Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
More and more expectant parents are finding that our unique approach at The Birthing Center at Mercy Health Saint Mary's fits quite comfortably into their own plans for their newborn, their family and the birthing experience.
It's seldom that newborns need extra medical attention. Still, it's comforting for parents to know that our top-notch Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a Level III, staffed by neonatal nurse practitioners with the services of our prominent neonatalogists available 24 hours a day. Level III is the highest NICU ranking in the area.
For more information, please call 616-685-6667 or email the NICU.
Touch is one of the first forms of communication babies develop. It is recognized as one of the most basic of human needs and as a healing medicine. Touch is not only healing for your baby but also for you, the parent. Your baby needs your touch. By touching and massaging your baby, the bonding process begins. Massage creates an expression of caring, providing a positive experience. Your touch may even improve growth and development while promoting rest. Our specially trained NICU nurses understand the needs of babies and families. They understand the importance of enhancing and supporting infant/parent healing. When you are unavailable they can provide touch and massage for your baby. The massage techniques used here are from the University of Miami Touch Research Institute directed and founded by Dr. Tiffany Fields. The NICU nurses will be happy to assist you in learning massage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When can you begin massage?
Once your baby is medically stable, you can begin touch relaxation or simple massage.
What is touch relaxation?
Touch relaxation is simply placing your hand on the baby. This allows your baby to become familiar with your touch. As an example, hold an arm or leg while talking softly to help your baby relax.
What is simple massage?
Simple massage is a series of firm, but gentle strokes usually done three times a day for 15 minutes.
How do parents benefit from massage?
- Offers a quiet time with your baby
- Allows for a more positive role in a stressful situation Increases confidence and skill in handling your baby
- Offers a direct way of communicating and helps you learn your baby's personality
- Provides a way to love your baby
How does the baby benefit from massage?
- Rests more deeply and longer, allowing time for neurological and physical growth and development
- Improves sensory awareness
- May help to increase oxygen and nutrient flow
- May improve digestion and weight gain
Research on infant massage has shown very tangible results. These techniques are simple and can easily be part of your daily infant care routine.