Researchers have found that playing lullabies to premature babies can help lower heart rates and aid breathing and feeding.
Scientists at the Beth Israel Medical Centre in New York have just published the results of a fascinating study in which they measured the effects of playing music to premature babies. According to lead researcher Dr. Aimee Telsey; exposure to music improved heart rates, sleep patterns, sucking behaviour & calorie intake in the premature babies studied. Furthermore stress levels fell and the music even helped mother and baby to bond.
Three types of music were used in the study: traditional lullabies, ‘wooshing’ sounds produced by Remo ocean discs and simulated heart-beat rhythms using Gato boxes (Remo ocean discs and Gato boxes are devices used by music therapists which can be synchronised with the tempo of an infant’s heart-beat and breathing rate).
The 272 premature babies studied had various medical conditions from breathing difficulties to infections of the blood-stream. Exposure to all three types of music (three times a week for two weeks) was found to calm heart rates. The most effective type of music was shown to be the traditional lullabies.
Our company acquired its name from a similar study that was published several years ago in the International Journal of Arts Medicine. This study had similar results to the one described above: Music was shown to reduce heart rates, increase oxygen saturation and reduce stress behaviours in newborn babies. The babies in the study were dubbed ‘The Lullaby Babies.’
It’s important to point out a possible explanation for the positive results that was proposed by the researchers from original study. The lead researcher in original study explained that the correlation between exposure to music and reduction in stress levels may simply be because the music drowned out the loud, harsh, disturbing noises of machinery and staff that were present in the neonatal unit. This warrants further investigation as neonatal units around the globe could potentially aid the recovery times of their premature patients simply by creating an environment more appropriate for the sensitive young ears of babies.