Q: Can parents hold and touch preemies in the NICU?
A: Sick and premature babies have a lot of trouble regulating their body temperature, so they need to be kept warm in an incubator, but that doesn't mean parents can't touch them. They can reach in and touch their baby with special gloves that are threaded through the incubator. Depending upon the baby's health, they may also be able to take her out for periods of time to feed her and care for her. Many experts recommend that premature babies get daily kangaroo care -- time spent pressed against their mother's bare skin -- because it promotes the parent-child bond and, in some cases, helps babies gain weight and thrive.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, November 2006. Updated 2009