Singing Aids Preemies

Singing is so Important!

You may be aware of Mrs. Jeanette’s article on the use of songs for instructional purposes. Not only do songs aid in retention and memory recall, they simply are fun. Now there is research that supports the health benefits of songs, especially for preemies.

According to a new study by Shmuel Arnon, a physician at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel, the combination of hearing their mother’s voice softly singing and being held against her skin can have a number of health benefits for preemies, and it helps moms too!

When mothers in a neonatal intensive care unit sang while holding their preterm infants in a skin-to-skin ‘kangaroo care’ position, the babies’ heart rates improved compared with when they were held without singing. Mothers’ anxiety levels dropped as well. Past research has found that preemies’ breathing, heart function and feeding all improve when they hear their mother’s voice, which is familiar from their time in the womb. Other studies have found that kangaroo care can aid in brain development, provide pain relief and help a preemie stay warm.

To see whether adding singing to kangaroo care benefited babies or mothers, the study team recruited 86 pairs of mothers and infants between October 2011 and March 2012. Over the course of two days, mother-infant pairs had kangaroo care sessions with and without signing. Each therapy session started 30 minutes after the babies were fed. Before and after each session, mothers answered a standard questionnaire to measure their anxiety on a scale from 20 to 80. Mothers were compared to themselves on days when they sang or didn’t sing, and the researchers found singing made a significant difference in their anxiety levels.

There’s nothing better than research that proves something you already know. Sing with your child. Sing while giving them that bear hug at the end of each day.

Best,

Dr. Michele