A recent study published in the May 2013 journal of Pediatrics has shown that premature babies respond well to and thrive with music therapy. The study, led by
Joanne Loewy of the Beth Israel's Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, followed over 272 babies born before 37 weeks gestation within the neonatal intensive care units (NICU) of 11 hospitals.
The article, titled "The Effects Of Music Therapy on Vital Signs, Feeding, and Sleep in Premature Infants, offered promise to the parents and children managing the affects of premature birth. The team found that the preemies who heard "live" music intervention via ocean "whoosh" sounds, gato box rhythms, and good old fashioned lullabies sung by their parents were beneficially affected by the music. Researchers found that the music was soothing, improved the infants' sucking patterns, helped the babies sleep, and boosted the babies' abilities to self regulate temperature and breathing patterns. The team also found nonspecific and loud noise negatively impacted the child's development and growth.
Best of all, when parents sang lullabies to their premature infant, the bonds of attachment between parent and child was significantly strengthened. Parents were reportedly less stressed and anxious and the music had a similar effect on the babies. In most cases, the infants' vital signs were enhanced and they were comforted by the sounds of their parents' voices.
For more about this interesting study, go here.