Family Nurture Intervention – NICU

When a baby is born prematurely and needs to be in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the infant and family suffer emotional trauma from separation. The life-saving care these infants need causes mother-infant separation, just when the mother normally protects her baby against stress through ongoing, reciprocal calming interactions. Premature birth is known to put children at increased risk for many long-term challenges, including behavioral problems, learning difficulties, communication issues, and autism spectrum disorders. Many of these issues can be avoided when mother-infant nurture interactions are fostered in the first days of life.

Family Nurture Intervention (FNI) helps families re-establish emotional connection and autonomic co-regulation if they are interrupted. Results from a randomized control trial that compared Family Nurture Intervention with standard care in the NICU found that Family Nurture Intervention had significant short- and long-term benefits for both baby and mother.