This blog is behind: one of the hazards of modern travel is that one keeps up to date with all the latest versions of aeroplane viruses that appear: some enforced rest follows. Need a better anti-virus for aeroplane mode!
Conferences are exciting, but people who come to them make a choice aligned to their convictions. Working in hospitals and consulting in other ways is exciting in that we can reach a broader audience. When Nils started this ten years ago there was general scepticism, and sometimes even antagonism. Things have changed! Both hospitals that Nils visited in Ohio were embracing the findings of the neuroscience and the evidence on skin-to-skin contact. Both had prepared in detail, and were genuinely wanting to make improvements, it was wonderful. Thanks to Dr Julie Ware, and to Jen Gonya for great arrangements.
Perhaps the highlight for me was being invited to demonstrate our technique with an extremely small and ventilated baby. For the very first time ever, arrangements had been made to wheel in a normal adult bed into the neonatal intensive care unit of that hospital. This of course is how NICU’s are in Sweden , but a first here. One advantage of this is that it makes it easy to transfer the baby with its back up (called prone), and I was able to show how this was done without making the baby unstable in any way at all. In this instance we used father, and after a while he was able to stand up and walk around the bed, and hands free with baby sleeping firmly against his chest. Another reason for providing adult beds is that it makes it very easy for parents to provide long periods of time, even day and night continuous skin-to-skin contact.
Jill spoke to a small team working in the Neonatal Intensive Care in Grant Hospital on how to improve more skin to skin contact and developmental care on the parents chest, then drove with Linda to Dayton to speak to a group of her medical students at the new programme at the Wright State School of Medicine. It is important to get this new evidence out to the next generation of doctors!
Perhaps the highlight for her was the day in the studio in Columbus! The WIC program provides care to perhaps half of all mothers and babies in the USA, and in order to reach as many of them as possible, Jill did a recorded session specifically for mothers, and two recorded sessions to WIC staff in supporting mothers. She had prepared carefully, and rattled it all off in one go. When she had finished speaking the studio staff just sat engrossed and spellbound, forgetting to switch off their cameras and recorders!
The last day Dr Nikki Rogers drove Jill through snow to fetch Nils from Columbus and then all the way back to Cincinnati airport. Heavy snowfall was predicted so after having the aeroplane wings washed off and sprayed with antifreeze, we were rather relieved that we were able to leave safely before “snowmageddon” hit the town! Quite an experience when we as South Africans are not used to snow!