Nothing embodies the complexity of the vulnerability and strength of the human spirit like…the sight of a premature baby under bright lights of an incubator: So tiny and seemingly helpless, yet so mighty and determined to live.
Someone who understands these fragile, but tough little preemies is Dr. Viral Jain, a clinical fellow in neonatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. As a fellow, Dr. Jain’s focus has been identifying risk factors in developmental disorders in newborns, understanding preterm birth, and exploring a family’s interaction and contribution to the development of babies and young children. One special area of interest that he is particularly passionate about is the importance skin-to-skin contact plays in the development of premature babies. As a doctor who has witnessed and treated numerous premature births, he can attest to the healing power of skin-to-skin contact.
When Hear The Hope contacted him to write and compose with them for this month’s song, Viral knew exactly what he was going to write about and for whom: premature babies. Dr. Jain, a musician in his own right, who has used his musical talents to raise money for his patients in the past, knew partnering with Hear The Hope was a “perfect match to help the tiniest of my patients.” He adds, “Music heals and speaks one universal language understood by all.” He was thrilled to work with CJ, Toby, Chris, and a couple colleagues; Dr. Alan Kenny & Nathan Mensah. To make this song and experience even sweeter, we brought in Spencer Singh and his mother Suzanne Lautz Singh to play percussion. Spencer was born premature and benefited from the love and skin-to-skin contact from his mother Suzanne. Spencer recently graduated from college and has grown into a strong and healthy man.
Dr. Jain explains that “Skin-to-Skin contact, also called Kangaroo Mother Care, as the name implies, is where the naked baby is placed directly on the mother or father’s skin, once the baby is stable enough. It is the closest the baby can get to being back in the warmth and security of the womb.” It is also the inspiration for the song: “Warmth of My Love” and the chorus:
I will hold you closer to my heart
I will give you the warmth of my love.
Dr. Jain is often asked by parents, who are desperate to see their child grow and become healthy, what they can do to help. For years, parents were told they couldn’t do anything. They were told it was best if the child stayed in the incubator, and thus had very limited interaction. The result: Parents felt helpless and hopeless. That’s all changing now and parents — both mom and dad — are actively encouraged to hold their child (bare-chested) and let the child feel (quite literally) the “warmth” of their parents’ love.
A Multitude of Benefits
“New research into skin-to-skin has shown a multitude of benefits,” says Dr. Jain, “Including better temperature, heart rate and breathing in the baby, better weight gain, increased breastmilk production in mother, stronger bonding between the parent and baby, promoting a nurturing environment and better brain development.”
Dr. Jain hopes that through this song and Hear The Hope, word will get out about the benefits of holding a child as close as possible. He adds, “Every parent should do it, not necessarily only in the NICU or in premature babies. It’s the best thing you can offer to your baby at this early stage. It is also important to do it the right way and to seek your caregiver’s advice about it.” He also wants to give hope to all those parents of premature babies out there, who have been waiting so patiently to see their baby grow. He wants them to have hope and know with each warm touch and snuggle, they are getting closer and closer to singing to their baby:
Gazing into, your heated home, I have joy, seeing how you’ve grown
The fighting spirit, that you have shown, now it’s time, for you to come home
- FEATURED SONG: “Warmth of My Love”
- OUR HERO: Spencer Singh
- ARTIST(S): Viral Jain
- COMPOSER: Viral Jain
- VOCALS: CJ Lambert
- INSTRUMENTS: Viral Jain (acoustic guitar), Spencer Singh & Toby Christensen (djembe), Suzanne Lautz Singh (shakers), CJ Lambert (lead guitar & drums), Nathan Mensah (trumpet), Alan Kenny (bass)
- PRODUCED BY: CJ Lambert
- ENGINEERED BY: CJ Lambert, Toby Christensen
- EDITED, MIXED & MASTERED BY: CJ Lambert