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Mother-baby bonding support rooms in Istanbul

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A guest article by Ilknur Okay from El Bebek Gül Bebek


To provide as best and often as possible contact between mothers and preterm babies

Steps of implementation

© El Bebek Gül Bebek

After El Bebek Gül Bebek decided to install a mother-baby bonding room in a public hospital, we approached the Istanbul Medicine Faculty Hospital, one of the major university hospitals in Turkey. We had meetings with the professors of the neonatology department, NICU nurses and visiting mothers to understand their needs and conditions. Then an architect prepared the blueprint plans voluntarily and after receiving the unit’s consent we asked the hospital administration for their approval. It took almost a week to get the technical and architectural endorsement. As the unit was in operation, we wanted to avoid long-term constructions, and therefore arranged all details and pricing with the constructor while we were waiting for the approval. When green light were given from the authorities, the constructor started constructing the new walls etc. All furniture was designed and manufactured on tailor-made basis, according to our requirements while the construction was going on. The construction and implemantation of new furniture were completed in only four days. Meanwhile, we contacted one of the biggest household appliances manufacturers and purchased the air conditioner and refrigerator with a special discount. An office furniture company donated 30 conference chairs for the training room as per our request. Another sponsor provided us with a hospital type breast pump free of charge for three years. The opening of the rooms was celebrated on Women’s Day (8 March) 2018, a very special day for all of us.


Both, the NICU staff and mothers are very happy to have such a nice and efficient unit. Two mothers can stay there overnight if needed. The room contains a small kitchen as well. Others have an opportunity to wait in the lounge and pump milk. When they take their babies for doctor’s medical check after discharge from the NICU, they have a special room to wait or breastfeed them.

On the level of difficulty, this project gets a 7 from 10. The hardest part was to find a sponsor. If you have enough funds, it is not that hard. The second difficult part was to start a renovation in an operating unit. Trying not to disturb anyone around and completing the project on time are quite challenging aspects in the phase of planning and implementation.

Duration of the implementation

The longest stage was preparing the project and finding funds. Visiting companies, trying to convince them about the project took three months. After that, it took only three weeks to complete the whole project.

Special thanks to
Ilknur Okay
El Bebek Gül Bebek