A recent article this week on using music therapy with preemies brought back this memory. It was good to read that something I had intuitively done for my own daughter, bringing in music for her to listen to while in the NICU, is now being used as a therapy in more NICU settings.Research is showing that Music therapy may be another way for caregivers to positively alter the environment of NICU premature babies and sick newborns. Desirable Impact of Music on NICU Babies
- Aids in brain and language development
- Conveys security to babies.
- Improves Oxygen saturation levels.
- Helps babies to sleep.
- Decreases pain.
- Increases weight gain.
- Shortens duration of hospital stay.
Guidelines for Using NICU Music
These guidelines come from Dr. Fred J. Schwartz, anesthesiologist and one of the leading authorities on using music with newborns:
- Try not to disrupt the baby’s normal sleep state.
- Consider the baby’s mood or behavioral state when music is played.
- Use music to help change or transition the baby’s behavioral state e.g. an agitated or fussy baby can go to sleep or become more quietly alert.
- Adjust volume and amount of time music is played if needed.
I have included some of the music CD's most commonly used in the NICU Music studies on the My Baby's in the NICU: Now What? lens that are readily available on Amazon.
Sources (Alphabetically) :
Collins SK, Kuck K. Music therapy in the neonatal intensive care unit. Neonatal Netw. 1991 Mar;9(6):23-6.
Marwick C. Music hath charms for care of preemies. JAMA. 2000 Jan 26;283(4):468-9.
Sagario D. Technology, music therapy give preemies an edge: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. June 11, 2007. Des Moines Register.com
Schwartz FJ. Ritchie R. Music Listening in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Previously available at Transitions Music.
Schwartz F. Perinatal Stress Reduction, Music and Medical Cost Savings. Previously available at Transitions Music.