Lullaby Hour at St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Each year over 850 babies are admitted to St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital’s neonatal units. A dedicated team of staff provide world-class care for pre-term and mature babies with complex medical needs, including cardiac and neurological conditions.

The Lullaby Hour is part of a pioneering Integrated Family Delivered Care project, led by Consultant Neonatologists, Aniko Deierl and Jayanata Banerjee. Aniko, Jay and their team recognised the importance’s of creating unique bonding experiences for parents and their babies and advised on the introduction of artistic intervention within the neonatal units.

As a result, the first Lullaby Hour was introduced to both hospitals in October 2018. The programme involves trained musicians visiting the neonatal care unit to perform gentle lullabies at the bedside, helping babies and their parents relax and enjoy moments of bonding. The hourly sessions are delivered bi-weekly in each hospital unit.

The experience of listening to the soothing sounds of lullabies offer comfort and help create special memories for parents and their babies. Medical research shows that music can reduce the perception of pain and decrease feelings of stress, anxiety and depression in patients, relatives and staff. It also helps to provide a supportive, calm hospital environment for parents and their new-borns.

Parents said about the Lullaby Hour:

‘Very good experience: different and good to be taken away mentally from the bleeps and sounds of the ward. Felt very chilled and relaxed.’

‘It was a very special moment for my baby and I – what a wonderful experience to provide at a stressful time.’

The sessions are facilitated by Music in Hospitals & Care – a charity that initially developed the project. It has won a national award for innovation from the Scottish Power Foundation, as well as funding from Arts Council England towards a Lullaby Hour songbook.

At ArtSocial Foundation we understand how powerful music can be for wellbeing and stress relief and we have committed to fund the project for the next 12 months.

Luciana Sakellariou