When you have a very sick newborn, it is important to spend time with him or her. In Saint Francis Medical Center’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), doctors and nurses encourage parents to get to know their little ones.
“Just touching your newborn makes a huge difference,” says Laura E. Al-Sayed, MD, FAAP, neonatologist at Saint Francis. “The baby also needs to hear your voice from the very beginning. Listening to speech in those first few weeks can help with language development later in life.”
It can be empowering for parents to spend time with their newborns in the NICU. During this period, they can feel like they are helping their little one grow stronger. “From the first diaper change, the parent can say, ‘Show me how to do that,’ and be a big part of the baby’s caregiving team,” says Al-Sayed.