There is one question that we keep on encountering the course of our advocacy for neonatal unity for mothers and babies. That is the question as to why the staff in neonatal units like to separate the premature babies from the mothers, in the first place. This is a pertinent question, because we need to first understand the thinking that informs the separation, before we can start advocating against such separation. In other words, we need to first understand why the staff members in the neonatal units like to separate the premature babies from the mothers, before we can start criticizing the arrangement.
So why do the staff in neonatal units like to separate the premature babies from the mothers?
Well, one of the reasons as to why the staff members in the neonatal units like to separate the prematurely born babies from the mothers probably has to do with concerns about infections. This is where some of the staff members feel that constant contact with the mothers could cause certain infections to the prematurely born babies (whose immunity systems tend to be very underdeveloped). There may not be much in terms of scientific evidence to back this up, by there are some neonatal unit staff members who’d rather be cautious than sorry.
Another reason as to why the staff members in the neonatal units like to separate the prematurely born babies from the mothers has to do with the logistics. You have to appreciate that several prematurely born babies are typically placed in the same room (typically in an incubator), within the neonatal unit. So if you were to talk of the mothers being constantly with the children, it would mean that all mothers with children in the incubator be present in the room. The logistics of that can get tricky: having all those new (and typically greatly distressed) mothers in the same room all the time… it can be very tricky. On a less sadder scenario, this is more or less the same way that administrators of social services in Georgia opt to disburse social benefits funds electronically, through the Compass.ga.gov website, just to ease the logistics.
The other reason as to why the staff members in the neonatal units like to separate the prematurely born babies from the mothers has to do with concern about mothers’ distress. This is where the staff members are of the opinion that having the mothers in the rooms where the babies are (in incubators) is only likely to distress the mothers. This is understandable, because after all, these are typically mothers who expected to deliver ‘normal’ full-term babies, and who are still trying to process the turn of events. Add to this the fact that some of the prematurely born babies are unfortunately bound to die in the neonatal units, and how that can be distressing to the other mothers who would then have to harbor fears of the same fate befalling their babies… So to avoid such distress, the neonatal unit staff members opt to keep the mothers out. In this context, the objective of the neonatal unit staff members is simply to minimize the mothers’ potential distress.