Music Therapy for Babies in the NICU
All of these negative environmental factors can get in the way of the primary goal in the NICU—growth. It takes lots of energy to grow outside of the mother's womb, so anything doctors and nurses—and parents—can do to make it easier for a preemie to grow is a very good thing. That's where music therapy comes in handy for your premature baby.
In many NICUs, the use of music for premature babies has become standard of care. That means, many clinicians believe it's a proven tool to help the premature infant, and they have made music therapy a part of their regular treatment plan.
The Benefits of Premature Baby Music Therapy
There are a number of potential benefits that have been documented in the use of music therapy for preemies. For one, music has been shown to help calm babies, including soothing inconsolable crying and improving sleep.
Music for preemies has also been shown to:
- Increase oxygen saturation levels
- Improve feeding ability and help increase caloric intake
- Improve weight gain
- Shorten the number of days in the hospital
Music Beyond the NICU for Premature Babies
The benefits of music for your preemie can go beyond the NICU. In fact, playing music has also been shown to help calm parents and increase the rate of bonding. Further, it may help stimulate neurodevelopment and help language and social development.
Even if your infant didn't have music therapy in the hospital, you can start it at home. Here are a few tips on using music for premature babies at home:
- Play soft, calm music in short intervals (20-30 minutes) a couple of times per day.
- Sing or hum along with the music–your baby loves to hear your voice.
- Have music time before you put your baby down to sleep or during feeding.
- Be sure to watch for signs of overstimulation from your baby.
If you're looking to give your preemie baby's brain a boost or just to share a tender moment, music can help in easing your transition home with your newborn. Learn more about your preemie’s behavior as well as milestones to look out for.