Dealing with a baby that needs emergency neonatal care can be a stressful experience for you and your family. Fortunately, an advanced neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can provide your baby with specialised care and give them the best start to life. Babies born before 30 weeks are usually referred to the NICU, where they receive a high level of care until they are well enough to go home.
Inside the NICU
A typical NICU is divided into three zones: a family zone, a baby caregiving zone, and a specialist zone. Here’s a peek inside each.
Zone 1. Family Zone
The family zone is reserved for the family of the baby and serves as an around-the-clock resting area for parents. The zone houses breast pumps and a refrigerator for new mothers to pump and store milk, in addition to other thoughtful devices and services.
Zone 2. Baby Caregiving Zone
This zone is the heart of the NICU and provides highly specialised care to premature and unwell babies. The zone consists of a plethora of advanced neonatal technologies including incubators, radium warmers, intravenous pumps, bedside monitors and ventilators.
Zone 3. Specialist Zone
The specialist zone is an area designated for neonatologists, paediatricians and other specialists, as well as nurses and support staff.
The Role of the NICU
Premature birth can be a traumatic experience for you and your baby. The staff inside the NICU is trained to support new parents psychologically, emotionally and spiritually, easing their stress by helping them connect with their baby. The goal of the NICU staff is to envelop the baby and the parents in equal care, by encouraging skin-to-skin contact, one-on-one feeds and diaper changes; all while still in the NICU. This bonding time can be precious in one’s early days of parenthood.