Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s NICU recently hosted a bedside book event for families. In its third year, this event highlights the importance of talking and reading to premature infants.

Clinical associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of NICU Development Care Dr. Melissa Scala, MD and assistant professor of pediatrics and developmental cognitive neuroscientist at Packard Children’s Dr. Katherine Travis, Ph.D., together understand the importance spoken language has on premature babies. Through their research, Scala and Travis have found a connection between listening to parents’ voices and better short-term health outcomes for babies in the NICU.

When it comes to talking or reading to preterm infants Scala said, in a press release, “We hypothesize that it’s very important for brain development for these babies.” With this in mind, the hospital staged its third NICU reading event.

This year’s book is the ever-iconic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, in both English and Spanish. The parents were given the book and information on the importance of reading and language exposure from infancy on.

Of the event, Scala said, “For some families, this is a way they can really engage with their kids, and it’s sort of beautiful to see parents doing it during this event.” She went on to add, “It’s important to remember that the work we’re doing is truly meant to foster a normal parent-infant interaction and solidify a bond that is core to the care we provide to families in our NICU.”

—Erica Loop

Photos: Courtesy of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford 

 

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