An innovative study, led by Jan Lariviere, a nurse at the neonatal clinic and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) was conducted on the benefits of parents reading to their newborn babies to help develop “normalcy” and enhance the bonding between them.
Results from the study are published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
A crucial period for newborn infants are the first few days after birth, when they learn to recognize their parent’s voice. This time is also especially important for the parents to bond with their newborns. The difficulty lies when parents have to be separated from their child for admission to the neonatal care unit, which can potentially affect their chance to bond early on.
Lariviere points out that the research involved studying 120 families, whether the parents reading to their babies had an effect on their bond, and if this prompted parents to keep reading to them at home. The babies were admitted to the NICU for either being critically ill, having genetic deformities or premature.
Almost 70% of the parents confirmed that they felt closer to their babies because they would read to them. They were also found to be three times more inclined to continue reading to their babies at home.
"As health professionals, we must give parents the tools they need to cope with the situation," commented Lariviere. "Reading should become an essential tool in NICUs and follow-up clinics."
Said Dr. Janet Rennick, co-author of the study, Nurse Scientist at MCH and Assistant Professor at McGill University’s School of Nursing and Department of Pediatrics, “We plan to continue our research efforts over the coming years to evaluate the long-term effects of nursing interventions on the development of critically ill children."
SOURCES: • December 18, 2010. “Innovative Research Investigates The Importance of Reading To Newborns In The NICU” medicalnewstoday.com • Summer. December 22, 2010. “Reading Helps Parents Bond With Their Babies While in The NICU” growingyourbaby.com