One of the latest NICUs, in Beacon Children’s Hospital of South Bend, Ind., was designed around the idea that premature infants benefit from close physical contact with their parents. There, families can stay together for weeks or months in private rooms that facilitate skin-to-skin contact—also known as kangaroo care—between parent and baby. Beacon’s unit, which opened in May, is the first in the U.S. planned so that mothers who have just delivered are able to stay with their babies, no matter how critical the baby’s condition, in a room designed specifically for that purpose. MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist and co-creator of the unit, Dr. Robert White, says “skin-to-skin care is a biological imperative for the sensory development of preterm babies.” “It reduces stress levels and helps preterm infants adapt to life outside the womb, improves breast-feeding and leads to healthy weight gain.”

Read the full article via The Wall Street Journal

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