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Lullabies Can Actually Improve the Health of Premature Babies in Hospital –And Their Family’s Health Too

Singing lullabies can not only improve the health of premature babies during intensive care but can lift their anxious family too, according to new research.

Gentle music therapy slows down the heart rate of prematurely delivered infants—and also helps them to feed and sleep better, say scientists.

New research into live music helping new mothers and family members has shown rhythmic strings or humming helps with therapeutic or care procedures.

While playing sad songs may seem to be the antithesis of what scared parents may need at a time when their baby is in the intensive care unit, medical staff have said the impact of these songs were positive.

It is thought playing songs about death, heartbreak, or other difficult times helps parents process their feelings and a sign of life from outside the hospital, too.

Taru Koivisto, a doctoral student at UniArts Helsinki, said she worked with other professional musicians in hospitals and saw the playing of live instruments helped both mother and baby with healing—physically and mentally.

She said, “A moment of music can create an intimate atmosphere where the parents can forget about treatments, tubes, and machines and put their entire focus on their baby and truly see them.

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“For the parents, music was a sign of life from outside of the hospital and helped them understand that life will carry on even in hard times,” Koivisto says.

When a family’s premature infant goes into intensive care, their life may be changed permanently.

Ms Koivisto added, “Music moments were described as a break that allowed the whole family to metaphorically travel to another space or place.

“A shared musical journey together may have helped the family members create a new narrative for their life.

“In one of the example situations, a mother of a baby asked her own mother, the grandmother of the baby, whether the song she chose was too emotional for her.

“The grandmother said ‘no’. When they sang the song together, the grandmother started crying, but the mother of the child was content in her own way.”

RELATED: Research Shows Babies Are Relaxed By Lullabies Even in Foreign Languages: The Frère Jacques Response

Other live therapeutic studies have shown gentle music therapy like singing lullabies can influence cardiac and respiratory function in newborns.

Previous research found babies who receive this kind of therapy leave the hospital sooner.

The findings were published in the journal Expanding Professionalism in Music and Higher Music Education.

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