How can parents best bond with their baby in the NICU

Neonatologist Philippe Friedlich, MD, shares advice for parents with a baby in the NICU on the best methods for bonding with your NICU and creating a strong attachment
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How can parents best bond with their baby in the NICU

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Parents always ask, how can I bond with my baby? My baby is in the NICU in this fairly regimented, restricted environment. It is very important for you to know that as soon as your baby arrives in the NICU, you must be involved in bonding with your baby. How can you bond with your baby? Well there are very simple means of doing of that. You can touch your baby. Touch it often. Your baby understands and hears and feels that you are. So in the NICU, your nurses and your doctors will help you get over the barriers of having all those machines around it. But there are other means that are just as important. Talking to your baby or singing slowly to your baby is very important. And in NICUs like the one at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, there are some special programs that are implemented to help families and their babies cope better with the stress. For example, there are programs with massage therapy where the parents can get involved touching their babies for therapeutic interventions that often increase the bonding between the baby and the mother or the father. There are therapies with music that have recently shown that not only the interactions and the bonding between mom and dad are certainly much improved but also improve the health and the recovery of their babies. And so whether you choose to breastfeed and hold your baby, even if it's a premature infant, your nurse will show you special techniques so that you can spend a lot of time with skin to skin contact. Whether your baby is too sick, but you can just touch your baby sometimes. All of those methods increase the bonding time and improve the outcome of your baby.

Neonatologist Philippe Friedlich, MD, shares advice for parents with a baby in the NICU on the best methods for bonding with your NICU and creating a strong attachment

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Philippe Friedlich, MD

Neonatologist

Philippe Friedlich, MD, MS Epi, MBA is the Associate Director and Division Chief of the Center for Fetal and Neonatal Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as well as the Medical Director of the hospital’s Newborn & Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU). Dr. Friedlich is a professor of Pediatrics and Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.   

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