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The Forgotten Brain

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 1 views

When your baby needs support after delivery, the NICU is the place to be.  NICUs are set with highly advanced medical technology to save small fragile lives.  At the bedside of a preemie newborn, all systems are connected and purring.  Constant detail of all inner workings; heart, blood pressure, breathing.  

Despite this technology, the brain is not monitored.  It is often even forgotten.  The organ that is expected to learn in kindergarten, make muscles run in gym and store, recall and gather information into art or writing later in life.  The brain should not be ignored.  It needs to be cared for tenderly, gently noticed and nurtured.  Why?  Because it holds the future more than any other organ of the body.  It is worth it.  

How?  Simple.  You become your preemie baby’s filter system.  Sort out the information for your baby.  Their brain is not fully equipped yet, it needs help with the amount of information coming into the body through their sensory systems, touch, lighting, sounds.

Here is your GO-TO list for your premature baby.

1. Keep lights dimmed.  If at home or in the NICU, keep lighting at low levels.  Slow day to night changes keep you and your baby in rhythm.  WHY?  Low lighting helps to conserve your baby’s energy for feeding, play or maybe just hanging out with mom and dad.  

2. Muted sounds are best.  In the womb, sounds are muted through the fluid surrounding your baby. That’s what is best for your baby as they mature in the NICU or at home.  Why? They are not able to sort out lots of sounds, their brain just simply are not ready.  Keep extraneous sounds out, no ipods, radios, TVs, computers.  Use your voice, sing to your baby, read a book, they are listening in a safe place with only you.  That is gold for a preemie baby.

3. Keep on touching.  Make your presence known with your baby. Whether in NICU or at home, hold your baby’s hand, rub their back, cradle their head or feet.  When touching your baby be intentional, not soft or tickly.  Skin to skin holding with full body contact is the best way to touch and feel your whole baby.  Now you’re talking some great parenting.  Why?  Because you have set aside time to just you and your baby.  Priceless!  

LeAnn Hoye RN. MSPT
Steps for Preemies, Owner
Preemie Development Specialist