FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Parents who read to their
newborns in the intensive care unit feel closer to their babies
during this difficult time, a new study finds.
The first few days of a newborn's life are an important time of
parent bonding with their children. But critically ill babies in
the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are often separated from
"The objective of this study, which involved 120 families, was
to determine whether reading helped strengthen the bond between
parents and their babies, and whether this motivated parents to
continue reading at home," principal investigator Jan Lariviere, a
nurse in the neonatal clinic and the neonatal intensive care unit
at the Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health
Center, said in a McGill news release.
Nearly 70 percent of the parents in the study said reading made
them feel closer to their babies. Most of them said reading led to
feelings of intimacy and normalcy and helped them feel they had
more control of the situation.
The study also found that parents who read to their babies in
the NICU were three times more likely to continue doing so at
The study appears in the current issue of the
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
"As health professionals, we must give parents the tools they
need to cope with the situation. Reading should become an essential
tool in NICUs and follow-up clinics," Lariviere said.
The Nemours Foundation offers advice for parents when their
baby is in the NICU.