My recording of traditional lullabies with a human heartbeat rhythm was first tested in in 1985 at Helen Keller Hospital's newborn nursery in Sheffield AL. Nurses reported 94% of crying babies stopped crying in less than two minutes listening the music. Later that year I was invited to visit the cardiac intensive care unit at University Hospitals of Alabama Birmingham where nurses had been playing my "Heartbeat Lullabies" to help infants and children get rest and sleep needed to heal from heart surgery. I saw frightened agitated babies, stitched from their necks to their belly buttons, attached to wires and monitors miraculously calm to the music in just a few seconds. Seeing the power of this music being used in such a dramatic positive way was a life changing experience for me. In 1987, I felt called to leave the music business to devote full time to record more Heartbeat Lullabies and promote their use. Little did I know the challenges or ever imagined how many uses would be discovered to help treat infants, children, adults and even animals
Upon request, I have donated over 200,000 CDs to hospitals and organizations helping children with special needs. The music has proven to be a "God send" for thousands of care providers and millions of frazzled, sleep deprived parents. The research-backed recordings have been played in over 8,400 hospitals and special care centers to calm infants, children adults and animals. Skeptical TV health news crews all across America have gone into their local hospitals to see if the music will stop babies from crying. It usually only takes a few seconds.
Well over twenty million people have gone to sleep to my heartbeat Lullabies or watched a child or adult calmed by it. People may not remember the title of the CD or my name, but they never forget it's distinctive sound and how fast it worked.
Stop the crying / prevent abuse
In 1994 a Travis Air Force Base family advocacy nurse ordered 50 "Stops Crying" Heartbeat Lullabies CDs to give to at-risk parents. " Constant crying is the primary trigger for infant abuse and shaken baby syndrome. If we give parents a nurturing way to stop and prevent the crying, we can prevent abuse," she said. I already knew the CDs would calm crying babies, so I set out to find reasons that could be causing the crying other than when the baby is sick, in pain or has a basic need. I interviewed hundreds of parents about their baby's bedtime routines. I learned that in addition to being over-stimulated and being frightened by startle sounds, something as simple as rocking a baby completely to sleep or letting her go to sleep in the parents bed before placing her in her crib, usually results in middle of the night crying. When a baby goes to sleep in one place and wakes in another, he wants to return the place where he went to sleep and thinks he sleeps. So he cries to be back in his parent's bed, mother's arms, or his swing, because that's where he fell asleep and thinks he sleeps.
Any parent who has a constant crying child is at risk to commit some degree of physical and/or emotional abuse. Parents want to be nurturing and respond to their baby's cry for help. But tragically, sometimes they snap under the barrage of noise and stress that has left them sleep deprived, frustrated and desperate. It pushes them over the edge; they'll do anything, even irrational things to stop the crying.
Military family advocacy / new parent support programs, health departments, Healthy Families sites, First Step Programs, and hospitals have distributed more than one million copies of my Heartbeat Lullabies and educational information to mothers to help parents and babies sleep, and to prevent colic, infant abuse and shaken baby syndrome.
Is constant crying a wide spread problem?
The most frequently ask question a pediatrician gets is "How do I get my baby to stop crying and sleep through the night?" According to The National Sleep Foundation "Sleep in America Poll" • More than two-thirds of all children (69%) experience sleep problems at least a few nights a week." • Half of Parents/caregivers of infants are awakened 6 to 7 nights a week, 2 to 3 times per night, losing close to an hour of sleep each time. • Infants that are put to bed awake sleep over one hour longer than babies put to bed after they are already asleep. • Infants that are put to bed awake sleep and don't wake as many times in the night crying for attention.
Stress and sleep deprivation weakens a parent's ability to make rational choices.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about the power of music to miraculously calm and heal. I've seen my "Heartbeat Lullabies" calm children going through painful and/or frightening procedures. I've seen the music therapy help extremely premature babies in the neonatal intensive care units get the rest and sleep they need to heal and grow. I have received over 30,000 heart warming testimonies from appreciative parents, nurses, child life specialists, home visitors, and other medical professionals. Some of the stories bring tears to your eyes.
Research that playing "Heartbeat Lullabies" stops and prevents crying.
• In a published study, Indiana University School of Nursing researchers found the music reduced pain perception and kept babies calmer during circumcision. • Researchers at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and Metro Health Hospital in Cleveland played the music to help extremely premature babies get the rest and sleep they need to heal and grow. The 7 year replicated study is submitted for publication.
When parents play the "Heartbeat Lullabies" and follow my nurturing bedtime routine, babies learn to peacefully adopt their own bed as their favorite place to go to sleep and back to sleep without the constant crying. In my audio book I tell parents how to avoid creating circumstances that cause their baby to cry. I also include a new approach to preventing shaken baby. Even parents who can't imagine they would do such a terrible thing learn how easy it is to injure a fragile baby by something as common as jiggling to stop the crying. You can listen to the audio book free at: www.babygotosleep.com