Caring for a preterm baby

All babies need love, stimulation, care, and safety for their optimal development. After birth a baby develops through constant discovery of the environment. The family and the healthcare team can support a baby in this development.

Developmentally supportive care recognises the ability of babies to communicate with their care givers, to show feelings and respond to the care they receive. This care philosophy supports each baby’s development according to the individual needs of the baby.

Family-centred care emphasizes the vital role parents play for their children. The medical care team takes care of a baby’s medical needs in the best possible way, but the presence of parents and their love for their baby is a very important component for the baby’s development. It is meanwhile broadly acknowledged that one role of the team in the neonatal intensive care unit therefore is to support and encourage parents to take over daily care procedures. At the same time, nurses can guide parents in developmentally supportive care. Parents also need to receive information about the gentle handling of their child and understanding the signals of their preterm baby (signals of preterm babies are different to those of term born babies).

When parents are supported to become part of the care team for their baby and to grow into their parental role, they develop the necessary self-insurance to handle and understand their baby when the family will be ready to go home.

Please click on the video clips (in English) below explaining developmental care in a very sensitive manner from four different perspectives: 

We very warmly thank Prof. Dr. Dominique Haumont, University Hospital St Pierre in Brussels, Belgium, for initiating these wonderful spots and for allowing us to share them with you.

 
© 2017 EFCNI - European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants
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