Participation in Your Baby's Care
Spending Time with Your Baby
Even though your baby requires hospitalization, it is important for you to remember that this is your baby. Your presence in the NICU is important no matter how sick she/he may be. Your voice, touch and smell are things that your baby recognizes. We believe parents “do not visit” their babies in our nursery, but rather they are an important part of the caregiving team. Parents are encouraged to be present in the nursery at any time of the day or night. If you are a single parent, a significant other person may be designated as your support person and may visit at any time. Grandparents and clergy may also visit anytime with your permission.
On your first visit to NICU, we will show you where to leave your belongings and wash your hands. Hospital gowns are available to put over your clothing if needed. When your baby is admitted to Newborn Intensive Care, she/he will initially be placed in the Intensive Care area. As she/he improves, she/he may be transferred to the Intermediate Care (Continuing Care) Nursery, which is a room within the NICU.
If your baby is moved to a different bed spot when you are not here, we will make every effort to notify you of his/her move before you come back to the unit.
Here are some things that are important for you to do with your baby when you are here. Your baby’s nurse will help you feel comfortable doing them.
- Talk to and be close to your baby so she/he learns that you bring comfort
- Learn about and understand good developmental care for your baby’s age
- Learn your baby’s cues
- Do Kangaroo Care (Skin to Skin Care)
- Change diapers
- Take temperature
- Bathe your baby
- Be familiar with medications (purpose, side effects, dosage)
- Read to your baby
- Learn to feed your baby
- Bring clothes from home and dress your baby
- Personalize your baby’s bedside
Occasionally, there may be times when you will be asked to step out of the unit. This is usually during shift change at 6:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. when nurses are giving report to each other and need to protect your privacy and the privacy of the other families.
Becoming Familiar with Your Baby’s “NICU Handbook”
In the back of this notebook is a “NICU Pathway to Home” Checklist. This checklist will help you work closely with your baby’s hospital team to accomplish the listed goals before your baby goes home.
Getting Updates from Your Baby’s Nurse on Daily Rounds
Every morning your baby’s physician and NNP “make rounds” to check your baby. These rounds include performing a physical exam, interpreting the X-rays and lab results, determining the need for adjusting IV fluids, feedings and the ventilator, as well as determining both the daily plan and long-term goals for your baby. Your physician will discuss your infant’s progress regularly with you and will update you on the short- and long-term goals. In general, your baby’s physician is present every day (Monday-Friday) if you wish talk to him/her about your baby’s care. In the evenings and on the weekends, a different physician who is familiar with your baby’s care will be available (on-call). You may address questions to the NNP or the on-call physician at that time. If you prefer, you may leave a message or make an appointment to speak with your baby’s physician at a later time.
Participating in Monday and Thursday Rounds
Team Rounds occur every Monday and Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. During these rounds your baby’s caregiving team, comes together to review your baby’s progress. As part of your baby’s caregiving team, we encourage you to participate by providing information and asking any questions you may have about your baby.