Music Therapy in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Music has been used for therapeutic purposes for hundreds of years. Research has found that music can reduce physical pain, improve sleep quality, reduce stress, create a calmer atmosphere, elevate mood and reduce anxiety.

Research has also found that music therapy can have a profound effect on premature babies. Lullabies sung by a parent can improve bonding, which in turn reduced parental stress associated with the early arrival of their baby. It also influenced the sucking mechanism in preterm infants, and sleep state.

But beyond the NICU ward, there is much benefit in music therapy for pregnant women, unborn babies and for Mums and babies after both and beyond.

In Pregnancy

Music therapy in pregnancy can be used to bring about relaxation which in turn can be used to alter pain perceptions in labour and delivery. For the baby, music may ease the transition from womb to outside world, create a familiar and secure environment for babies and encourage early bonding between mother and child, particularly if played during the last trimester of pregnancy.

The tempo of lullabies are designed to match the tempo of the human heart beat, which is why singing a lullaby can calm a crying baby or help a restless baby fall to sleep.

Music Therapy and Breastfeeding

If you’re breast feeding or providing expressed breast milk to your baby, the stress and tiredness associated with a new baby can impact your milk supply and let down reflex while expressing.

The general benefits of music therapy can also be used to help enhance milk production and the breastfeeding experience for both mother and baby. Music designed specifically for breastfeeding mothers is designed to calm the heart rate and bring about deep, restful breathing. This will, in turn, improve the let down reflex so there is more milk available for suckling or expressing.

Music therapy offers so many general benefits, as well as proven benefits within the context of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. It is also non-invasive, inexpensive, and convenient, so is a worthwhile tool to consider as you navigate your way through motherhood.