A tiny premature baby’s grasp touched one nurse’s heart so much that she had to share it.
The U.S. nurse, who shared the story on the medical app Figure 1, said she was changing the baby’s diaper when the infant reached out and grabbed her arm, the Daily Mail reports. The baby girl was born very prematurely after just 26 weeks in the womb; she weighed less than 1 pound at birth, the nurse said.
“I was changing her nappy and she just held on to my hand,” the nurse wrote on Figure 1. “I had to stop and just let her. Human touch is so important [to these babies].”
The nurse said her hospital now requires them to wear gloves to change babies’ diapers and take their temperatures to help prevent infection; however, she said human contact also is important to babies, especially those born prematurely.
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“It makes me sad because they really do need human touch,” the nurse wrote.
Figure 1 is an app created for medical professionals to share information and promote discussion about rare conditions and new treatments. It allows health care providers like the nurse to share information while protecting patients’ privacy. Because of the patient privacy measures, the baby’s and nurse’s names, hospital and location were not included in the report.
Here’s more from the report:
As for the baby here ‘responding’ to the nurse’s touch, it is likely she actually did. Babies crave close contact because they need to recreate conditions experienced before birth, says Professor Craig Jackson, a psychologist at Birmingham City University.
The good news is that the tiny baby in this picture is now a ‘happy, healthy, 14 lb nine-month-old’, the nurse says. ‘Premature babies are the definition of a miracle. I have the best job ever.’
Many hospitals also have started to encourage skin-to-skin contact, sometimes called kangaroo care, between moms and premature babies.
A study published in December in the journal “Pediatrics” found that premature babies who had skin-to-skin contact with their moms in the hospital were doing well years later, according to the Mail. Researchers said the children had fewer aggressive and hyperactive behaviors and more grey matter in their brains.