Does parent-led infant-directed singing, supported by a certified music therapist and initiated in the neonatal intensive care unit, improve parent-infant bonding?
This study found that parent-led infant-directed singing initiated in the NICU and supported by a music therapist is no more effective at improving parent-infant bonding than standard care. If you have a lovely singing voice, though, it's likely the staff will appreciate hearing it. I knew my voice would not be applauded when our triplets were NICU preemies, so I sang very softly!
Plan de l'etude:
Randomized controlled trial (single-blinded)
Inpatient (any location) with outpatient follow-up
Parent-infant bonding is important for long-term infant health and may be disturbed or delayed by preterm birth. These investigators recruited parent-infant pairs from neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Argentina, Colombia, Israel, Norway, and Poland. Eligibility criteria included preterm infants born less than 35 weeks' gestational age who were likely to be hospitalized a minimum of 2 weeks from inclusion but were otherwise medically stable. Study participants (N = 206 infants with 206 mothers) randomly received assignment (concealed allocation) to either music therapy (MT) or standard care. MT consisted of parent-led infant-directed singing, in which infants communicated specific behavior activity in response to their parent's use of voice, with parents then directing their singing to infant responses. A certified music therapist collaborated with parents to interpret infant communication cues. The MT group received 3 individual MT sessions per week throughout hospitalization, each lasting approximately 30 minutes, up to a maximum of 27 sessions. Before discharge, participants were randomized a second time (concealed allocation assignment) to either 7 individual MT sessions within the first 6 months after discharge or to standard care.
Multiple validated scoring tools assessed the primary outcome of parent-infant bonding, as well as multiple secondary outcomes including maternal depressive symptoms, parental anxiety and stress, infant development, and rehospitalization during the first year of life. Complete follow-up occurred for 95% of parent-infant pairs at 6 months’ corrected age, and for 88% at 12 months’ corrected age. Using intention-to-treat analysis, no significant differences occurred between the MT groups and the standard care groups for any of the primary or secondary outcomes.
David C. Slawson, MD
Professor and Vice Chair of Family Medicine for Education and Scholarship
Professor of Family Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill