Sydnie Gerber was born to be a NICU nurse. Her big heart, leadership qualities, and nurturing spirit make her a perfect fit for this vocation. She primarily takes care of our most vulnerable citizens, micro preemie babies, and she specializes in high risk deliveries. Sydnie has seen unimaginable heartache, but she also gets to help reinforce the incredible bond between mothers, fathers, and their tiny miracles every day.
“One of the best parts of my job is helping parents bond with their newborns. They don’t get to spend as much time together as they would like because moms have to go back to work or care for other siblings, and NICU space is limited."
"I try to make sure they get the most out of their time by facilitating skin-to-skin contact as much as we can."
In an interview with Bonsie, Sydnie shared that even micro preemie babies (babies born before 26 weeks gestation and typically weighing less than two pounds) benefit from skin-to-skin contact.
“Skin-to-skin time between mothers and their baby is one of the best ways to grow a strong bond. That connection can increase moms’ milk supply, it promotes babies’ brain growth and development, and decreases cortisol levels in mothers and babies. Because of that decreased cortisol, the infant is less stressed and sleeps better after skin-to-skin care. As a NICU nurse I have seen first hand how amazing skin-to-skin with parents can be for babies’ development. Kangaroo care regulates infants’ temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate and decreases pain. For all infants, and especially premature infants, skin-to-skin care is essential. Make sure to get dads involved as well. Skin-to-skin is for all parents to bond and boost their babies' wellness.”
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly continuous skin-to-skin contact, often referred to as kangaroo care, could save more than 150,000 babies a year.
“Keeping the mother and baby together right from birth with zero separation will revolutionize the way neonatal intensive care is practiced for babies born early or small,” said Dr Rajiv Bahl, Head of the Newborn Unit at WHO. “When started at the earliest possible time, kangaroo mother care can save more lives, improve health outcomes for babies and ensure the constant presence of the mother with her sick baby” (2021).
In addition to helping parents bond with their baby, another highlight of Sydnie’s day is watching mothers display remarkable strength and constant devotion to their babies: “For each mother I meet, I see four completely different people: The woman I meet in labor, the woman I see meeting her newborn baby for the first time, the woman holding her baby in the NICU, and the woman finally taking her precious little one home. The transformation is remarkable.”
Taylor Leiker, a proud mother of a NICU baby, is all too familiar with this process. Taylor’s water broke at 31 weeks pregnant, and 19 hours later, her baby boy was born. Wyatt weighed 4 pounds, 8 ounces, and measured 18.7 inches long. He spent 46 days in the NICU.
While in the NICU, Taylor and her husband practiced skin-to-skin contact every day with Wyatt. Bonsie Skin to Skin Babywear is honored to have made this experience for Taylor's family a little easier.
“Skin-to-skin was so important for us to bond with our baby. Not having to fully undress Wyatt, but still being able to perform skin-to-skin was special for both myself and my husband. (Plus, he just looks really cute in Bonsies too!)”
Babies in the NICU are attached to various cords and monitors. Sydnie provided Bonsie with an overview of the most common:
Cardiopulmonary leads to monitor heart rate, rhythm and respiratory rate, and a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen.
Blood Pressure Cuff or Arterial Line to measure blood pressure.
Temperature Probe that attaches to the bed to read and regulate temperature.
Intravenous Lines which can be a PIV (peripherally intravenous catheter) or a midline to infuse medication.
Central Lines which can be a PICC (Peripherally inserted central catheter) line or Umbilical lines for infusing medications or blood draws.
Respiratory Support can be a nasal cannula or CPAP to an Endotracheal Tube for intubation.
Being attached to this equipment can make it difficult to keep babies in the NICU dressed. However, due to Bonsie’s unique design, they make it easier to keep babies attached to the necessary equipment while still clothed. Bonsies are also more NICU friendly because they assist with convenient skin-to-skin care without depleting babies’ energy to remove clothing. (For more info on NICU equipment, check out this article from March of Dimes.)
“When Wyatt was in the NICU he had several cords attached to him; traditional onesies or zipper pajamas made it hard because you have to weave the cords through the legs. The other amazing thing about Bonsies are that you don’t have to do that. The NICU nurses loved them!” (Shop our preemie sizes here.)
Wyatt is now home and healthy with his adoring family. After Wyatt outgrew his preemie Bonsies, Taylor donated each one to the NICU for nurses and moms to use on other babies. Stories like this make our team at Bonsie so proud of our product and the work we do to promote the life saving benefits of skin-to-skin contact.
Thank you to Sydnie, Taylor, and all the other brave NICU nurses and moms who care for each tiny miracle.
Stay tuned for our next post featuring Katie Ross, a NICU therapist who will provide us with further support and encouragement.
Kangaroo mother care started immediately after birth critical for saving lives, new research shows. (2021, May 26). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news/item/26-05-2021-kangaroo-mother-care-started-immediately-after-birth-critical-for-saving-lives-new-research-shows