Music therapy helps improve health of NICU babies

Music therapy helps improve health of NICU babies
Michael Detmer (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Michael Detmer (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Amy Rodgers-Smith (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Amy Rodgers-Smith (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Have you ever wondered why mothers and fathers sing to their children? There's a science behind that and the music therapists at Norton Women's and Kosair Children's Hospital are at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit daily to show parents how it all works.

Amy Rodgers-Smith is one of the students, training for her NICU music therapy certificate. She believes in the power of music.

"I have always loved working with children and doing music therapy with children," Rodgers-Smith said.

She says music for babies who are just developing their senses is a magical tool that calms like none other.

"Something that surprises me, it never gets old, is when you introduce the music to babies they have an immediate response," Rodgers-Smith said.
 
That moment of clarity and connection is one of the reasons Rodgers-Smith is training for her certificate.
 
"When they first come into this world, they need all of this care and I really find the developmental piece fascinating," Rodgers-Smith said.

The certificate will allow her to show NICU mothers how to soothe their babies when they're fussing. This is important that they know how to properly handle such a sensitive baby, especially because NICU babies can't handle too much stimuli
at once.
 
"We always encourage the mothers to sing to their babies because it is the most preferred sound to the baby," Michael Detmer explained, referring to the mother's voice.

Detmer, a board-certified and NICU-certified music therapist at Norton Women's and Kosair Children's Hospital, is in charge of helping his trainees like Rodgers-Smith get their certifications. He says during training some mothers are hesitant about singing in public, but singing is key.

There is a science behind why lullabies are so powerful.

"It's just showing people, I think seeing is believing and that's very true with music therapy," Rodgers-Smith said.
 
The voice of a mother or a father is the key to a baby's heart.
 
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