Jessie’s Fund is piloting a programme of music therapy for babies and their parents/carers on the neonatal wards at UCLH. Music therapy will support the psychological and physiological development of these infants and provide parents/carers with support to develop the parent-child bond.
It ran from 12:00 PM, 1 December 2020 to 12:00 PM, 8 December 2020
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1045731)
Developmental delay in babies on neonatal wards: Babies on neonatal wards are fragile, yet medical interventions and the hospital environment itself create stressors for babies and parents, often leading to developmental delay. For example, the parent bonding process, which underpins an infant's social, emotional and cognitive development, can be inhibited by anxiety. And where it is difficult to interpret and respond to an infant's cues, the likelihood of developmental delay is raised further.
Live music is created by the music therapist to interpret and reflect infant gestures, demonstrating to the infant that they are being seen and providing them with a sense of self and their relationship to others. At the same time, parents are given support to bond with their infant, moving the focus away from medical needs and reducing both parent and infant anxiety. In this way, opportunities arise for responsiveness and emotional expression both of which are vital in early brain development.
'For families like ours you are given no hope, but the music therapist can give you hope through song.'
'Music therapy was something I felt I had control over. The one thing I could do.'
'Many parents comment that music therapy is a time of 'normality' ... where they have time to be with and focus on each other. In this situation I often see babies taking deeper steadier breaths and parent's anxieties reducing.'
'During this pandemic it is more important than ever before that families can feel connected with each other. By sharing music that is important to them as a family, the parent who is on the unit can connect their new infant with family who are unable to be present.'
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