When having a baby words like NICU tend to skip your mind. Whether or not you are having the picture perfect pregnancy or not your baby may need NICU care. What NICU stands for is Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; this is a special care nursery that can care for babies as young as 24 weeks. They also take care of babies who are born full term who are sick. I am NICU Mom and Aunt, I had a full term baby who needed NICU care. I also had a niece who was born at 28 weeks. Having a baby in the NICU is scary and stressful, Here are a few tips to make the NICU a less scary place.
Step One: Meeting your Neonatologist and Nurses
Your baby Doctor and Nurses will be your baby’s life line while in the NICU. They are there to help, Feel free to ask any question regarding your baby’s health and care. No question is too big or too small. A neonatologist is a doctor who specializes in neonatology or infant care. They are will the one to take over big care of your baby. They are very well trained to take care of your baby and will be there to help your baby. Making friends with the nurses can set you at a huge advantage when it comes to your baby’s care. They will be the ones to keep you up to date with your baby’s. Asking the nurses how you can help care for your baby is a great way to stay involved with your babies care.
Step Two: Taking Care of your baby and you
In the first few hours days or even weeks you may or may not be able to touch your baby in case it may cause too much stimulation for your baby. You can still bring pictures of yourself to have taped inside your baby’s isolate or bring taped recordings of your voice to play to your baby. Once the time does arrive that you are able to hold your baby take full advantage, your baby may still be hooked up to wires and it may be scary but it will make you and your baby feel better to be together. After months of being together this closeness will make you bond with your baby quicker. Having someone there to help you out will be only to your benefit. Having them get you something to eat or just to talk too will be of a great help. One essential that will help your baby grown and thrive is to provide your breast milk. Even if you are not choosing to breastfeed this is still an option that will help you baby, as breast milk has essential immunities that will help your baby. Your NICU staff will even provide you with a breast pump materials and let you either use or rent a hospital grade pump to save your “liquid gold’ or colostrum for your baby.
Bringing a change of clothes for your baby can be a great way to bond with your baby. If your baby is a preemie, there are a lot of clothing stores that are now having more preemie sized clothing more widely available.
Being in the NICU during diaper changes or bath time can be a great way to help you feel like you can help your baby in some way. Nurses will always be there to help and guide you on how to change your baby.
One way to help comfort your baby when you cannot is to bring in a soft toy or lovey. One great item that I found to be a complete necessity in the NICU was a stuffed toy with a pacifier called a Wubbanub. They come in different animals and even a princess; you will find they are a life saver even away from the NICU.
Step Three: Life after the NICU
When your baby is well enough to leave the NICU and travel home with you will be a very special time. First you will need to do a car seat study to make sure your baby can handle to twenty or thirty minute ride home. After you baby has passed the test you are ready to bring your baby home. This can be the most exciting and stressful time in any parents life. Bring a baby that was either a preemie or sick may even seem scary, As you are leaving the comforts of the NICU and the security of having nurses around 24/7 to make sure nothing goes wrong with your baby. Having your baby home will be a great comfort to you. No more trips to the NICU, Being able to pick your baby up anytime you want. Just getting to be the Mom and Dad you always dreamed.
After all the day to day excitement of the NICU, Just being home will seem like a dream come true. So sit back, relax and enjoy your new little one.