Effects of Music Therapy-Based Listening Interventions on the Quantity and Quality of Breast Milk Produced by Mothers Using a Breast Pump

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Problem: Inadequate nutrition is a significant public health problem. Maternal breast milk is considered the nutritional "gold standard" for all infants, especially premature infants. However, preterm mothers are at 2.8 times the risk of not producing adequate milk than term mothers (Hill, Aldag, Chatterton, & Zinaman, 2005). Multiple factors affect the production of milk, including stress, fatigue, and the separation of the breastfeeding dyad, e.g., when mother or infant is hospitalized. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of music therapy-based listening interventions on the quantity and quality of breast milk produced by mothers using a breast pump.

Method: Mothers of 162 preterm infants were randomly assigned to one of four groups. The control group received standard nursing care, while mothers in the three experimental groups additionally listened to a recording one of three listening interventions while using the pump. Data were analyzed using mixed model repeated measures with SAS Proc Mixed. The three experimental groups were compared to the control group to determine efficacy. Multiple comparisons were adjusted using the Bonferroni correction.

Results: 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 six days of the study.

Conclusions: The interventions provide an inexpensive and efficacious method for providing a sustainable source of breast milk for neonates being treated in the NICU which in turn has tremendous public health potential.


American Public Health Association Annual Conference (APHA)


Washington, DC