I remember the first time I heard music playing in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at City Hospital. I remember it like it was yesterday. The exact spot I was standing when I heard this ethereal sound, almost haunting and as my brain tried to catch up with this music I felt the tears beginning to fall down my face. Why this music had such an effect on me I cannot tell you but to this day, that moment is still so fresh in my mind.
These ethereal sounds were the words and sounds of Enya, an Irish singer, instrumentalist and songwriter and for those of you who are not familiar with her work I do recommend a search on her music. I turned to one of the other mothers in the unit who had watched my reaction and she assured me she had a similar reaction. I said to her that I couldn't imagine ever being able to listen to this music ever again without becoming so emotional, but, how wrong was I! By the second week I was more familiar with the music and began to feel myself relaxing and almost reflecting on what was happening to me and family. I spoke to the manager of the unit and she explained to me that research has shown the benefits of playing music to babies and how it can soothe the babies and improve their sleeping and eating patterns.
When George came home from hospital I was aware he was moving from a noisy and light filled environment to a home where alarms are not sounding and lights are not bright. I decided to ignore the lump in my throat and I purchased her album, The Very Best of Enya. Whenever he would not settle or sleep I would play her album to him and to this day, when I am struggling, I still do.
At 4.30am this morning as I struggled to get George to settle in a new time zone I switched on my iPad in his nursey and started to play Enya. George lay back down in his crib, he held his cat and blanket and drifted off to sleep. Whether it was exhaustion or Enya I was thankful and as I drifted off to sleep I thought of all the Mighty Babies out there today settling to those similar and enchanting sounds. JPH-H
This interesting article supports this practice and I cannot commend Mediclinic City Hospital enough for implementing this practice in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit