Let both parents of NICU babies remain with them!


Let both parents of NICU babies remain with them!

This petition made change with 1,305 supporters!
Petition to
University Hospitals

Why this petition matters

Started by Sarah Schoeffler

Please sign this petition on behalf of one of my dearest friends Helen, her husband Brian, and her NICU preemie Lucy Catherine.

Lucy Catherine Hawersaat was born at 8:23pm on May 1st, via c-section, after her mom’s water broke three months early. They were very lucky and were able to give her two doses of steroids prior to delivery (to help Lucy’s lungs develop quickly), and when she was born she was even able to breathe on her own for a little bit. Lucy was born at 28 weeks, weighing 2 pounds, 3 ounces, and is currently in the NICU at University Hospitals in Cleveland. Both she and mom are doing well.

However, because of the current Covid-19 situation, University Hospital is allowing only one parent to be allowed to see NICU babies for the duration of their hospital stay. Because up until this point, Helen has been a patient at the hospital herself, Brian has been Lucy’s one allowed visitor. However, once Helen is discharged this afternoon, Brian will no longer be allowed to see Lucy, and Helen is the only parent who will be able to be by their baby’s side.

This is problematic for a variety of reasons:

  • Helen is recovering from major surgery (a c-section), and is physically exhausted and in pain. She needs to focus on her own recovery, while knowing that Lucy is with her daddy in the NICU.
  • Even though the hospital is (correctly!) worried about people bringing Covid-19 into the NICU, this policy makes no sense because Helen is allowed to come and go from the NICU as she pleases! Of course, any time that Helen is not at the hospital, she will be with her husband at home. If he is contagious, Helen would have been exposed to him anyway. Furthermore, Brian has been allowed to be by his baby’s side thus far!
  • NICU babies need both of their parents! The benefits to a father’s involvement in the NICU are numerous.

According a September 2018 article in the Journal of Neonatal Nursing:

  • Multiple trusted studies have shown that engaging fathers benefits both infant and family health.
  • Studies have found greater weight gain in babies and more exclusive breastfeeding when fathers had a strong father-baby bond with their NICU infants.
  • Researchers at the Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital in South Korea found that when NICU infants received regular tactile simulation from their fathers the babies had higher oxygen saturation levels overall.
  • A 2016 study recorded that after father skin-to-skin care, babies had an overall increase in baby’s body temperature, better blood glucose levels, lower salivary cortisol levels (indicating less stress) and more settled babies overall.
  • The early presence of fathers can help to reduce the time of parent-baby separation after the birth.
  • Research in Taiwan shows that supporting early father-baby skin-to-skin care improved breastfeeding rates in the first three months.
  • Research from Vietnam shows an association between increased breastfeeding rates and support for the father-baby bond.



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