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Study: Parents Reading To Hospitalized Infants Can be Beneficial

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- It may come as no surprise, but reading to a newborn child can help improve the relationship between parent and infant. A new study in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics shows that 69 percent of children spending time in the neonatal intensive care unit after birth responded positively after being read to by a parent.

The study sought to find if there was a difference between newborn children spending time with a parent immediately after birth, if going into the NICU made a difference. Surveying 120 families, the study showed 69 percent of parents reported that reading helped them feel closer to their baby, and 86 percent reported it was enjoyable.

Parents also reported an increased sense of control and more intimate feelings with their child after reading.  One study participant shared her feelings on the results with Time magazine.

"Reading gave us a way to stay close. I couldn't talk to her or touch her, but she heard the sound of my voice. That simple activity helped me get through the situation, and I have beautiful memories of the experience,” said Mélissa Asselin, who has a five-year-old daughter with pulmonary hypertension.

The study concluded that parents who read to their babies in neonatal intensive care were three times as likely than other parents to continue to do so in the future.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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