In honor of 2015 International Neonatal Therapy Week NANT asked its members and followers to answer the question, “What is your vision for the babies you serve?” As neonatal therapists our primary goals are to improve developmental outcomes and facilitate baby-family connection. And we LOVE our work.
We captured incredible responses from all over the world, written directly to the babies themselves, to create the letter below.
A Letter to Babies: Your Therapists’ Vision for You
My vision for you is….to feel safe, loved, cared for, relaxed, well rested, strong, organized, nested and unafraid; with positive emotional connections to feeding and your caregivers. I want you to survive and enjoy life and development to the fullest. To be a communication partner who is HEARD. I want your voice to be respected no matter how small you are…you deserve to be comfortable and supported as you learn all of your first skills in this world. I want you to enjoy eating now and long term as it is something you will do forever and need to have a strong base to build off of for SUCCESS. Every change in your facial expression and body posture will tell me just the right way to support you and optimize you or oral feeding/swallowing experience which I will share with your caregivers so that after you go home, you will continue to grow and thrive. My vision is for you to come back for your developmental assessment at 3 months, 6 months, 18 months and 30 months showing off all you have learned. That your parents come to know you better than all of us who provide care to you in your earliest hours and days of life. That you achieve all feeding milestones with grace and confidence. My wish for you is to help your parents to enjoy listening and communicating with you so that you know you are loved. Massage can help them do this!Explore your world to find your passions. Touch and love your family for they will guide you and keep you safe. Remember you are a blessing and your uniqueness will color the world. To feel joy in touch, to move and explore in a secure and supportive space, to sleep deeply, grow strong, and to feel infinitely connected as you are embraced with skill and confidence by your family. That you sleep soundly on your parent’s chest, that we ask your parents’ permission to touch you, that we understand you come into this world as a family and that you are watched, loved and needed from the moment you arrived. That you experience care in the NICU as safe and nurturing so that you experience touch, feeding and interaction with the world as safe and nurturing too.
*My baby, vengo aqui cerca tuyo a decirte que comprendo lo que sentis, a darte lo que se necesitas, a que te sientas acompanado, amado, seguro, sereno, a que puedas nutrirte, a que tus sentidos sientan el placer de escuchar, tocar, oler,ver lo que sos capaz y del mejor modo posible, estoy aca para acompanar a tus padres, y darles lo que ellos tambien necesitan, hablarles de vos, de su querido hijito. Estoy aqui para conocerte y entender que es lo que necesitas en cada momento, y para pensar y resolver como dartelo. Estoy aqui para hacer equipo con toda persona que entra en la nicu,para que entre todos hagamos lo mejor for you. Estoy aqui para convertir este mundo de tecnologia que te rodea en algo mas humano, que puedas sentir de alguna manera mas cerca el utero materno que debiste abandonar antes del tiempo previsto.
Translation: My baby, come here close to you to tell you that I understand what you feel, to give you what you will need, to feel accompanied, loved, safe, serene, to be able to nurture, to your senses feel the pleasure of hearing, touch , smell, see what they’re capable and the best possible way, I’m here to accompany your parents, and also give them what they need to talk to you, your dear son. I am here to meet you and understand what you need in every moment, and to think and solve as give it to you. I’m here to team up with anyone who comes into the NICU, so that together we do the best for you. I’m here to make this world of technology around you into something more human, you can feel somehow closer to the womb that you should leave ahead of schedule.
That you and your parents feel like a family when in the NICU. That you grow and develop to your full potential, whatever that may be. That your life is measured by what you CAN do. That your world is full of more joy than sorrow and more connection than isolation. That you flourish. That when you get a home run in little league, your lungs and heart and body are so healthy you sprint around the bases with ease. That you like to eat. That you come to understand your inherent worth and significance. That you laugh all the way into your belly. That you are hugged often. That you are cherished as being perfectly you.