For new parents, everything can feel daunting. From changing nappies to safe sleeping and everything in between - it’s a huge learning curve for both the parents and baby. World Breastfeeding Week starts on the 1st of August and it’s all about helping new parents on their breastfeeding journey.
We know that music can have a positive impact on our mood so Vitabiotics Pregnacare Breastfeeding wanted to find out what effect listening to music has on breastfeeding and whether it can be used as a tool to help make feeding sessions as much of a positive experience as possible for both mother and baby.
So we did a deep dive and analysed the average song parameters (BPM, Energy, Loudness, and Valance) of Spotify’s top 100 tracks for ‘breastfeeding’ to determine the best songs to assist women in their breastfeeding journeys. The songs with the lowest scores are considered the best and most relaxing.
Why Do We Celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Week?
First observed in 1992, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated across the globe during the first 7 days of August.
The event is organised every year by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network that aims to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding around the world. The organisation works with the World Health Organisation and Unicef and the week is designed to raise awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding for babies as well as offer resources to breastfeeding parents, who often find themselves without much support.
What Does Music Have To Do With Breastfeeding?
Music has the power to help us feel good. A song with a slow, gentle tempo can help us feel relaxed and soothed while a tune with a quicker BPM (beats per minute) can perk us up and make us feel more alert - this is why workout playlists are so popular.
Did you know that songs with a BPM close to our own heartbeat can also help with breastfeeding? One study found that the median resting heart rate of breastfeeding parents sits between 84 BPM and 71 BPM within the first 14 days after birth. A 2020 study on breastmilk production found that listening to music in the NICU while breastfeeding helped to reduce stress levels and supported breast milk production. In addition, a 2015 study found that music therapy was associated with a significant reduction in stress levels and a significant increase in breast milk expression.
But how can music help babies during feeds? A 2003 research paper suggests that the mother’s heartbeat is imprinted into the brain of developing fetuses. It’s no wonder then that a newborn is calmed and soothed by the sound of the birthing parent’s heartbeat and might be why music with a BPM similar to a heartbeat may aid in breastfeeding - the steady beat calming and soothing your baby.
The Most Therapeutic Breastfeeding Songs
After analysing the top 100 songs, our top 20 list of the most therapeutic songs for breastfeeding mothers was born. Invisible String by Taylor Swift has topped our list as the most therapeutic song for nursing mothers with Reading (Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding and Location by Khalid coming in as the two second best songs.
Swift’s song is a fairly high-energy tune with plucky guitar notes and a catchy beat. But despite this, it has an average BPM of 83 which falls just within the resting heart rate average. Due to it being a little higher in energy, this track is best listened to at the start of your day rather than in the evening. Interestingly, the BPM of the Otis Redding song doesn’t fall within the average resting heart rate as it has a faster tempo, however, the other metrics do fall in that range which explains the low score on our Index. Because of this, we’d recommend also adding this tune to your morning playlist!
English songwriter, Ben Howard, and American musician, Jack Johnson, were the only two artists to feature twice on the top 20 list with their chilled acoustics but who’d have guessed that rapper Childish Gambino would also make the cut with the laidback track, Redbone?
The Most Popular Breastfeeding Song on Spotify
Next, we looked at the most popular breastfeeding songs from Spotify - tracks that have appeared most frequently in breastfeeding playlists.
The 2009 remastered version of Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles is the most popular tune to listen to while breastfeeding. This laidback tune was originally written in 1969 and is the first of two Beatles tracks that feature on this list. The relatively quiet vocals, low energy, and uplifting lyrics make it the perfect inspiring song to add to your morning feeding session.
Louis Armstrong also appears twice in this list, the slow tempo of his music sitting right in that sweet spot of average heart rate BPM and the muted sound making for the perfect laid-back breastfeeding track.
In third place, Nora Jones’s Sunrise is another excellent morning tune as it has a really uplifting tempo to go along with her sunshine-infused voice. The BPM is a little higher than the average heart rate (about 157) but despite this it is still a fairly low-energy song, making for a great easy-listening track.
The Most Popular Artists for Breastfeeding Parents
Next, we looked at which artists were featured on the top 100 list the most, to decipher which were the most popular to listen to for breastfeeding parents.
With his chilled sound, catchy tunes, and crisp voice, Ed Sheeran is our most popular artist and appears on the top 100 songs list five times. The average BPM of Ed’s songs tend to be quite fast and are generally fairly high energy making them the perfect morning tunes. But tracks like Thinking Out Loud are much slower in pace, possibly earning them a spot on an evening playlist instead.
The second spot is split between Jack Johnson and The Beatles with three songs in the top 100 apiece. Jack Johnson specialises in laidback tunes with relaxing acoustic guitar. Chilled-but-uplifting tracks such as Better Together are the epitome of sun-soaked summer afternoons and are perfect for relaxing too. The heartwarming Beatles song, Blackbird, sits right in that sweet spot of uplifting and soothing for your baby.
The Most Popular Music Genres for Breastfeeding Parents
Finally, we scraped all of the tracks to extract artist genres and find which were most popular.
It turns out that Pop is the most popular genre of music as almost half of the songs on the top 100 list were in this genre. In second place, with 36 songs, is the Folk/Acoustic genre with Rock music coming in third with 25 tracks.
Pop can be the perfect music to listen to while breastfeeding as many tracks are much slower with softer lyrics, making them perfect for both morning and evening feeds.
Breastfeeding can be a rewarding but also challenging time. Whether you’re finding breastfeeding stressful or are looking for ways to make your feeding sessions more enjoyable, breastfeeding music may be the perfect solution. You can download our science-backed playlist that features the most therapeutic songs for nursing mothers directly onto your Spotify!
To support you during your new parent phase through breastfeeding and beyond, give our Pregnacare postnatal vitamins and Breastfeeding supplements a try.