Audiobooks for a preemie in the NICU?
December 15, 2014 2:41 PM   Subscribe

I have a dear friend whose son has been in the NICU since June 25th. He's responded incredibly well to classical music, Aphex Twin and loves other types of "light" stimulation, especially anything with repetitive patterns/sounds (he cries when bath time ends, for example, and loves watching a little light/music toy that we hold outside his crib). They're exhausted from coming up with ideas for things to play/do with him within his very limited environment, and he is immune-compromised so most "typical" baby toys are out. Downloadable via a plus!

If it helps, Son has Retinopathy of Prematurity (RoP) and was born at just under 25 gestational weeks. They're saying he may come home on Dec. 25 - a Christmas miracle. In the meantime, I'd like to get them a gift that drowns out the more distressing NICU sounds in a way that would positively impact the other babies there, too. Something that will continue to be useful as he transitions to "regular life" after they bring him home would be ideal.

Any specific audiobooks you can think of that might work well for a preemie baby's brain development? Sing-song-y type stuff, or nursery rhymes? Audiobooks are expensive, so I'd love some personal recommendations before I buy anything. Thanks in advance!
posted by Unicorn on the cob to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Anything should be fine, at that age he's not absorbing the meaning of anything. Personally, I'd try Cole Porter, or even Asian Pop, like Chick-Chick and Gungnam Style. That's what neonates like. Pretty tunes and repetition.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:07 PM on December 15, 2014

Best answer: Do they have Spotify? There are some audio books and tons of children's songs on there and you could get them the premium subscription if there is wifi in the hospital.

One of our favorite audio books is The Velveteen Rabbit read by Meryl Streep with music by George Winston.
posted by dawkins_7 at 3:07 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That sounds lovely, dawkins_7, I'll look into it. Cole Porter, eh?

Re: Spotify - I'll ask if they have an account already; I don't, but I do have an audible/Kindle account I'm currently sharing with them. They play him downloaded music on their iPhones in the NICU, and the one time I tried to download something there to play for Mom while she was in the hospital it took 4+ hours for one file -- that's why I hadn't considered streaming files a good option.

He can't stay in there forever, so I'll definitely look into Spotify for after he gets home.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:55 PM on December 15, 2014

A couple of previous questions similar to this might have usable suggestions.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:10 PM on December 15, 2014

Less on the preemie side and more for the audiobooks, many public libraries have digital audiobooks available to borrow through online systems such as Overdrive. (They likely have physical ones too, if you happen to have a Discman laying about...) It's not streaming, you download the files onto your device so it's something you could do ahead of time.
posted by yeahlikethat at 4:20 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Babies love their mom and dad's voice the most. He would enjoy hearing them read any book so they may as well pick a book that they would read for their own enjoyment.
posted by Coffeetyme at 4:41 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I played and read Austen in the NICU because there's a lovely soothing friendly pace to the narration and you can dip in and put. You want a long audiobook that the parents can listen to here and there - The Once and Future King by TH White is amazing and really a collection of dozens of short stories of Arthurian Legend, told with lots of rhythm.

You're fine with anything non-scary that the parents would also enjoy occasionally listening to, and it's a great idea for him to hear voices and stories. Just don't make my mistake of playing Night Vale podcasts to go to sleep and wondering why your co-sleeping toddler talks about bad things coming...
posted by viggorlijah at 4:52 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: All right, I'm getting him copies of Velveteen Rabbit and Once and Future King. Thanks all!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:54 PM on December 17, 2014

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