Stimulation for older babies?

  1. We have a baby on our unit who is about three months old now; she was a preemie and has just about fully recovered. The problem is that she still isn't going home anytime soon, and gets terribly cranky with nothing to do and no one to play with her. Her nurse typically has three-five other babies, and she cries and cries unless you are holding and talking to her. When we are busy (we take turns), she is in an open crib and will raise her upper body up and look around and start screaming for lack of anything better to do. We have a swing for her to sit up in, but naturally, it's broken!! So it doesn't swing unless we swing it. Any suggestions? It breaks my heart to be sitting here and knowing that she is in that nursery just wailing away out of loneliness and boredom. ;>(
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   dawngloves
    Do you have a child development or PT/OT person that could help?
    We had a term baby with us for a couple of months and we'd sit her in a vibratring chair and hang her toys off cloth tape for her to look at. Not the most stimulating thing I'm sure, but she didn't complain.
  4. by   pappyRN
    Hello,
    Does your hospital have NICU/SCN volunteers? Mine did and it was really a big help for the older babies that needed attention. Sometimes, we had a few teenagers that were trained to the ways of the NICU (scrubbing in, etc) and they would come and play with the babes. We had retired nuns and older moms who had already finished their stints with the PTA and were looking to volunteer at something new and different. It wasn't at all hard to get the volunteers, sometimes we had to turn them down because there were too many of them!
    Of course, Child Life was a help but couldn't spare a specialist for as many times as we needed one.
    Good Luck,
    PappyRN
  5. by   NicuGal
    Is she in a bigger crib? We put our older chronics in a seat and put the VCR in front of them...they love it and it gives us time to do our other "chores" and then go play with them. We have a 10 month old that loves to go around in the stroller with all the nurses, we just take her and her IV pole and her Kangaroo Pump and wheel her into different rooms. She loves it! We have done that with smaller kids too, took the portable O2 and stuff and went a visitin!
  6. by   drmehlhorn
    My suggestion would be to use music...almost all of our chronic kids get addicted to it. Kids video tapes are also a favorite. But mostly this kid just needs "positive" touch esp after all of the negative stuff they've experienced. It takes a lot of work....on my unit, these kids are usually in a group of 3 so that they can get the attention they need. I can imagine with 3-5 other babes, time that it available to be spent with them is very limited. If that can't be arranged, volunteers and PT/OT/Play Therapy would be good.
  7. by   karenelizabeth
    basicly this baby needs his/her Mum!!

    dont know family situation or unit policy but could she come in more.

    Our eldest recrute left last year 1 day before his first birthday. He was born at term but has Ondines curse and iit took a while to get suitable accomodation/ventilator for home.

    His Mum came in as often as she could, stayed in over night too even before he was ready to go home in our mum and baby rooms. They were a loverly if very young couple and we encouraged them to take him home in the day time at weekends (he could breath on his own when awake) with the support of Life line a UK based charity helping parents care for chronically sick etc children at home.

    We involved our Parent baby interaction advisor and the play specialist. We also tried to only give the nurse looking after him one other baby so allowing far more time to play and use a minimal nunber of nurses as he liked familure faces. But we also found that other staff woould "pop" on to see him (he had a room of his own) and talk to him from other nurses and Drs to domestic and admin staff, and he had such a magical smile it was hardly suprising.

    By the time he left he had quite a selection of toys mobiles (hand made involving sparkly paper brightly coloured objects) tapes of music. Story tapes read by his mum and dad (his absolute favourate thing would settle him even when teathing) and much much more
  8. by   KRVRN
    I've found that by the time our long termers get to be a few months old, just about evereyone has cared for them. So we all try to take turns either cuddling the baby or playing with it. We also use mobiles, music, mirrors and this thingie that vibrates. The parents usually bring in toys. Unfortunately they still end up being our cranky criers. We're just not set up like a peds unit where the parents can room in.
  9. by   prmenrs
    No TV! (Against Academy of Pediatrics recommendations); also, becareful w/mobiles after 6months or when they can sit up, whichever comes first.

    CDs are good, lullabies and/or classical music. There is a CD called "Baby Go to Sleep"--you can search w/that title, and it will come up. The CD is about $25-$30, but worth it.

    OT should be coming to play with the baby, and recommending age-appropriate toys. Probably rattles and things they can manipulate and mouth.

    Establish a routine: Bathtime, naptimes, and make sure people respect the routine so the baby knows what to expect. She should have a team of consistant caregivers. Remember the developmental task per Erickson? Trust vs mistrust?

    You may have to go back to the peds books, or to the library or book store to find some ideas to use to play with her.

    It's tough taking care of a kid that age in a NICU and help them grow--there's so much else demanding attention. But it can be done and it's very rewarding to see them develop--don't forget to take pictures for the family and yourselves!
  10. by   Deidre Shiobhan
    Quote from NICU_Nurse
    We have a baby on our unit who is about three months old now; she was a preemie and has just about fully recovered. The problem is that she still isn't going home anytime soon, and gets terribly cranky with nothing to do and no one to play with her. Her nurse typically has three-five other babies, and she cries and cries unless you are holding and talking to her. When we are busy (we take turns), she is in an open crib and will raise her upper body up and look around and start screaming for lack of anything better to do. We have a swing for her to sit up in, but naturally, it's broken!! So it doesn't swing unless we swing it. Any suggestions? It breaks my heart to be sitting here and knowing that she is in that nursery just wailing away out of loneliness and boredom. ;>(
    Do you have music therapist? I've tried getting the MT to sing to my longstayer baby and he loves it. Her voice is great! Besides entertaining the baby, we nurses in the clinical area find it very therapeutic, help us to destressing and pleasant too.
  11. by   GrowingBabies
    We use mirrors, smaller toys to grasp, mobiles.

    Therapy team brings in special seats, swings, bouncers, mats, etc.

    Encourage parents to be there regularly for cares & play!

    Also try to keep those babies in "lighter" assignments so they can get more one on one time & try to maintain consistent caregivers.

    Not all of our rooms have windows, so we like to move those babies to rooms with windows so they get good day/night rotation.

    Also like to take them "visiting" when possible. Load up in a stroller with portable oxygen/IV poles. Even outside if it's nice out!

    And music! Variety of lullaby CD, holiday music, classical! Works wonders...
    Last edit by GrowingBabies on May 13, '11 : Reason: Afterthought of music....

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