Singing to Soothe the Savage Preemie

A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown the positive benefits of singing to your preemie.

Thank god! At least now I can stop apologizing in my head for subjecting my wonderful nurses to my terrible singing voice for all those months! I wasn’t just singing for myself – I was singing for Sam’s health. Phew.

In all honesty, I knew that singing to Sam was helping him. I could see how he relaxed when I sang. I would watch the numbers on the monitor settle as I broke into song. But more than what it did for Sam, singing to him did wonders for me.

While in the NICU there was not a lot I could do to feel like a “normal” mom.  I only got to hold my baby once a day.  He didn’t nurse until he was almost two months old.  All of his baths were done late at night, so I didn’t get to bathe him until he was over three months old and home.  Changing Sam’s diaper was the one thing I was able to do routinely in the NICU.  Well, changing his diaper and singing.  And I did both of those things as often as I could.

In order not to loose my mind by singing baby songs, I had an interesting mix of songs that I sang to Sam.  I had a few traditional songs like “You Are My Sunshine” and “Hush Little Baby”.  I made up my own verses for the latter – it was more fun that way.  I also sang some of my favorites like “Mama Tried” and “Monkey Man”.

It’s funny, because even today, song is such a huge part of Sam’s soothing routine.  When he is upset, all I have to do is break out of of his current favorite songs, and Sam immediately calms down.
Sam the Anti-Preemie loves music
If he will not eat, I pull out the iPhone and play the Mumford and Sons “I Will Wait” or Sandi Thom “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker”.  No matter the situation, all it takes is a song to bring Sam back to a calm and happy state.

The power of music is really remarkable.

What songs did you (or do you) sing to your baby?

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  1. I am relearning all the nursery rhymes I ever knew. Our favorites are The Wheel on the Bus and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. I made the mistake of singing You Are My Sunshine to her while we were in the NICU and as I was singing the second verse I was also hearing the words applied to our situation and I sort of lost it.

    I should find non-baby songs to sing, too!

    • melragent says:

      Wheels on the Bus and Row, Row, Row Your Boat are also popular here. Along with Old MacDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Ring Around the Rosie, etc. I just can’t bring myself to just sing those songs – especially as Sam likes music so much. I had to shake it up.

      I hear what you are saying about You Are My Sunshine. It’s funny, because until you brought it up, I am not sure I even thought about that verse closely… but Now that I am, I can’t believe I sang it to him!

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