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In the NICU - Caring for baby

Care activities

Be Involved

You are especially encouraged to be involved in the following care-giving activities for your baby, for example,

  • Mouth-care
  • Nappy changing
  • Bathing
  • Weight checks
  • Feeding

Start by watching your baby’s nurse do them. You can get involved when you feel comfortable to do so. Even if only observing, you can take part by comforting your baby, e.g. your Soothing Voice, Gentle Touch or Comfort Hold, see ‘Ways you can comfort your baby’ LINK.

With practice, you will become more comfortable doing these activities yourself. Your baby’s nurse will help you. Before starting any activity, check with your baby’s nurse as your baby’s individual needs may differ.

Remember, some very preterm or unwell babies may find some care giving activities tiring or upsetting, so take your time and remember to watch your baby throughout and respond to their signals. See “Watch your baby and respond to their signals.” Ask your baby’s nurse to guide you.

Top Tips to help you to interact with your baby

  • Ensure your baby is awake and ready for each activity.
  • Watch your baby throughout to ensure that they stay comfortable and that you respond to their signals, see ‘Understanding how your baby communicates with you’.
  • If your baby shows signs that an activity is becoming too much for them (see ‘Time-Out’ signals’, pause what you are doing and offer them reassurance and comfort, see ‘Ways to comfort your baby’.
  • Only continue the activity when your baby signals that they are ready, i.e. ‘Positive Approach’ behaviours.
  • Do not continue if your baby does not signal that they are ready.
  • See ‘Interacting with your baby’.

Did You Know?

Breast milk contains antimicrobial properties that help to clean your baby’s mouth.

“Remember to watch your baby and respond to their signals.”

Care-giving Activities