Singing to your baby, or even just listening to soothing music, can make milk miracles! Researchers have found that listening to music while pumping can increase the amount of breastmilk pumped as well as the fat and caloric content. (Keith 2012). Ak (2015) found that in addition to increased pumped milk volume, music decreased the stress levels of NICU mothers who showed decreased serum cortisol levels.
In the earliest study, Feher (1989) found that the milk production of mothers increased 63% after 1 week of listening to a relation and guided imagery audiotape. And the mothers of the smallest preemies increased milk production by 121%.
Recordings of mothers singing to their NICU infants showed better adjustment and bonding scores. Mothers felt strongly that the recordings helped them cope with the NICU stay and infants were discharged 2 days earlier than controls (Cevasco 2008). Nilsson (2009) found that music increased serum oxytocin levels and decreased stress in surgical patients (This study was not conducted in a NICU setting).
Resources for mothers of NICU infants:
Created by Stephen Feher
Hypnosis for Pumping and Increasing breastmilk Robin Frees IBCLC, Newborn Concepts
Ak J, Lakshmanagowda PB, G C M P, Goturu J. Impact of music therapy on breast milk secretion in mothers of premature newborns. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015. Apr;9(4):CC04-6. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2015/11642.5776. Epub 2015 Apr 1. PubMed PMID:26023551; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4437063.
Cevasco AM. The effects of mothers' singing on full-term and preterm infants and maternal emotional responses. J Music Ther. 2008 Fall;45(3):273-306. PubMed. PMID: 18959452.
Feher SD, Berger LR, Johnson JD, Wilde JB. Increasing breast milk production for premature infants with a relaxation/imagery audiotape. Pediatrics. 1989. Jan;83(1):57-60. PubMed PMID: 2642620.
Keith DR, Weaver BS, Vogel RL. The effect of music-based listening interventions on the volume, fat content, and caloric content of breast milk-produced by mothers of premature and critically ill infants. Adv Neonatal Care. 2012 Apr;12(2):112-9. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e31824d9842. PubMed PMID: 22469966.
Nilsson U. Soothing music can increase oxytocin levels during bed rest after open-heart surgery: a randomized control trial. J Clin Nurs. 2009. Aug;18(15):2153-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02718.x. PubMed PMID: 19583647.