There are a host of complications that can arise when a baby is born prematurely, which is a concern that many new parents share. According to MSNBC, over 13 million babies are born prematurely, worldwide. This is an alarming number that introduces many anxieties. A new study conducted by Israeli researchers suggests that prematurely born infants may find aid in weight gain—just by listening to Mozart.
The researchers included Dr. Dror Mandel and Dr. Ronit Lubetzky, both staff at the Tel Aviv Medical Center that is affiliated with Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. Results of the study concluded that prematurely born babies that were exposed to 30 minutes of Mozart’s classics per day grew much more quickly than those that were not exposed to the music.
It is not entirely clear what specific processes are in effect to create this change, but a few factors have been highlighted by the researchers. One of these includes the effect the music has on the movement of the infant as he or she listens to the music. It was found that while the music was playing, infants expended less energy—which would allow them to retain more of their caloric intake and promote weight gain.
Weight gain helps a preemie has more benefit than one may realize, as the faster an infant reaches his or her ideal weight, the faster they leave the hospital. Being in a hospital increases the likelihood of an infant contracting illness or infection. Further, immune system strength seems to get stronger as babies approach a healthy weight, which will prevent illness as well.
So does all classical music help preemies gain weight?
It appears not. Researchers commented that Mozart’s music includes melodies that are highly repetitive—particularly compared with that of Beethoven, Bach, or Bartok. This repetitive melody may create the soothing effect experienced by the infants, who tended to be less agitated when exposed to it. This diminishing of stress may also lend to a lessened expense of energy.
What other steps can be taken to help the development of a preemie?
Medical issues aside, development of your preemie may run a similar course as any other child. Ensuring that your baby is healthy is of utmost importance regardless of whether he or she was born prematurely or not. Here are some tips to ensure the proper and healthy development of your infant:
• Be sure that your child receives a lot of stimulatory input—this particularly includes tactile input. This can come in the form of holding, caressing, or any other form of touching. This input will stimulate brain development, as well as strengthen parent/child bonds that will lead to healthy psychological and emotional development as well.
• Other sensory input is incredibly important—sounds, smells, colors, etc. However, understand that exposure to the television does not help your baby’s development, but rather hurts it. It is recommended that no child under the age of five be exposed to too much television, as it causes over stimulation—which can cause complications in psychological development.
• Make sure that your baby gets properly fed. Consult with your doctor to make sure you are properly educated on what your child should be eating, how often, and if any supplements or vitamins are necessary. A malnourished baby will have development issues.
Mozart may not be the answer to all preemie complications, but it certainly shows great promise for future strides in natural treatment of these disadvantaged infants.
Sarah Danielson writes for a medical careers website where you can find tips, advice, and the latest news about jobs in the medical field.