Music Therapy for Infants With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Jacinta Louise Calabro


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) occurs after significant in-utero exposure to opiates, such as methadone and heroin. Infants with NAS are often hospitalized for 4-6 weeks in a special care nursery, which is both expensive and detrimental to the parent-child bonding process. This study trialled the effectiveness of recorded sedative music (RSM) and multimodal stimulation (MMS) for infants with NAS. The infants were recruited by the hospitals alcohol drug and pregnancy team (ADAPT) and randomly allocated into one of 4 groups. The study hypothesised that infants in the treatment groups would experience a shorter hospital stay, higher weight gain, more parent visits, more days until medication began and less medication than control infants. The study also hypothesised that the treatment infants would have lower NAS scores compared to control infants. Due to a small and skewed sample the hypotheses were not supported. There were no significant results for any measure, although slight trends were noted for reduced crying and regular respiration for infants in the treatment groups. These findings support previous research into alternative treatment interventions for infants with NAS. It is suggested that RSM and MMS interventions can still be potentially useful interventions with this population. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]