Today's hospitals are focused on "Family Centered Care", meaning the medical staff is involving families ain patient care. In the NICU, parents and grandparents are encouraged to visit often, hold babies, feed babies, assist nurses with bathing, and complete diaper changes. Even siblings as young as three are encouraged to visit.
Prior to co-founding Barski Vail Designs, LLC, I (Chelsea Vail), worked as a Child Life Specialist. In both my practicum and internship I spent time in NICUs and as a professional I was the NICU backup. I consider myself a medical professional. I'm comfortable holding babies regardless of size, health, medical devices or machines that may be in the way. I'm trained to be comfortable and I've experienced it all.
However, when my son, Cash was in the NICU after birth, I found myself feeling like a fish out of water at his bedside. I was in the NICU as a parent, not a staff member. I didn't feel comfortable touching or holding my own son without expressed permission. I was worried I'd accidentally unlatch an EKG lead or tangle a central line. I didn't want nurses upset with me because I was so fragile as a new mom- still healing both physically and emotionally.
Woombie Med Pods, Gel Pods, and Bili Pods prevent this nervous feeling and help support Family Centered Care initiative. A neonate wrapped tightly in a Woombie is not at risk for tangled leads because they fit in the specifically placed slits on the front, back, and sides. The limbs are held securely in the 360 degree swaddle sack to avoid startling the infant and causing an unnecessary flight or flight response. A parent, or caregiver, may find the neonate less intimidating to hold when they're swaddled in a Woombie Med Pod.
Unwrapping an infant from a traditional blanket swaddle to change a diaper can be overstimulating and waste valuable energy, but the patented double zipper allows parents and staff to access the baby for diaper changes without disturbance. Imagine the wave of calm over the mother changing her baby's diaper while he rests peacefully in his swaddle.
"Gosh, I would've felt much better leaving my babies everyday knowing they were wrapped up in that thing. At least they would've felt like I was still there." -Katie, Austin, TX, mother of twins
Traditionally, "bili" babies, or babies with elevated bilirubin levels have been placed in a crib underneath phototherapy lights. Some hospitals use a phototherapy blanket, some use a wand, but no matter what type of treatment is used, these babies are left alone, unswaddled.
A nurse will come periodically and turn the baby to side-body position, supine, or prone, but they're left untouched and without boundaries except for a bendy bumper perhaps. The infant is sleeping and not in any pain so it may seem to the untrained eye that they're happy; however, their development and psychosocial wellbeing is still compromised. ALL newborns, especially neonates, need to be swaddled.
The Woombie Bili Pod is the first, and only, hospital grade swaddle sack for Bili babies! It's patented peanut-shaped swaddle keeps infant contained, but it's mesh fabric allows 95% of light through from phototherapy. Central lines, monitors and other medical devices can be weaved through mesh or using the patented double zipper. Families and nurses can complete diaper changes without disturbing the infant or causing undue stress from overstimulation.
"The Woombie Bili Pod is genius! I can't wait to get these on our mother/baby unit!"- Leslie Brake, Seton Healthcare Nurse, and inventor of the ACK Wrap
Swaddling a Neonate
Some anthropologists believe that humans once had a gestational period of 12 months. They believe that as the human race evolved and our brains grew larger, the gestational period decreased to nine months. This is why the first three months of a baby’s life is known as the “fourth trimester” (Karp, Happiest baby on the Block). A newborn should essentially be viewed as a fetus, and a premature baby is still a fetus. The female womb provides more than nutrition to the developing fetus. It protects it’s eyes from light, it provides moisture to it’s developing skin, it provides warmth as a baby cannot regulate their body temperature until six months of age, and it provides security by containing the fetus in tight quarters, preventing a trigger of the moro reflux, causing a flight or fight response in the central nervous system.
Swaddling (the first “S” of the 5 S’s for Calming by Dr. Harvey Karp)
Medical reasons to swaddle:
Many NICU babies and hospitalized infants are left un-swaddled because traditional swaddling:
The Woombie Med Pods solve all of those problems.
Woombie Med Pods
Woombie Gel Pod
The human gestational period is 38-42 weeks. Some babies are born as prematurely as 24 weeks. They’re whisked away from their mothers, put in a loose diaper in an incubator, or laid in a crib surrounded by stiff “infant positioners”. The neonate is no longer free to move the way they would in the womb. They’re no longer comforted by warm tissue, amniotic fluid, gentle rocking of mother’s movements and they’re separated from the postpartum mother therefore they cannot nuzzle into the fat of the postpartum female form, including stomach and breasts. There is perfection in the design of the mother/baby bonding opportunities after birth that these premature infants miss.
Woombie Gel Pod:
Family Centered Care
The Woombie Med Pods, including the Woombie Gel Pod, provide a sense of comfort for parents who are unable to hold their babies due to absence, diagnosis, infection control, or treatment obstacles. The Gel Pod helps the new mother feel she’s providing an inutero environment for her neonate that her body was unable to for it’s full 38-42 weeks of pregnancy.
Parents can hold their babies without fearing they’ll tangle up wires, pull off monitors, or hold baby in an uncomfortable position because they can’t feel it’s body underneath a pile of blankets.
Skin-to-skin contact, aka “Kangaroo Care” is easier to provide due to the ease of the front zipper. The gel pod allows the baby to turn itself to a side-body position without exerting valuable energy, and align itself with its caregiver’s chest and stomach for physiological synchronization.