Babies born prematurely often have a poorly developed sucking reflex, leaving them struggling to eat. A device called a Pacifier-Activated Lullaby (PAL) is now being tested at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital to see whether it can teach preemies to suck for milk through a bit of gentle behavioral modification.
Babies love lullabies, and it is hoped that they love them so much that they’ll work for them. The PAL is a pacifier that can detect whether a baby is sucking on it, and in turn the baby gets to hear a lullaby. The lullabies are pre-recorded and can be sung by the parents, to encourage the kids to connect with family that might not always be around while they’re in the neonatal unit.
The clinicians are still testing the technology, but so far they have shown that about 70% of preemies improve their use of a pacifier when using the PAL. In the process, it helps create an emotional connection and provides an active way for parents and the kids to participate.
Here’s a video report from UCLA about the research:
Flashback: New Pacifier Gets Premature Babies to Suck…
Product page: Pacifier Activated Lullaby (PAL)…