Cuddles the best medicine for new bubs
PRECIOUS little Evanna Mackey was born at 24 weeks gestation, weighing just 700g.
She has been a patient in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Royal Hobart Hospital since her early arrival on August 14.
It was 18 days before her parents were allowed to hold her in their arms. “The first time we got to cuddle her was on Father’s Day,” mum Jess Evans said.
“It was very special, emotional and helped settle her heart rate.
“Since then, whenever she’s feeling unwell we go straight for a cuddle first before medication.
“There’s no way to describe the feeling of holding your baby and knowing that’s the reason they’re feeling better.”
Skin-to-skin contact between mum and bub straight after birth boosts bonding, encourages breast feeding and even transfers mum’s infection-fighting bacteria on to their child.
But premature infants are whisked away for treatment in that first “golden hour”.
The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne is now testing whether more cuddles between mum and her preterm baby straight after birth – by performing much of the treatment and observation while the newborn is on her chest – is safe and practical.