As well as expert nursing and medical treatment using state of the art equipment, the excellent neonatal care which babies receive at St George's nnu also includes a special programme of developmental care.
When a baby is born early they leave behind a comforting dark, warm environment where sound is muffled and their growing body is gently supported by fluid with boundaries which contain them and make them feel safe. This environment is especially designed to optimise babies’ development.
But by necessity, the nnu is a noisy, bright and busy place. These external stimuli can negatively impact on a baby’s physical and neurological development. Therefore staff work hard to mimic as many elements of the “inside” environment in this new outside environment in which babies find themselves on the nnu, ensuring minimal distress and maximising positive outcomes for even the tiniest of our patients.
First Touch supports developmental care in many ways from the purchase of state of the art BabyLeo incubators, to ensuring every mum and baby on the unit have a supply of muslin “bonding squares” and by providing books for parents to read to their babies.
The baby nests we fund keep babies comfortable and contained, helping them feel safe and aiding their physical development and special “kangaroo care” chairs and slings aid the prolonged skin to skin contact between babies and their parents which is so important to their well-being and development. When babies are simply too small and delicate to be cuddled, staff will show parents a technique called containment holding so parents can offer physical comfort to their baby in their incubator.
First Touch also works with a team of wonderful volunteers who make thick, heavy incubator covers to reduce the amount of light babies are exposed to, shielding their delicate eyes, making them more comfortable and also encouraging good quality sleep. These covers also offer increased sound insulation to help mimic the muffled sounds which babies experience in utero and this also helps babies’ sleep cycles.
"Our nnu team is dedicated to creating a positive physical environment and protecting the babies’ neurobehavioral development as we know this is crucial to their long term outcomes. We are so grateful to First Touch for their part in to supporting our commitment to developmental care."