You are discharged from the hospital, your husband pulls the car onto the hospital driveway. You get into the passenger seat and you drive away.
You’re heart breaks a little each mile you go further from the hospital.
You want to yell at your husband to turn the car around so you could run into the lobby, pass the guard, into the maternity ward, pass the nice nurses and go straight to the NICU where your newborn is residing.
These NICU tips for parents will help you while your baby is being treated in the NICU.
Having your baby in the NICU is so hard, and scary but hopefully these tips will help make things a little easier. Are you ready to connect with baby?
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Tips for NICU Parents to Handle NICU life
Do the diaper changes, feedings, swaddling and taking babies temp. This helps you bond with baby, learn to care for him and gets you ready for life at home.
If your nurses and doctors say it is okay for you to do those things, do them.
(If baby is to tiny, or can’t be out of an incubator, give it time!)
Nurses give the most secure swaddles, ask them to teach you and become a master of this newborn craft.
2. Visit Baby In The NICU
If you can’t make it every three hours ITS OK. The nurses are their to help. Baby will be feed, changed and taken care of.
Make sure to let the nurses know when you will be coming, just so they can let you be hands on when you get there.
The first time we went to the NICU (after being discharged) I took a bottle of expressed milk that I had just pumped. The nurse didn’t know we were going and had already fed baby formula.
To avoid mistakes let the staff know you will be coming during baby’s next feeding.
3. Utilize the hospitals services
The Social Workers – will help you if you need things like W.I.C, insurance questions, money to pay the hospital bills
Lactation Consultant- can help get a good latch, give breastfeeding tips, help if you are pumping during baby’s NICU stay
Marriage Counselors– having a sick baby can put a lot of stress on your relationship, see if your hospital offers marriage counseling and actually utilize them.
The Church – some hospitals have a small chapel where you can go and pray or do any spiritual healing that can help you
4. Connect With Baby
Sing, talk and touch baby if you are allowed too. Hold them close when you do a feeding. (bottle of breast – it doesn’t matter)
Another way to feel connected to baby is to read them books while they are in the NICU.
It’s difficult expressing your feelings while your baby is the NICU and it could be hard to talk to your baby when all you want to do is cry. That is reading to them gives you a way to talk and soothe baby while distracting your mind with the words on the page.
5. Breastfeeding & Pumping In The NICU
If you are able to breastfeed your child while he is in the NICU do so, the nurses will help accommodate you.
If you cannot breastfeed baby that is ok, you can always pump and store your supply at the NICU.
6. Postpartum Depression & The NICU
It is okay to cry in the NICU, no one is judging you. I couldn’t help but cry EVERY SINGLE time we went to visit baby (which was every 3 hours).
You will cry and feel an emotional mess , you may want to hold it in and hope no one notices.
Other parents will relate to you and you can always use the friendly faces for support as well.
7. Communication With Nurses
They are always busy but they will stop and help you if you ask them questions. They want the best for your little one too.
They become your babies second parents when you are going home because (you just had a baby) you need rest and sleep and showers. The nurses will be the ones caring and checking on your baby.
If you are wondering how your baby is doing, if you don’t understand something the Doctor told you. Or you feel lost and want to vent.
Nurses are your go to people. They are heaven sent angels that want to help, and will help.
*also shout out the nurses at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital – I’ll never forget you guys*
8. Take Pictures Of Your NICU Baby
Even if baby has tubes and IV’s and it hurts to look at them, take the picture. When I look at pictures from my sons first few weeks of life, it makes me sad and happy. Sad that he went through intensive care, and happy that he overcame his illness. I’m so glad I have these images. You will be happy too.
Get the babies isolate, the blanket, the doors going into the NICU. These are great to have and look back on.
9. Snacks on Snacks
Make sure you stock up on snacks before the baby is born that way if your little one is the NICU you can easily grab a bag of snacks and take them with you. This works just as well even if your baby doesn’t go to the NICU.
Having snacks on hand after delivery is like a new mom survival rule!
Some great idea for snacks after birth are
- dried fruits,
- fresh fruit
- sweet potato fries
- oatmeal cookies
- lactation cookies.
I know these are not the snacks you had in mind but your milk supply correlates with what you eat!
10. Take Important Visitors
Grandma wants to meet little baby too. This is especially hard because you don’t want guest to make baby worse, or to give you unsolicited advice, but sometimes it is so nice to have a familiar face come with you and see baby.
Not only will this help you. YOU need to create a support system!
Only take a few people, those that you care and care for you dearly. This is your baby and you have to do what is in there best interest.
I hope you will be able to use some of these tips while your little one gets better in the NICU.
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Tips for having your baby in the NICU
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