Music therapy eases breast feeding for premature babies

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music therapy helps breast feeding in neonatal intensive care unit
Music therapy breast milk for premature babies

For the first few weeks, mothers who have given birth to premature babies produce milk that is specially designed to suit the baby’s specific needs. The problem is that mothers often have difficulty producing enough milk for their babies. Certain conditions, complications, medication side-effects, and even the trauma from Caesarean deliveries can cause a condition called delayed onset of lactation. Other factors, such as stress and fatigue can also play a role in lack of milk production. Mothers with this condition may only be able to produce a few drops instead of the ounces of breast milk that is packed full of nutrients and fats that newborns need to gain weight and fight off infection.

How Important is Direct Breast-feeding?

Most Neo-Natal Intensive Care Units (NICU) encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies. Until recently, however, there wasn’t much data available about the benefits of mothers breastfeeding their babies directly (nipple to mouth) as opposed to bottled breastmilk. Researchers recently reviewed extensive documentation on the various feeding methods inside NICUs and if breastfeeding continued after the baby was discharged from the NICU. They learned that if mothers directly breastfed their babies while in the NICU, breastfeeding was more likely to continue afterward.

Making a Lasting Impact

Another review examining ways to help mothers continue to breastfeed after leaving the NICU suggested a number of strategies. These included prenatal education, breastfeeding knowledge, and most importantly, adequate quantity and quality of breastmilk during the first week after discharge. The researchers concluded that, in order for mothers to have the best chance to continue breastfeeding, NICUs should take an active role to ensure that parents understand how to handle breastfeeding problems such as delayed onset of lactation.

One of the main reasons women stop breastfeeding their premature babies is because they believe that they are not producing enough milk. Researchers conducted a study to see if counseling would be effective in helping women to continue to breastfeed. After surveys and three months of evaluations, the study showed that by introducing lactation management techniques, all women in the study were able to continue to breastfeed and their babies grew at satisfactory levels. This study is further evidence of the importance of NICUs teaching lactation techniques to mothers of premature babies.

Music Therapy for Breast Milk

Listening to music helps us to relax and lower anxiety and stress levels. Anxiety can play a role in a new mother’s inability to produce enough milk for their babies, especially when the little ones are placed in a stress-inducing environment such as a neonatal unit. A recent study on breastfeeding mothers sought to find if there was any link between music therapy and milk production. New mothers were asked to pump breastmilk for four sessions while listening to classical Indian music, and on opposite days pump without listening to music. They also were asked to fill out questionnaires and submit saliva samples that would measure their stress levels. The results of the study showed that the women produced more breastmilk while undergoing music therapy and their saliva contained less cortisol, a hormone associated with anxiety. Researchers concluded that music therapy would be effective in counteracting conditions such as delayed onset of lactation.

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