In short. Yes! It's so lovely to see parents reading to their premature baby and research indicates it's good for baby and parent.
Reading to your premature baby can help boost brain development. Whilst baby is in the NICU, we are so focused on their physiological development that we can often forget about their cognitive development.
There is growing evidence that reading to your premature baby will give them a good foundation for starting pre-school. Evidence shows that babies who were not exposed to language in the NICU have lower language performance aged 2.
Also you can read books that provide joy to you too, it doesn't need to be a children's book! I have listened to parents read the latest John Grisham novel; the full works of Harry Potter and the Tiger Who Came for Tea. Each one read with love and care to their little mouse.
Sometimes you may be self-conscious, but you are reading to you premature baby to help the bonding process on its way, everyone around you will understand. Even when you cannot hold or touch your baby, you can read to them. Just like you may have read to them in the womb, your baby will recognise your voice and tone, and that should help soothe and calm them.
Royal Stoke University Hospital NICU takes part in the Stoke Reads campaign
As part of the Stoke Reads campaign which is run in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, special story packs will be gifted to parents whose premature babies are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The books will be gifted to families by Stoke-on-Trent library service’s Reading Champions who will visit the ward every month. They’ll talk to parents, encourage them to read to their premature baby, and suggest more children’s books for families to enjoy.
By making reading part of their family routine on the ward, it is hoped that parents will continue to share stories with their children at home.
National Literacy Trust