Researchers from Georgia College and State University examined the effects of listening to music and guided imagery on the quantity and quality of breast milk produced by mothers of preemies. It has long been understood that breast milk is the nutritional gold standard, but that preterm mothers are at risk of not producing enough milk, due to multiple factors, including stress, fatigue, and the separation of the breastfeeding dyad due to hospitalization.
Mothers of 162 preterm infants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups. The control group received standard nursing care, while mothers in the 3 experimental groups additionally listened to a recording of 1 of 3 music-based listening interventions while using a double electric breast pump.
The study found that mothers in the experimental groups produced significantly more milk (P < .0012). Mothers in these groups also produced milk with significantly higher fat content during the first 6 days of the study.