Music therapy does not improve parent-infant bonding among preterm infants

Clinical Question

Does parent-led infant-directed singing, supported by a certified music therapist and initiated in the neonatal intensive care unit, improve parent-infant bonding?

Bottom line

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! 1b-

Study design: Randomized controlled trial (single-blinded)

Funding: Government

Setting: Inpatient (any location) with outpatient follow-up


David C. Slawson, MD
Professor and Vice Chair of Family Medicine for Education and Scholarship
Atrium Health
Professor of Family Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill
Charlotte, NC

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Impact assessment



music therapy

good to know


Music therapy does not improve parent-infant bonding among p

it would be helpful to know what tools were used to describe or measure the quality, strength, or extent of the somewhat difficult to define concept of 'bonding'