Family-Centered Developmental Care

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100px Q&ASupport4 Q&A

What are four ways you can support our baby’s developing brain during your NICU stay?

  1. Engage in kangaroo holding (skin-to-skin care) as often as is possible per the recommendations of the medical team.
  2. Talk, sing, and read to your baby.
  3. Provide breastmilk, and when the baby is ready, breastfeed if at all possible.
  4. Safeguard your baby’s sleep by letting her rest when needed. Get guidance from your baby’s nurse as to when is a good time to touch, hold, and interact with your baby.


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Recommendations for Family-Centered Developmental Care:  Read the complete set of recommendations for getting involved in developmental care of your baby while in the NICU and protecting his/her brain, or read the full article from the December, 2015 Supplement to Journal of Perinatology.

Bibliography on Family-Centered Developmental Care:  This contains a comprehensive listing of references on family-centered developmental care, compiled by the National Perinatal Association Workgroup on Recommendations for Psychosocial Support of NICU Parents.

Baby Steps to Home, a downloadable resource to use beginning when your baby is admitted to the NICU, produced by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

What Parents Can Do to Bond With and Support Their Babies in the NICU:  A practical guide for parents to use during their NICU stay, written by Jennifer Beatty, LMSW from Hand to Hold.

Watch our “Imagine” movie,  in which we imagine what it would be like if NICUs were transformed to NIPUs, or Neonatal Intensive Parenting Units.  Sing along!  Debuted at the 2016 Vermont Oxford Quality Congress.



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Bonding with Your Medically Fragile Baby in the NICU, blog on the Hand to Hold website.

Benefits of Kangaroo Care for You and Your Baby, a parent education video produced by Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

The Joys of Kangaroo Care, a parent education video produced by Pebbles of Hope.

Kangaroo Care: What it is and why we do it, an educational video produced by Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

NICU Journal, a Parent’s Journey, a downloadable resource created jointly by American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Neonatal Nurses, and March of Dimes.

Leaving Baby at the NICU, blog by Sharon Epel on the website.  It gives tips/advice on how to get involved in your baby’s NICU care.

NICU Parents’ Bill of Rights, produced by the Preemie Parent Alliance.

NIDCAP Blog, blog on the website of the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program.  Many of the blogs discuss parental involvement in the NICU to promote babies’ development.

Pebbles of Hope Thrive Guide, an interactive online course with information about how best to care for your baby during your NICU stay and beyond.

Providing Breast Milk to Preemies, a parent education video produced by Pebbles of Hope.

Preemies vs. Full-Term Babies, a parent education video produced by Pebbles of Hope.

Resources on Back to Sleep, the Safe Sleep Campaign by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

More resources on Back to Sleep.

Three Ways to Instantly Relieve Your Baby’s Pain, a video from the Canadian Centre for Pediatric Pain Research featuring NICU mom Jack Hourigan.

“From Baby to Big Kid”:  Sign up to receive this newsletter from ZERO TO THREE, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families.



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National Association of Neonatal Therapists:  learn more about what your baby’s NICU therapists do!  (Physical and occupational therapists, as well as speech/language pathologists).

ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development.  Their mission is to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life.



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Are you interested in having someone speak to your staff, organization, or network about best practices in family-centered developmental care? Click on the icon to go to our Speaker’s Bureau page to learn more about these speakers.

Jenene Craig, PhD, OTR/L, occupational therapist

Cris Glick, MD, neonatologist

Erika Goyer, National Perinatal Association, family advocate

Raylene Phillips, MD, neonatologist