You and Your Baby
As a parent, you are the most important part of your baby’s life and a crucial member of your baby’s health care team. Parent-child interaction is promoted as early as possible during the NICU stay.
We encourage you to stay actively involved in your baby's care. It is important to communicate with your baby’s nurse about the best ways to interact with your baby.
Throughout your baby’s stay in the NICU, you can support your baby in providing for four important things: comfort, sleep, love, and Kangaroo Care.
Learn more about reading your baby's cues
Babies comfort themselves by being nested in a comfortable position. Your baby is used to feeling surrounded by the womb. Quietly cupping your hands around your baby’s head, bottom, and/ or feet provides a womb-like experience. This is called containment. Providing your warm hands for your baby to press his feet against or a finger to grasp onto can be very comforting. Stroking or rubbing can be irritating and sometimes painful to your baby. Watch your baby for cues that he may not be tolerating the interaction.
Your baby heals and grows during sleep. Sleep is essential to your baby’s recovery. You can help your baby sleep by helping to keep your baby’s area quiet and calm. Work with your baby’s nurse to share care times so you can be with your baby when he is examined and treated. Watch your baby for the signs or cues that he needs sleep.
Your baby knows you even at this early age. He recognizes your scent, taste and voice even before birth! Love is best expressed through containment and your presence. Parents can provide their scent by wearing a soft cloth against their skin for several hours, then placing that cloth next to baby. Providing your baby breast milk is another way to share your love by helping to provide for his nutrition and health.
Kangaroo Care is the practice of holding a stable baby close, with skin-to-skin contact between the baby and the mother or father. The baby wears only a diaper and is placed on the parent’s bare chest. The baby is then covered by the parent’s clothes to create a warm, comfortable pocket – like a kangaroo! The parent’s warm body gives heat to the baby to keep the baby warm. Work with your baby’s nurse to plan the best time to "Kangaroo."