In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), familiar technology is bringing newborns the most comforting sound they can hear: their mother’s voice.
“BabyTime” uses iPads and FaceTime to connect mothers and babies who have to be in separate rooms.
“I couldn’t hold her, but she stopped crying once she heard my voice.”
As soon as the baby is admitted to the NICU, an iPad is set up next to the infant’s incubator. A second iPad is delivered to the new mother, who can then log onto BabyTime.
Some moms aren’t well enough, due to a C-section or other complication, to visit the NICU right after delivery. Children under 3 are not allowed in the NICU, so the iPads can also be used by siblings who can’t visit the NICU but want to see their new brother or sister.
“The program is an excellent use of technology, helping new mothers bond with their babies even when they can’t be physically together,” says Dr. Charles Simmons, chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Pediatrics.
“About 60% of our mothers use BabyTime to communicate with the care team and see their infant,” adds nurse Bevin Merideth.
“When doctors and nurses are treating a newborn in the NICU, Mom can now be right there asking questions and getting updates, even if she’s on a different floor.”
Nurses Yvonne Kidder and Julius Caceres came up with the program in 2012 after a patient was unable to be with her newborn. The mother was anxious to see her baby, and Yvonne had an idea—what if she used FaceTime to connect the two?
“When doctors and nurses are treating a newborn in the NICU,” says Julius, “Mom can now be right there asking questions and getting updates, even if she’s on a different floor.”
Rachel Little was one of the first mothers to use BabyTime. After her daughter was born by C-section, she was unable to make her way to the NICU, where her little girl was being treated.
“I couldn’t hold her,” Rachel recalls, “but she stopped crying once she heard my voice.”