Musical pacifier helps premature babies get healthy


One of my favorite populations to work with is the NICU babies! NICU stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Babies who are born too early or with any issues right after birth will usually spend some time in the NICU. The NICU is a very sensitive environment because, well, the babies themselves are very sensitive.

Music Therapy has been used in the NICU for years and offers many wonderful benefits. I had the opportunity while doing my music therapy work at FSU to receive my NICU Music Therapy Certification which enables me to work with this special population. I am excited to share more with you about how we use music therapy in the NICU but for today I just wanted to share a little about the PAL.

The Pacifier Activated Lullaby system was designed by Jayne Standley, PH.D. at FSU and is now widely used in NICUs across the country. It is used to encourage babies to suck and feed which is a necessary skill in order to survive, and a pre-requisite for getting discharged (or going home). The PAL has a pacifier which is hooked up to a system that plays music (specifically chosen lullabies) when the infant sucks. As soon as the infant stops sucking, the music stops. Research shows that in as little as 3 minutes, infants will learn that in order to get the lovely music they must suck! Therefore music is the motivator to get them sucking, sucking is a skill they need to learn in order to feed, and feeding is a must for survival and discharge!

Here is an interesting article that is not too long which talks about how the PAL is now being used world-wide.

Here is a short video that shows the PAL in action.

Here is the website of Power Device Technologies who is creating the PAL.

For more information on the use of Music Therapy in the NICU click here

2 thoughts on “Musical pacifier helps premature babies get healthy

  1. Preemies and Me says:

    I would have loved it if the girls were able to get music therapy while in the NICU. I really think it would’ve made a difference, but not all hospitals are down with it.

    1. Kristen Crouch MEd, MM, MT-BC, Neonatal ICU Music Therapist says:

      Thanks for your comment! I know you spent many hours in the NICU and have first hand experience. I wish your girls had gotten music therapy as well!

      Unfortunately many hospitals are still uneducated as to the benefits of NICU Music Therapy and all of the research behind it, but as we keep spreading the word more and more are sure to start implementing it!


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