At the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) at Atlantic Health System, we are focused on providing the highest quality care for our infants in order to achieve the best clinical and developmental outcomes. We believe strongly that parents and families should play an important role in this process, and we actively encourage their involvement. This philosophy is called Family-Centered Care, an approach that promotes open and effective communication between neonatal care providers and families, and at the same time empowers families to bond with their infants and engage in their care. As part of our commitment to Family-Centered Care in the NICU we support the following care practices:
Breastfeeding and Lactation
We believe strongly in helping mothers to accomplish their breastfeeding goals and rigorously support lactation in the NICU. Our nurses help mothers with nursing and advise them on the use of electric pumps and milk storage. Our neonatal staff educates families about the nutritional needs of infants and helps them to bond with their babies. Our lactation consultants and neonatal feeding specialists are always available to ensure that we are doing everything possible to make it work.
We also promote kangaroo care, which encourages parents to hold their baby in an upright position, skin-to-skin on their chest. Your baby thereby becomes more familiar with your scent, voice, touch and breathing, leading to improved infant-parent boding and helping your newborn develop a sense of security and belonging. Comfortable recliners are available in the NICU to help enhance the kangaroo care experience.
Bonding and Monitoring
We encourage parents and families to interact with their babies as much as possible, and to become familiar with their daily routines. This process may be gradual, and depends on the level of clinical support an infant requires. Nonetheless, our nurses facilitate this process in the NICU so parents become comfortable handling their infants while recognizing their limits.
Bedside Rounds in the NICU
NICU rounds occur daily - when your baby’s care team gathers to discuss the medical plan for the day. We invite parents to attend daily rounds. You can ask questions about your infant’s care and speak face-to-face with any member of your infant’s care team.