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Musical Pacifier Helps Premature Babies Eat

KCBS Radio San Francisco logo KCBS Radio San Francisco 8/2/2019 Carrie Hodousek
a person taking a selfie in a room © Provided by Entercom Radio, LLC

SAN FRANCISCO -- Premature babies struggling to feed in the hospital are getting the help they need through a new music device.

It's called PAL or "Pacifier Activated Lullaby," and it uses music to help reinforce sucking on a bottle.

The device includes a small speaker that connects to a baby's pacifier. When babies suck, songs or other prerecorded messages play. That music can be recorded lullabies sung by parents.

Kristy Dodge recorded lullabies to help her son, Jasper, develop his feeding skills after he was born five weeks early.

"He started out not being able to eat from a bottle at all. And now he's eating so well that he's actually going to get to go home sometime in the next two days," said Dodge.

Music therapist Elisha Madsen has been working with Dodge and her son.

Madsen says, "Music actually can improve vitals in premature infants and babies. It can make their respiration rate stabalize. It can make their heart rate go down."

CPMC Van Ness hospital in San Francisco is one of only six hospitals in California using PAL.

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