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Browsing by Author "Fontell, Noora"

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  • Fontell, Noora (2018)
    Infants born preterm (< 37 gestational weeks) or with low birth weight (< 2500 g) have an increased risk of cognitive, language and motor difficulties. Preterm infants’ later development can be compromised by premature birth and early environmental factors. First weeks of life at a hospital provides non-optimal environment for the development of preterm infants’ senses and infants and parents interaction. To alleviate potential developmental deficits, preterm infants’ development and parent-infant interaction are supported by kangaroo care (infant on skin-to-skin contact at parent’s chest) and music interventions which have been shown to improve infants’ physiological responses and alleviate parents stress. Kangaroo care is further reported to improve infants’ cognitive development. Preliminary findings show that combining kangaroo care with music can improve some of preterm infants’ physiological responses and reduce maternal stress. However, effects of combining kangaroo care and music have not been yet studied. The aim of this study was to examine if parental singing during kangaroo care can promote preterm infants’ cognitive, language, or motor development at 2–3 years of corrected age. Additionally, it was examined if language and music activities at home had an effect on preterm infants’ cognitive or language development. During their hospital stay parents of the experiment group (N=20) were instructed to sing or hum to their child during kangaroo care and the parents of the control group (N=11) were instructed to provide kangaroo care but with no instructions regarding sound environment. The cognitive, language and motor development of the preterm infants was assessed with Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III (Bayley-III) in 2–3 years of age. Singing during kangaroo care had no effect on preterm infants’ development at 2-3 years of corrected age as assessed by Bayley-III. However, the more there were language and music activities at home at the time of the follow-up as reported by the parents, the better was the cognitive and language performance. Based on this study, parents can be encouraged to support their preterm born child’s language and cognitive development with joint language and music activities.