We all learned that music is “good for the soul” and now there is evidence the same is true for premature babies. There is now scientific evidence that music, specifically music performed live for tiny premature infants, reduces their stress, improves their sleep, and boosts their ability to feed. Music literally shapes and trains their developing infant brains in a positive way. Familiar voices, rhythms, and sounds have positive effects on premature infants.
Data collected from Neonatal Intensive Care Units and published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that premature babies have a variety of positive physical responses to music. When the preemies in the study listened to live music such as lullabies sung by their parents, their breathing and heart rates showed improvement, their sleep quality was enhanced, their sucking behavior increased, and their caloric intake was boosted.
Neonatal intensive care units are noisy, chaotic places by their very nature and I am sure are very scary places for these little patients. I am really not surprised that a parent singing or rhythmic music being produced calms a sick preemie. Music and singing from familiar voices must provide a needed break from the noisy monitors, bright lights, and painful procedures they regularly endure.
Music and singing can truly improve the lives of premature babies. I am sure the same is true for all infants and children. Remember the wisdom in that old saying, “singing is good for the soul”. Sing a lullaby to your baby every night if you can; not only may it increase his or her health, but it will provide you with a bonding experience neither of you will ever forget. Don’t miss out on this chance to make powerful memories for you and your baby.
Your comments are welcome at my blog, www.docsmo.com. Tell others about your musical experiences with your little ones. Until next time.
Written by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.