Hits in my house include: "Mommy's going to the potty, and she'll be right back," "Yes, we have so many groceries!" and "Let's take a bath tonight."

"Babies like to hear you sing because it mimics their own sounds," says Daniela Montalto, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist at the NYU Child Study Center in New York City. "A baby's cooing and babbling is actually very melodic."

So sing anything you like, any way you like. Remember, in your baby's eyes, you're an American Idol, even if your singing is off-key and off-pitch or you make up most of the words as you go along.

Create your baby playlist:

1. Sing songs from your childhood with easily ad-libbable lyrics, like "Old MacDonald" and "Wheels on the Bus."

2. Look for CDs with a mix of familiar and new-to-you songs. I now love "Apples and Bananas"  -- a song I'd never heard pre-motherhood!

3. Play your favorite tunes. Be it Gwen Stefani or Rihanna, if you're having fun, your baby will, too! [XREF {,19840,1662467,00.html} {Check out our downloadable playlist}] of Babytalk editors' favorite baby jams.