Please click here to listen to the WFIT Minute: Track #91 – Music Therapy for Premature Infants
Based on research by Joanne Loewy et al., 2013, written by Kyle Piecora, M.S..
Can music be a valuable tool in aiding in the health and development of premature infants? Infants seem to fall into synchrony with surrounding sounds.
Music therapists, Joanne Loewy and Kristen Stewart, a nurse, a medical doctor, and psychologist Peter Homel looked to see how live music and applied sounds affect infants with respiratory distress syndrome, clinical sepsis, or were small for their gestational age. Infants received musical interventions twice per week over a 2-week span. The interventions included a parent-chosen lullaby, simulation of breath and fluid sounds of the womb, and simulation of heartbeat sounds. The lullaby lowered heart rates and increased babies’ sucking behavior and caloric intake. The heartbeat rhythm also lowered heart rates, in addition to aiding in healthy sucking behavior. Breathing and fluid sounds lowered heart rates after it was administered, and also influenced healthy oxygen saturation. Parental stress was assessed at the beginning and end of the study. Parents indicated that singing to their child or playing lullabies aided in reducing their own personal stress.
Parents, help your baby grow by singing soothing and comforting music to them. This will also help reduce your personal stress as you start bonding on your parenthood journey!
Loewy, J., Stewart, K., Dassler, A., Telsey, A., & Homel, P. (2013). The effects of therapy on vital signs, feeding, and sleep in premature infants. Pediatrics, 131(5), 902-918.