Jill sent us a question about labor playlists — you know, music to birth by! She specifically wondered what kind of lists you guys have made that DIDN’T include Enya (Enya fans: she means no harm!). I never got to make one, so here’s some of the songs that I would pick if I were giving birth like, right now.
Personally, I feel like birth is WAY too unpredictable to have a perfectly organized playlist (what if you want to listen to something in a different order? Or nothing at all?), so I just tried to stick with my faves. You’ll notice this is heavy on the sixties and seventies flower-child lullabies (Dylan, George Harrison, Led Zeppelin) and singer-songwriters (I can’t help it!), but I tried to keep it diverse. Who wouldn’t want to try to dance through labor?
These are a few of my favorites songs divided up into hopefully labor-and-birthing-appropriate categories:
Happy, Fun, “This isn’t as bad as I thought it would be!” Tunes
- John Lennon – Oh Yoko
- George Harrison – Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)
- Sergio Mendes ft. Erykah Badu & Will I Am – That Heat
- Bob Marley and the Wailers – Is This Love
- Devendra Banhart – Long Haired Child
- Erykah Badu – …& On
When you need something to make you comfortable/zen you out.
- Simon and Garfunkel – Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall
- Beck – Chemtrails
- Erykah Badu – The Healer (Hip-Hop)
- Gustavo Cerati – Rio Babel
- Andrew Bird – Lull
- Radiohead – Bloom
- Bon Iver – Blood Bank
- Grizzly Bear – On a Neck, On a Spit
- George Harrison – Pisces Fish
- Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood
“Oh, shit. Labor might be hard.”
- Big Boi featuring Janelle Monae – Be Still
- Oasis – Slide Away
- George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
- The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
- Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
When labor gets really hard.
- M.I.A. – Paper Planes
- Curtis Mayfield – Think
- The Impressions – People Get Ready
- Simon and Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
“YAY MY BABY IS SO AMAZING! I AM SO IN LOVE!”
- The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun
- The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize??
- Chris Robinson – …If You See California
- M. Ward – Here Comes the Sun Again
- Desolation Wilderness – 4/4 Love Song
- Bon Iver – Babys
- Oasis – Wonderwall
So, what (if anything) did you guys listen to? If you have a playlist saved or blogged online, link to it!
Comments on Let’s talk about birth playlists that don’t revolve around Enya
This was the 20min song I had looping during my hypnobirthing practice and then actual birth: Into the Deep Blue Bindu. It’s got whales, so it’s definitely on the Enya/new age end of the spectrum.
I listened to Cocteau Twins’ “Heaven or Las Vegas” on repeat when I was in a rocking chair, going through contractions. It was soothing, soaring, not overwhelming, beautiful and seemed to flow with the flow of my body. It didn’t hurt that I had an emotional attachment to the album.
That Cocteau twins album is beautiful.. OMg thanks for bringing up that one
This made me LOL since people kept suggesting Enya to me. I had Dead Can Dance, Sinead O’ Conner, Azam Ali, even Depeche Mode, The Cure and a variety6 of other music.
I spent about 3 days picking out songs for the “perfect” playlist…and ended up having “Break Up” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johannsen on a shuffle loop.
I blogged my labor playlist here. I swear that, mid-push, my doctor asked me who the artist was at one point. ; )
I can’t get your link to work. Can you repost it?
I was going to push to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture … only I ended up having to have a C-section. But I felt like building up to the rout of the French army would be a great crescendo for pushing and keep me motivated.
I love this post, because a few years ago I was asked by some friends to make a birth mix CD for them with “Calm but Purposeful music” on it. I’ll have to dig up the whole playlist later today but I do remember that the first song on the CD was “Let’s Get it On” – because if you take the “Baby” in the long literally, it’s quite good for labor!
“I’ve been really tryin’, baby
Tryin’ to hold back this feelin’ for so long
And if you feel like I feel, baby
Then come on, oh, come on”
In the begining, I listened to my favorite pagan music, Damh the bard.
Then, when I needed something to distract me after I got in the labor pool, I watched Friends on DVD.
Pretty sure my playlist would include all the songs Stephanie listed above.
I only had music for the first little while, and then wanted silence in the room. But I listened to really calming stuff, not Enya…Sigur Ros, Cybo, Fleet Foxes, Air, and M83.
At first I took my playlist very seriously. I pondered themes and song order. Eventually I surrendered to my every idea and had a playlist packed w. a variety of stuff. I had everything from the Beastie Boys to the Cure to the Allman Brothers Band. I even had Motley Crue…Home Sweet Home, I can’t help it – I just love it. And of course, the song we named our daugher after (Little Lilly – Widespread Panic). It worked out great as I was in labor for a long time and went through many moods! Plus I could just yell to my husband “skip it” and instantly I was in a better place!
I listened to Toots and the Maytals for the first hour of my 2-hour labor, and couldn’t hear anything but myself after that 🙂
I had a playlist consisting of Viva Voce, Iron and Wine and Kings of Convenience when I wasn’t watching Comedy Central.
I listened to the Beatles greatest hits, just mellow enough to keep me calm for 38 hours of baby escape!
I’m pretty sure I will be listening to a lot of beatles during my birth. Good choice.
My husband is dead set on playing “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed on repeat the entire time. I love the song and think it would be great for right after baby is born but through hours of labor…we’ll see…
I’ve still got to make mine (I have-hopefully- about ten weeks left!), but I know it will have plenty of Bob Marley because he relaxes me. Also some Hootie and the Blowfish because for some reason when I hear a Hootie song I get really, really happy. The rest will just be a mix of my favorites (my taste in music is all over the map so there will be plenty of variety). No Enya. For some reason, Enya is like nails on a chalkboard to me. No clue what it is- my husband loves her!
(Oh, and to the poster who mentioned ‘let’s get it on’, in our birthing class a couple weeks ago we were talking about playlists and our instructor told us about a woman who- totally unexpectedly- could ONLY listen to that song on repeat during labor. At one point her husband got embarrassed and turned it and it took her over an hour to get back into her rhythm! Yikes!
We put our Pandora account on random and just went with what ever came on. The only songs we skipped over were the Christmas ones -she was born in February- and anything Michael Buble. Our stations are so random and include just about everything. It sparked some fun conversations with my family and midwives and kept the laughter up which was a big help.
I think I’d want some of my motivational favorites like Harry Connick Jr. “With Imagination (I’ll Get There)” Indigo Girls “Hammer and a Nail” and Flaming Lips “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” Okay, so some of those are about activism, not birth, but they inspire me and get me pumped and ready to get stuff done! 🙂
I was pushing through Slipknot, Jack Off Jill, The Eagles, Tenacious D, Stevie Ray, CCR, Blue Oyster Cult, The Beatles, Buddy Wasisname, and a horde of other Newfie/Irish songs, metal and classic rock songs. I don’t remember much, but I do recall it being like a kitchen party, including the some nurses and my sisters doing a little jig. It was apparently a very fun 36 hours, until they said I needed a c-section, anyway.
My labor playlist was crucial for me. Some how when I was putting it together I just knew I’d want rhythmic, repetitive stuff, so my playlist was heavily Radiohead and trip hop centric.
I had the majority of Radiohead’s “Hail to the Thief”, some Muse, some Ratatat, some Massive Attack. The music was exactly what I needed!
Thanks to this comment I ‘Googled’ Trip Hop which I’d never heard of before. I’ve got to say that I’m liking the songs I’ve found so far, so thanks for sharing! 😀
if you liked Massive Attack check out the artist Tricky, specifically the albums Pre-Millenium Tension and Blowback 🙂
good one .. tricky 🙂
I would say to just pick out music you LOVE. I wanted to be active during labor and have been a singer my whole life. So I picked groovin’ songs I knew all the words too. Lots of Aretha, Sharon Jones, Weezer, Led Zeppelin, Heather Nova, Ben Folds, on and on and on! then we just put the list on shuffle. There were some slow songs in the mix for sure, but in the end My doctor kept telling my husband to turn up the music because he could tell it was helping me! I even remember the Doc rocking out to some Hendrix at one point. The first song to play after my son was born? Wagon Wheel By Old Crow.
For my first son, all I remember is Dolly Parton’s Little Sparrow playing the moment he was born. I know I had GNR in there and some hip hop though too. For my second go ’round, I’m compiling mostly “womyn with a Y” music to which I can hopefully zen out: Indigo Girls, Brandi Carlisle, Ani, the Butchies, the Duke Spirit, Hope for a Golden Summer, Tift Merritt, Neko Case, Cat Power, Patty Griffin, PJ Harvey, and of course, Dolly. My plan is to draw on the collective strength and brilliance of all of these women. We’ll see how that works.
it was a mixture of Green Day’s American Idiot, Beck’s Sea Change and a cover of the Beatles “Blackbird” by Elliott Smith. 🙂
Four words: Eye of the Tiger.
my husband made an awesome mix we kept on shuffle for 12 hours…
some made me laugh, dance and i even had a happy cry during pushing when i was moved by a particular goldfrapp song
vibrate by outkast, happiness, clowns, little bird, headfirst by goldfrapp, nothin’ on you, b.o.b., love you girl by robin thicke, prince, badu, it’s good to be here by digable planets… everyone loves the sunshine by roy ayers, somewhere of the rainbow by israel k, fix up look sharp by dizzee rascal, the seed by the roots, something, norwegian wood, the word (and more) by the beatles, tears for fears, some arrested development, pure imagination medley from willy wonka, ALPHABEAT!, ghetto musik by outkast, brand new colony by postal service, some bjork… Hey Ya – obidiah parker version… lovely day by bill withers…
after the little lady came he made a mix cd called ‘mommy’s smile maker’
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