Live music and premature babies

By: Jun 03, 2013
Music and babies

Live music has positive impacts on the health and development of premature babies.

It’s no surprise that music can impact the way we feel. It has the power to lift our spirits, relax us and even lull some of us to sleep, and in some cases, the wrong music can drive us up the wall and get us all worked up. What you may not know is that live music has recently been found to have positive impacts on the health and development of premature babies.

A recent study published by Pediatrics – the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, shows that live music could help to improve the health of premature babies.

The study found that live music was able to slow a baby’s rapid heartbeat and increase oxygen uptake for easier breathing. The study showed that it can also improve developmental function. It was observed that sound and lullaby improved premature infant’s feeding behaviours and sucking patterns and increased the amount of prolonged periods of quiet-alert state.

And the benefits of live-sung lullabies weren’t just good for the baby but also for the parents. By singing a lullaby to the baby, a parent encourages bonding and lowers their own stress levels, which are especially high in parents of premature babies.

Interestingly, pre-recorded music doesn’t have the same effect on the baby and has actually been found to risk overstimulation in hospital NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units). This means that you should skip those baby lullaby CDs and opt to sing to your baby instead in order to get the best results and enjoy that very important bonding that singing to your baby provides.

Other Studies on Music’s Impact on Health
Though live music’s effect on babies may be a relatively new discovery; the impact of music on our health is something that has been studied many times over the years. One recent example is a study from McGill University in Montreal, which found that music has a long list of benefits on our health.

It was found that music can improve our mood and also boost our immune system. As well, it found that music has the ability to reduce anxiety levels, and in some cases can do so even better than prescription anti-anxiety medications. This information was compiled after reviewing more than 400 published research papers that showed the benefits of music on motivation, arousal, and even social affiliation. They also found that music can actually reduce pain in people and lower your risk of illness by improving immunity.

Any Song Can Be a Lullaby
For parents interested in using live music on their newborns, you’ll be pleased to know that the benefits aren’t limited to traditional lullabies alone. Even non-lullaby songs were able to evoke the same positive response in babies when they were slowed down. Songs like ‘Eight Days A Week’ by the Beatles, ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye, and ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ by Average White Band were sung with some minor alterations to babies during the study.