Journal of Perinatology (2015) 35, S5–S8. doi:10.1038/jp.2015.142

Recommendations for involving the family in developmental care of the NICU baby

J W Craig1, C Glick2, R Phillips3, S L Hall4, J Smith5 and J Browne6

  1. 1School of Occupational Therapy, Brenau University, Gainesville, GA, USA
  2. 2Mississippi Lactation Services, Jackson, MS, USA
  3. 3Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, Loma Linda, CA, USA
  4. 4Division of Neonatology, St. John's Regional Medical Center, Oxnard, CA, USA
  5. 5Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, St Louis, MO, USA
  6. 6Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and The Children’s Hospital, Aurora, CO, USA

Correspondence: Dr JW Craig, School of Occupational Therapy, Brenau University, North Atlanta Campus, 3139 Campus Drive, Suite 300, Norcross, GA 30071, USA. E-mail:

Received 30 August 2015; Revised 27 September 2015; Accepted 29 September 2015



Family involvement is a key to realize the potential for long-lasting positive effects on physical, cognitive and psychosocial development of all babies, including those in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Family-centered developmental care (FCDC) recognizes the family as vital members of the NICU health-care team. As such, families are integrated into decision-making processes and are collaborators in their baby’s care. Through standardized use of FCDC principles in the NICU, a foundation is constructed to enhance the family’s lifelong relationship with their child and optimize development of the baby. Recommendations are made for supporting parental roles as caregivers of their babies in the NICU, supporting NICU staff participation in FCDC and creating NICU policies that support this type of care. These recommendations are designed to meet the basic human needs of all babies, the special needs of hospitalized babies and the needs of families who are coping with the crisis of having a baby in the NICU.