Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Brenner Children’s Hospital operates a Level IV neonatal intensive care nursery, which is the highest level of care available. These infants often face problems feeding, both at the breast and with the bottle. Speech-language pathologists working in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have experience working with this specialized population and are trained in a variety of assessment tools for diagnosis and treatment. They work closely with neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, nurses, nutritionists, lactation consultants, social workers, as well as with occupational and physical therapists.
Speech-language pathologists provide oral motor and feeding evaluation and treatment of the premature and medically fragile infant. Intervention may include:
- determining the safety of oral feeding (i.e., pre-feeding assessment)
- finding the best positioning for feeding
- recommending feeding techniques to improve the quality of feeding by breast or bottle
- working together with the medical team to establish feeding schedules that support the health of the baby
- completing an instrumental swallowing evaluation called a Modified Barium Swallow Study
- providing parent education as it relates to feeding
- participating in discharge recommendations for follow-up care
Find more information on the NICU.