I was born December 13, 1985, 3 months premature. I was one of the babies studied in the pilot program for NIDCAP. I am now 19 years old and a college sophomore studying journalism with a minor in foreign languages…I write to you in hopes that you…realize that I am another baby, turned young woman that you helped. I do not know where I would be without NIDCAP and hope that it continues to flourish.
As the daughter of a child psychologist and NIDCAP trainer, a former 33-week preterm, and now a medical student interested in neonatology, I believe that NIDCAP is a thread that ties it all together. It is a philosophy that was under development when I was born in 1981, it has been important to my mom’s work for many years, and it is an approach that I am now committed to integrating into my practice as a future physician.
[Reading these NIDCAP observations] felt like I was right in the room. I was like a person standing in there observing everything and it was down to whether the curtain was open or closed. How Truman appeared to be reacting to things. [How he responded when] the machines were beeping. How comfortable he looked. What position he was in. What he might have been wearing or not wearing when she came in. Whether there were other babies in the room [or] whether we were there. It was pretty neat. It felt like it was coming out of my eyes. What she observed he was getting agitated with and what might help him to feel more comfortable. [Soothing him could be] as simple as placing your hands on him or just sitting quietly next to him and talking to him or reading. But mainly [he seemed comforted by] just touching him to have him feel our comfort. [The observations] were beautiful.
—Sarah Tueller, parent
It has been almost a year now since I had the awe inspiring experience of seeing my darling Jenna cradle her tiny baby brother in her gentle arms as we sat in the NICU in April. Tears fell unrestrained as I was overcome with the realization that my beautiful daughter possessed all the confidence that had been initially ripped from me in those first few days after her birth. It will be a miraculous day when the norm is supporting parents and giving them the gift of confidence to care for these precious miracles born too early. I am of the opinion that the NIDCAP philosophy of caregiving quite possibly could prevent scenarios of child abuse, failure to bond, failure to thrive, and other such catastrophic events that have an irreversible negative impact on families. I am indescribably grateful for the blessing that NIDCAP has bestowed upon nearly two generations of our family.
—Sarah Cluff , parent
It was early in our journey when we were introduced to NIDCAP. I was initially surprised that there was an official acronym for this. Shouldn’t responding to their needs and cues just be a natural way of caring for children? I soon learned to appreciate what NIDCAP meant to the people who practice it and the children and families who benefit from it. Holding our boys in kangaroo care was the most special time we spent as a family. When they couldn’t be held, we made sure Alex and Andrew felt our touch as often as possible …especially during tests and procedures, which we never missed. Andrew’s first breaths were taken in the arms of his mother when he was extubated. Alex chose life the moment he felt his mother’s embrace.
—Marcel Panas, parent
The more connection you have with your child, the stronger he or she will become. The more time you spend with your baby, the more you do your kangarooing, the more you participate with their care….this will help a lot.
—Donnisha McCadden, parent
We believe NIDCAP helped to change the course of our son Brandon’s life. My hope is that every family whose baby must be in a newborn intensive care unit can access this program–we believe it’s vital to the development of every child!!
—Vicki Bjornson, parent
I have seldom in my career as Director of Nursing observed such amazing commitment and “spark” as I do whenever we discuss NIDCAP , not only with the professionals now, but also with more and more staff in the unit.
—Yvonne Bester, Director of Nursing, KFMC Children’s Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
We have been a NIDCAP Training Center for almost fifteen years now. We feel that each day provides an opportunity to make a difference to infants and families in our NICU. The phrase “changing the future for infants in intensive care” rings true for us. We know that NIDCAP changed our nursery and many of our lives. We want that change for every family we provide care for in our NICU.
—Karen Smith, RNC, MEd, Master NIDCAP Trainer in Training
The NIDCAP community worldwide can make a significant contribution … in overcoming barriers to sensitive preterm infant care. We can strengthen each other…
—Dalia Silberstein, RN, PhD
NIDCAP Training has taught me not only to interpret the meaning of the baby’s behavior, but to consider carefully the behavior of the adults involved, and how I can use that information to help facilitate an environment conducive to the baby’s and family’s growth.
—Jean Powlesland, RN, MS, NIDCAP Trainer
Although the NIDCAP approach seems obvious and intuitive, achieving it on a day-to-day basis in the NICU can be challenging. It requires that physicians and nurses acquire specific skills and knowledge, and that we re-evaluate our attitudes and beliefs about our relationships with the newborn and its family. The NIDCAP approach is not generally taught in our nursing and medical schools or hospital nurseries. This is why the work of the NIDCAP Federation International is so important. It’s my hope as both a pediatrician and a father of a NICU graduate that the NIDCAP approach will become the standard of care for neonatal services throughout the country and the world. The smallest and most fragile members of our communities deserve no less.
—Lee M. Pachter, DO
Changing the NICU culture to a more individualized family-centered approach to care is a slow process; it is more of a journey than a destination.
—Joke M. Wielenga, RN, PhD
NIDCAP helps bring about systemic change, not only NICU and hospital change, but also societal and political system change…one infant and one family at a time; one nurse and one doctor at a time; one NICU and one hospital at a time; one city and one country at a time. This is the only way to create the necessary change.
—Heidelise Als, PhD, Founder, NFI