"When we’re born a full-term infant, we can see, but our vision is protected in a way that we don’t take on too much stimuli for our systems to organize,” Hanson-Abromeit said. “And when a baby is born prematurely, those systems haven’t yet fully developed.”
She explains that premature infants are overwhelmed with information: noise, light, new people. A neonatal intensive care unit can be especially chaotic, and the babies’ brains aren’t developed enough to handle it all. The stress puts their nervous system into fight-or-flight mode, which robs them of the energy and focus their brains and nervous systems need to help them grow.
But if music has charms to soothe a savage breast, it also can soothe a newborn’s nervous system.
“We’re really trying to help them at a very basic neurological level organize at staying calm,” Hanson-Abromeit said.
Pre-recorded music won’t do the trick. The educational value of Baby Einstein DVDs largely has been debunked. Helping infants’ brains develop requires something more subtle: the kind of attentive interaction practiced by therapists like Hanson-Abromeit.
“We can change those characteristics of the music to be less complex,” she said. “And then build that up gradually for more complexity as the baby’s neurological processes can handle that, or we help them start to develop those things.”
Music helps with premature babies: http://www.khi.org/news/2014/oct/06/ku-professor-develops-music-therapy-premature-infa/ Art is pretty amazing, right?
This made me think of baby Anna-Grace, who IS home. God is good.
I hope she likes the room we made for her.
Check out her story and the project at: https://larissa-fogelman.squarespace.com/for-baby/