Because your are vital to your baby's recovery and growth, we will try to include you in as much of your baby's physical care as his or her condition permits. You are encouraged to do as much of your baby's routine care as you are comfortable doing and as your baby can tolerate. There are many things you can do for your baby during their stay in the NICU.
Any Baby... Any Time...
- Call the NICU to see how your baby is doing.
- Leave a telephone number where you can be reached at all times.
- Ask to talk to your baby's doctor when you have questions.
- Be with your baby as often and as long as you want.
- Place a small cloth with mother's scent in the crib or isolette. Babies strongest sense is smell. Avoid wearing perfumes when using the cloths.
- Make a "quiet" sign for baby's bed or isolette.
- Family reading material and videos are available upon request.
- Discuss with your baby's nurse the possibility of kangarooing or holding your baby.
- Discuss with your baby's nurse the possibility of breastfeeding in the NICU. She will be able to explain how this process works.
When visiting your baby...
- Ask your baby's nurse if it is possible to dim the lights around the bedside.
- Talk to the nurse about your baby's activity level, activities or procedures that might have happened before your visit. If your baby is very ill , handling should be limited due to the negative effects it could have on the baby.
- Carefully remove the blanket cover from the baby's isolette so that you can see baby, but continue to protect the baby's eyes from the bright lights.
- Shield baby's eyes from the bright lights when holding.
- Let baby hear your voice and gently call their name.
- Once your baby can tolerate increased stimulation use a gentle but firm touch to contain their arms and legs.
- Help "nest" your baby with snuggly and bendy bumpers so he or she is developmentally supported and comfortable.
- Encourage visitors to speak quietly while in the NICU.
- Learn to recognize your baby's signs of stress ( yawning, splaying of fingers and toes, looking away, sneezing ) . This may indicate your baby needs to rest and sleep.
- Learn to recognize when your baby is showing signs of stress and needs to be left alone.
Ways to help the stable baby...
- Hold your baby for gavage feedings.
- Let your baby's nurse know the time that is most convenient for you to come and do a bath or your baby' cares.
- Offer your baby a pacifier. The sucking reflex is the strongest and can be most comforting to your baby.
- Learn ways to calm and soothe your baby, swaddling, holding baby close or offering a pacifier.
- Recognize ways your baby says "I've had too much"
- Take baby out of the crib or isolette with or without assistance.
- Learn to recognize when your baby is alert and ready to interact.
- Hold your baby in a position where your face is visible.
- Talk to your baby's nurse about adding the things your baby likes and dislikes and she can add these to your baby's plan of care.
- Ask your nurse when it would be appropriate to bring clothes for your baby.
- Ask your nurse about developmentally appropriate toys for your baby.
If you plan to come in for feedings, please let your baby's nurse know. This way he or she can coordinate your baby's feeding schedule accordingly.