August is National Breastfeeding Month, and it is important to recognize all the health benefits that breastfeeding brings to newborns, especially those in the NICU. Breastfeeding is known to lower a baby’s risk of allergies and illnesses, benefits NICU babies need when they are up against so many other challenges.
The NICU is a stressful environment for newborns. Adjusting to a world outside of the womb is challenging for infants who are neurologically immature and have medical complications. The stress of daily practices can have negative effects on the wellbeing of the newborn, including the willingness to breastfeed.
Bathing in the NICU is inevitable, as baby’ skin must be kept clean. When stress levels are kept as low as possible during bathing, improved participation in breastfeeding have been documented immediately after a bath.¹
Swaddle bathing has been proven to be the least stressful form of bathing for both the baby and the caregiver.¹
Supported by clinical evidence, swaddle bathed babies demonstrated decreased physiological and motor stress, observed higher energy conservation and state control, and decreased crying and agitation – overall fewer stress signs.¹ Less stress increases the chance of a successful breastfeed in the NICU.
The TurtleTub from Catapult Products is used to swaddle bathing infants in the NICU. The tub features ribs and high sides to support the infant, a fleece blanket with thermal properties, a temperature strip, a flow-through design to keep water circulating around the baby, and neutral PH mild TurtleTub baby wash.
The TurtleTub also allows for parent-child interaction during bath time, which creates a positive experience for both the baby and the parent.