It’s cold in Cape Town today. It reminds me of a time where hundreds of South African babies died for a lack of incubators. Incubators are wonderful things, the way they protect the little children who arrive in the world a little too early.
Something else that saved a lot of lives was the simple knit beanie. Babies have huge heads compared to their bodies, and they love a lot of heat through it. Volunteers knitted and donated beanies to NICUs, and suddenly babies thrived.
A lot of money is spent to keep neonates alive.
But the most valuable commodity in the Neonatal ICU is not the incubator or the oxygen tank or even the doctor.
It’s the mother.
I’m in awe of those little bodies, but I’m absolutely dumbstruck by the mothers who sit by their tiny babies, holding them skin to skin even when they can’t nurse. The babies who have contact with their mothers thrive. They breathe more easily, they understand human touch, they regulate their temperatures better.
There are those mothers who don’t go visit the NICU. Some of them are stuck in an ICU of their own and really have no choice. Others… I don’t know. Do they not care? Has nobody told them that there baby needs them? I don’t get to judge them. I don’t know their story.
But mothers? Mothers should be invested in. They are more vital to the child’s survival than any other thing the medical sector might devise.