Pleasant womb sounds for my preemie in NICU
January 17, 2014 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Help me get some "calming sounds" for my newborn preemie.

I have a two-week old son in the NICU. He was born at 31 weeks, and had surgery ten days ago due to a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. He was sedated for a few days after the surgery but now the neonatologist suggested we get him some of those recordings of womb sounds or whatever could help keep a preemie calm and drown out all the other scary NICU sounds.

I'm usually very good at researching these things myself but with everything else going on, my brain's not up to the research task, and my husband did some googling and found a lot of stuff, so I'm counting on my fellow Mefites to help us with this.

Downloadable would be better than CD.
posted by CrazyLemonade to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How interesting. My first spent 151 days in NICU and no one ever mentioned womb sounds to us. As far as the actual question, wouldn't the womb sounds depend on what your routine involves? Since a fetus can hear sounds from inside the womb, the most familiar sounds are probably your voice and your husband's. Maybe you could record some conversation, even muffled conversation, and use that?
posted by norm at 1:59 PM on January 17, 2014

There is this gadget, which includes swishy "womb sounds" among other soothing noises.
posted by beagle at 2:05 PM on January 17, 2014

Recordings of your voice.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:06 PM on January 17, 2014

Response by poster: Don't want to threadsit, but just to clarify, I will not be doing my own recordings at this time.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:17 PM on January 17, 2014

If a white-noise machine is an option, we used this Marpac Dohm white noise machine with a family member who had trouble sleeping in a hospital, and it worked great. Plugs into the wall, sturdy, adjustable sound levels. Woooooooooooooooosssssssssshhhhhh.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:19 PM on January 17, 2014

I don't have any suggestions from personal experience, but a google search of "womb sound recordings" did turn up a lot of hits, some of which look helpful.

I also want to congratulate you on your new baby, and tell you that my wonderful 21-year-old daughter was born at 30 weeks, spent four weeks and a day in the NICU, and was fine! Not that you sound worried, but I figured I would reassure you, in case it might help.

Also, maybe it was just my baby, but she was very calm. I had the sense that spending a lot of time in an isolette was a calming experience for her. Yes, there were the beeping monitors, which drove me a little crazy, but the NICU noises did not seem to bother my baby. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don't remember the NICU being particularly noisy.

Still, the womb sound recordings does sound like a nice idea.

Best wishes to you and your new baby!
posted by merejane at 2:33 PM on January 17, 2014

Response by poster: Forgot to include this in the OP, gadgets are also not an option now as we are in Mexico and ordering online, plus shipping would take too long. We have a little sound system that we can put digital recordings in as soon as we find/purchase them.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:34 PM on January 17, 2014

Posting one handed with a newborn in my lap and can reccomended the "heartbeat and white noise" track as very womb-y (with a pleasing wave sound too) and soothing:
posted by waterisfinite at 2:46 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

The primary thing in all these recordings is just a steady heartbeat, so honestly I think any of them are likely to be fine. When your baby is sick and in the hospital and someone suggests something to make them more comfortable it's easy to get caught up in "OMG must get the exact right thing". Just search on Amazon or iTunes for "mother's heartbeat" or "womb sounds" and pick one with reasonable duration, maybe an hour. If you don't like it, there's not much of a downside since they're so cheap.

Here is one that seems to be well reviewed.

My best wishes to you and your son during this difficult time.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 3:32 PM on January 17, 2014

Congratulations! You are in a tough spot, but going good.
One of my students did research on this exact issue, butnunfortunately hasn't published yet.
The first thing I learnt from her research was 'don't worry', life in the womb is very noisy and chaotic. The next thing was somewhat counter to that, as she observed that sudden noises were very dangerous. An example from her work was the cleaning person slamming a lid, which almost killed a child. Whereas parents talking at the exact same sound level were soothing and improved the childrens quality of life.
Since this is unpublished research and I am not a doctor, my advice must be seen as based on anecdotal evidence.what I have seen at what doctors and nurses are telling me is: children fare better the more the parents are there, whatever they do, but mostly when they do as much as possible - change diapers, sing songs, hold hands, just be there with a hand on the little tummy.
posted by mumimor at 5:14 PM on January 17, 2014

An Internet in utero noise machine
posted by crazycanuck at 6:04 PM on January 17, 2014

We downloaded albums with Heartbeats from itunes like this - basically simplified classical and lullabies with a very steady bass beat that was soothing. We used an old ipod and little speakers and left it playing next to her crib. We also read the same three board books over and over to her and those three books became her favourites when she was older and revisited them. Taping your voice reading to her, even if it loops five minutes, still beats anything else.

Have you also asked about having the lights dimmed regularly? We had to ask for this but it seemed to help her settle better. Some NICUs will drape a cloth around the top of the crib area to shield out the ward lights but still leave the baby visible. It also helps muffle the noise.

The beeping and other noises do make a sort of rhythm and background buzz, and are not that unpleasant if they're steady. Anecdotally, our kid and other NICU kids I know can sleep through anything now and were good nappers!

I hope your son thrives - we were 30weeks with surgery too, and the outcomes are better every month with advances. Memail me if you want to talk.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:50 PM on January 17, 2014

The White Noise app on an old smart phone is what I have used to provide white noise for my babies for 14 months. You can make your own mixes, so you could make one with a heartbeat. For the boys, I use a combo of rain and pink noise since that sounds nice to me. It still calms them and helps then sleep.
posted by PrimateFan at 8:09 PM on January 18, 2014

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