Many new parents feel that their baby is better cared for by medical staff while they are in the hospital after being born. However, as a family, parents can offer their baby a primary source of love, care and affection along with the strong bond that starts from the moment the baby is born. Neonatal intensive care units support the idea that along with medical assistance, babies should be nurtured by their parents throughout their stay at the facility or hospital.

Promoting family-centered care allows nursing professionals to encourage and support the parent’s relationship with their baby. Nurses and other healthcare professionals will work together with parents to make sure that every decision made for the baby is a united one. This can help strengthen the bond between the parents and the baby and improve the overall quality of care provided.

Things to look for in a family-centered neonatal intensive care unit

When considering the role of family-centered care in neonatal nursing, a family-centered unit will always be welcoming. This entails discussing treatments and plans openly, along with being clear about the baby’s care. This gives parents the chance to resolve any doubts, ask questions and make sure that their child is getting the best care possible.

As a nurse, you will not only have to think about newborns and their parents but also consider societal forces that impact your work and experiences as a nurse. Your work involves improving patient outcomes, lowering healthcare costs, and ensuring that patients and families have good experiences regardless of their social or cultural backgrounds. Understanding how to impart better health and care to your patients can help them have fewer visits to the hospital and a lower likelihood of chronic illnesses.

At a family neonatal intensive care unit, nurses have to welcome parents and inform them about the health of their baby and how to provide proper care. They must also allow parents to bond with their baby and listen to any questions, concerns, and feedback they may have. This allows parents to bathe, sing, read, and even feed and hold their child during any treatments or procedures and follow up with their baby’s healthcare plan.

How can new parents get involved?

At a neonatal intensive care unit, parents are allowed to be involved in their baby’s care. They can even discuss plans and treatments with nurses and healthcare professionals. Parents can hold, change, feed, and dress their baby, in addition to providing comfort during tests or procedures that might make them uncomfortable. They can spend time talking to their baby and understand what they are feeling. Most healthcare professionals and nurse practitioners will advise new parents on what they can do and the right way to do it.

One of the issues you might encounter is certain restrictions that may upset parents. For example, parents may want to touch or hold their baby, but this is not always advisable if the child is breathing through a ventilator or has just had some sort of procedure done. In such situations, nurses can look for safe and comfortable ways that parents can feel close to their baby without affecting their treatment.

How neonatal nursing can improve patient outcomes

As a neonatal nurse practitioner, you will be caring for several patients a day and may end up working in shifts. You will acquire many of the skills you need for neonatal nursing during your nursing education. That is why it is essential to choose your university with care. Baylor University is one of the most highly respected universities in advanced nursing education. It offers the best programs and job placements while training you to be compassionate, take on leadership and administrative roles, and communicate effectively so you can be well-prepared for the role of a neonatal nurse.

Through neonatal nursing, healthcare professionals and registered nurses can offer parents the support they require and help boost their confidence. They should make sure that parents are involved in every step of the decision-making process. This can include anything from showing new parents how to change diapers, dress, and feed their babies to giving them clear instructions about their baby’s care and understanding their emotional needs.

Neonatal nurses will explain to new parents how to care for their babies, along with offering them support. This, in turn, can help improve the baby’s overall condition and allow parents to feel like a part of the process.

How parents can help their babies thrive through neonatal care

A study published in the National Library of Medicine assessed a parent’s first experiences being close to their babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. They concluded that family-centered care not only strengthens the baby-parent bond but brings parents closer together and helps improve the overall quality of care for the child.

Research also shows that with the support of their parents, babies end up spending less time in the care facility. They are more likely to eat better and experience fewer complications as they grow up. In addition, parents feel less stressed, more comfortable, and safer when they are included in the care plan and in making important decisions about their child.

As a nurse practitioner, part of your job will be to guide parents and work with them so they feel more involved in the process. You will also need to look for the best way that parents can care for their baby while respecting the rules of the facility.

Here are some suggestions for fostering parental involvement in neonatal care.

Mother-to-infant contact

Encourage skin-to-skin contact, from breastfeeding the baby to changing or bathing them. This can help new parents create a bond and a strong connection between themselves and their baby. This not only allows the parents to connect with the child emotionally and physically but also helps to calm the baby, lower any stress and support them during any procedures or operations. This can also help babies have a better outcome as they grow up and feel more confident in life.

Communication with the baby

Talking, singing, reading or even simply conversing with a baby can help parents feel more connected to them. Some professionals claim that good communication between parents and babies can not only help instill confidence and promote bonding but can also aid in the long-term health advantages when it comes to the well-being of their baby. Talking to the baby can also help their heart rate increase, boost blood circulation, and calm them down. This is something parents can do even if they are not able to hold their child.

Carrying the baby

Many parents are nervous or anxious when it comes to holding their baby. As a nurse, you will have to show them the right way to carry their baby. This can help parents connect physically with their baby and address any questions or concerns they may have. Nurse practitioners can reassure new parents, talk them through the process and even explain all the options so they can be as involved as they want.

A family-integrated care program in neonatal nursing provides the best possible care to new parents and their babies, helping new parents to build their confidence and feel closer to their newborn.