Mozart Soothes Preemies

12.08.09 Study finds classical music keeps premature babies calm, which helps them gain weight


Baby Einstein might not be helpful for babies, but it looks like Baby Mozart can be a boost for preemies. A new study says the sounds of Mozart might help slow premature infants' metabolism, possibly helping them to put on much-needed weight, Reuters reports.

The Israeli study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that listening for just 30 minutes per day helped preemies use less energy, which may help them grow faster. When a baby is born early, lots of pathways in the brain are still developing, and the babies are suddenly dealing with sensory overload from unfamiliar sounds in a new environment. Experts suggest the music can help soothe these unpleasant noises.

"Within 10 minutes of listening to Mozart music, healthy infants (born prematurely) had a 10 percent to 13 percent reduction of their resting energy expenditure," the researchers wrote. They suggest that this resting energy might explain the improved weight gain that results from the "Mozart effect."

Multiple studies in recent years that have found the "Mozart effect" can decrease the heart rate, lower stress hormone levels and ease distressed behavior in preemies. Babies exposed to music have also shown an increase in oxygen levels and weight gain.

Experts say music can be a very important aspect in a child's life, as Crib Notes has reported. A recent study found that newborns can follow musical patterns, suggesting that rocking out is innate. Plus, research shows you can use musical playtime with your little one to help his or her brain development between the ages of 4 to 5 months.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.