While the bonding is important for the later development of the infant it would be inaccurate to say that the premature baby misses the bonding with the mother. The infant-mother bonding is an action involving all the senses of the infant. Bonding can occur only when the brain of the baby is sufficiently developed and mature to efficiently use all the information of his senses, which is the situation of a full term infant.
What the premature baby in the incubator misses is to be IN the mother, to feel the motion and the sounds of the womb environment from where he has been expulsed prematurely.
This concept is well understood by the promoters of the kangaroo nursing method, which approaches the solution of the problem by providing contact, sounds and motion.
” Over the last 10 years, kangaroo holding is increasingly being adopted as part of nursing practice in nurseries across the United States. Research suggests that kangaroo holding promotes maternal-infant attachment through feelings of closeness, builds maternal confidence, improves breastfeeding success, and may be a stress-reducing experience for both the mother and infant. “
Although the kangaroo nursing method has multiple advantages, it interferes with the necessary constant monitoring of the premature infant in such a way that on average the method can only be applied for about four hours each day.
As a result the premature baby remains in the solitary confinement of the incubator for about 20 hours daily.
A recent invention, called the MOMEMAT™ may fill the 20 hours gap. The device, made of supple layers of fabric is placed above the mattress in the incubator providing the baby motion and sound mimicking the womb environment.
The Momemat™ (patent pending) is also electronically programmable to reproduce the motion of the real mother and her individual sounds. Motion and sounds can further be modulated to the specific needs of the premature baby and the constrains of the care.
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