Study examines effect of mothers’ voices on NICU babies

A research study at AdventHealth for Children in Orlando hopes to help mothers forge a closer bond with their babies in the NICU, when the baby is forced to stay in the hospital while the mother is sent home. Raena Baptiste-Boles, an Orlando psychologist, says her daughter Riley spent the first three months of her life in AdventHealth’s NICU. She volunteered for the study which examines the effect of mother-child vocal connections in the early stages of a child’s life. . Baptiste-Boles had to record himself singing, as well as reading books. This recording was later played in Riley’s incubator at NICU. “I was hoping she’d recognize it once she got out, and she did. I’ve noticed that as I get older, when I sing to her, she calms down and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that she recognizes my singing voice in the isolette,” said Baptiste-Boles. Researchers say there is already a lot of data that supports the role of a mother’s voice not only in calming a developing It’s a well-known fact that mothers who have NICU babies are at higher risk for postpartum depression and anxiety. than having a healthy baby,” Dereddy said. can be diminished by the practice of making recordings. Dereddy says that if the study finds that voice recordings help NICU moms, it will become probably a regular offer.Researchers say that the voice of e mother is played in the incubator at a very low intensity, only 40 to 50 decibels. The average adult can barely hear it, but doctors say it’s safe for babies and similar to what they hear in their mother’s womb.

A research study at AdventHealth for Children in Orlando hopes to help mothers forge a closer bond with their babies in the NICU, when the baby is forced to stay in the hospital while the mother is sent home.

Orlando psychologist Dr. Raena Baptiste-Boles says her daughter Riley spent the first three months of her life in AdventHealth’s NICU.

She volunteered for the study which examines the effect of mother-child vocal connections in the early stages of a child’s life.

Baptiste-Boles had to record himself singing, as well as reading books. This recording was later played in Riley’s incubator at NICU.

“I was hoping she’d recognize it once she got out, and she did. I’ve noticed that as I get older, when I sing to her, she calms down and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that she recognizes my voice when singing the isolette,” said Baptiste-Boles.

The researchers say there is already a lot of data that supports the role of a mother’s voice not only in calming an infant, but also in stimulating brain development.

Dr. Narendra Dereddy is medical director of neonatology at AdventHealth for Children.

He says what’s unique about this study is that it focuses more on what playing the tapes does for NICU mothers than for babies.

“It’s a well-known fact that mothers who have NICU babies are at a higher risk of postpartum depression and anxiety than having a healthy baby,” Dereddy said.

Dereddy said he was looking to see if levels of anxiety and postpartum depression in NICU mothers could be decreased through the practice of taping.

Baptiste-Boles said it made a big difference for her.

“It helps to feel like a mom, to feel like you haven’t done anything wrong, like you’re doing your best,” Baptiste-Boles said.

Dereddy says if the study finds voice recordings help NICU moms, it will likely become a regular offering.

Researchers say the mother’s voice is played in the incubator at a very low intensity, just 40 to 50 decibels.

The average adult can barely hear it, but doctors say it’s safe for babies and similar to what they hear in their mother’s womb.

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