The power of parent voice on the NICU

28 March 2024

The power of parent voice on the NICU

Parents’ voice in the neonatal unit is incredibly powerful.

“At a time when they feel helpless and scared, and their parental role is disrupted, there are things they can do that have significant impacts on their child’s health and development,” – Melissa Scala, Neonatologist from Stanford Children’s Hospital

Studies have shown that the level of speech exposure a baby has in the NICU has a profoundly positive impact on a premature baby’s weight gain and physical growth.

There are many ways parents can use the power of their voice in the NICU.

Talking to baby
Parents can speak to their baby in a calm and soothing way, talking about their day, family members, or things they are looking forward to when they come home from hospital.

Reading to baby
When parents can’t find the words to say, reading a book to their baby is a wonderful way to use their voice in the NICU. Some neonatal units have libraries where parents can borrow books to read to their little ones.

Singing to baby
If comfortable to do so, parents can sing to their baby. This can help calm and reassure babies by hearing their parents’ familiar voices. For more information and a list of soothing songs to sing, click here.

During the NICU journey, it is not always possible for parents to be with their babies. vCreate has a parent voices feature which allows families, including siblings, to securely send in videos of them talking, reading or singing that can be played to babies at their cot side. Meaning that babies can still benefit from the sound of familiar voices, even when parents can’t physically be with them. This feature is optional for teams to activate at their convenience.

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