An article in the Metro this morning informed readers about an interesting new study at Beth Israel Medical Centre in New York, where researchers have discovered that playing music and singing to premature babies improves their well-being and their development. Three techniques were proven in the study: In the first, well-known pop songs were modified to sound more like a lullaby and played to the babies. Secondly, the babies listened to an ‘ocean disc’ instrument, which imitated the sounds the baby heard in the womb. In the third technique, a so-called ‘gato box’ was used to create a rhythm that would replicate a mother’s heartbeat. All three methods have shown that babies’ sleep, breathing and feeding were improved.
Lullabies were also very helpful in relaxing the babies’ heartbeat and making them more alert. The parents too could relieve stress whilst singing to their babies. The study has also shown that music should be used more in hospitals and that babies should not be put in an incubator. Doctors and nurses have to see music as a non-invasive, healthy intervention for babies, as well as for children, young and old people with autism or learning disabilities.