Music Therapy for infants and newborns

Remember singing lullabies to your babies? Think of the qualities of those songs. Hear the slow and soothing tones of Brahms’s “Lullaby” or the steady rhythm of “Hush Little Baby”. Lullabies are used to calm babies to help them fall asleep and are often accompanied by gentle rocking and slower breathing. These lullabies probably help soothe the mother, too!

Music is an important part of a newborn’s life. It provides stimulation for baby’s developing brain and promotes bonding between the parents and the baby through the shared experience and the responsiveness of the baby to the interaction. There are many “Mommy and Me” music classes, like Kindermusik, Music Together, and more.

Music therapists work with medically fragile newborns and infants to help them reach developmental milestones and to help parents bond with their child. You’ll find music therapists working the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with very fragile babies. Studies have shown that music therapy can help decrease the infant’s length of stay in the NICU. (1, 2, http://apt.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1043%2F0022-2917(2000)037[0250%3ATEOPTI]2.3.CO%3B2
)

They also work in children’s hospitals and pediatric units to provide procedure support (using music therapy methods to decrease stress of the child during medical procedures), pain relief or mediation, and play to normalize the environment and promote development.

You can use music to help your newborn:
• Sing. It does not matter whether you think your voice sounds good or not. Your infant will prefer your voice over anyone else’s! Sing your favorite songs or make up songs that tell your baby how special and loved he/she is.
• Play. Shake rattles, beat drums, and ring bells. Experiment with rhythm and movement to help your baby develop motor and cognitive skills.
• Dance. Moving in space helps a baby develop the vestibular system, the part of the inner ear that helps us to figure out what position our head is in and if we are moving. This allows your baby to understand and relate to the world around him/her.

Trying to find a music therapist to work with your baby? Contact me – I’d be glad to help!