NICU Developmental Therapy

The very best care, right from the start

When newborns are sick or born prematurely, they need some extra care and support. At Aurora BayCare, our NICU team includes developmental therapists who provide focused attention to your baby’s healthy development and growth.

The NICU developmental team is made up of an occupational therapist and a speech language pathologist who have received specialized training in developmental care for sick and premature babies.

Infants in the NICU are already getting expert nursing care. But at Aurora BayCare, our developmental therapy team takes that care further, with a focus on your child’s physical, sensory, feeding, and social development needs. Research shows that early developmental therapy helps premature and at-risk babies thrive and grow.

Developmental Skills

The developmental therapy team will assess your baby’s development, tolerance to his/her environment, and self-calming skills. We’ll also evaluate your baby’s feeding skills and ability to move and engage with their surroundings.

Families are involved right away in caring for their newborn. We’ll show you specific ways to handle and interact with your premature baby. The goal is to encourage bonding and development, in a manner best suited to your baby’s needs. You learn skills and techniques such as:

  • Feeding and Swallowing: Infants in the NICU may not be ready to eat right away. Our therapists can offer ideas to assist in readiness and ensure pleasurable feeds when it’s safe for your baby to start oral feedings. 

Premature infants and infants with feeding challenges or illness often require specialized feeding techniques when learning to eat. A NICU developmental therapist will create a feeding plan tailored to your infant's needs. Therapists will also help you learn and become comfortable with using recommended feeding strategies to help your baby learn how to eat safely and quickly.  

  • Bonding Therapy: We’ll help you understand your infant’s special needs and provide the guidance you need to feel comfortable when caring for your newborn. We may also introduce special bonding strategies such as kangaroo care or infant massage to foster bonding and attachment.
  • Therapeutic Positioning: Premature babies are specially positioned to foster better sleep and motor development, to reduce stress, and to protect their joints.
  • Developmental Support: Therapists work to improve your baby’s sensory processing skills, muscle tone, and movement patterns in order to help them meet developmental milestones.
  • Swaddled Bathing: Bathing strategies are designed to decrease stress, promote a feeling of security, and stabilize your baby’s temperature while promoting parent/child bonding.  

Early developmental care supports your baby’s mental, emotional, and physical development. Our therapy team partners with you and your medical team to ensure your newborn’s individual needs are met.  

We also offer a wide variety of Children's Health specialty services, including children's therapy, to meet the needs of your children as they grow.

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