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.
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?