Did you know each time you position a baby in the NICU you can improve their motor development and weight gain?


In a 2019 study, Improving Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in NICU Patients, Painter & colleagues examined the impact of developmental positioning on length of stay, weight gain, tone and flexion. Researchers performed a retrospective chart review of 50 neonates with a gestational age of ≤34 weeks and no anomalies to develop the control group. A positioning educational in-service was completed and 27 infants were then enrolled as the test subjects. The Infant Positioning Assessment Tool (IPAT) was used as a guide for positioning scores, and an occupational therapist assessed tone, flexion, and development prior to discharge.  Results showed infants who were consistently positioned in a therapeutic manner during their NICU stay had significantly better weight gain, and improved tone and flexion as shown with higher mean scores on the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Exam.

Flexion, Containment, Alignment, and Comfort. These four words should guide handling and positioning during each and every caregiving experience. These words are a mantra repeated during every Creative Therapy Consultants Infant-Driven Education.  Whether the Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification (NTMC) or a Customized Educational Program designed to change a specific NICU’s Culture and Practices, this mantra is a critical part.  Learn more about NTMC and the hands-on skill you will develop to support therapeutic handling and positioning, along with neonatal massage, skin-to-skin, swaddled bathing, and so much more here.  Or, start designing your own NICUs customized program here.

Painter, L., Lewis, S., Hamilton, B. (2019) Improving Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in NICU Patients. Advances in Neonatal Care. Doi: 10.1097/ANC. 0000000000000583.