When you’re in the midst of your NICU journey, you may be overwhelmed with information. Doctors, nurses, family members…it seems like everyone is telling you you should be doing this or that. We’ve been there.
While you can always use our Facebook group to ask specific questions, we wanted to offer some general information all in one place on the website. That’s why we had our members offer up advice of what worked for them. We are not medical professionals, just parents who have walked in similar shoes.
The most important thing is to do what is right for you, your baby, and your family. Use the tips that work for you, and forget the others. Trust your instincts as a parent, because nobody knows your child as well as you do.
When you have a baby in the NICU…
Whether you had an idea you were going to have a preemie or it was a complete surprise, no one is ever truly prepared to face the roller coaster ride that is the NICU. You are overwhelmed at first, seeing your child hooked up to monitors, wires everywhere, not being able to touch them whenever you want. It’s not how any parents pictures their first hours and days with their newborn. It’s difficult to know what to do, how to react, where to turn to for help and advice. Friends and family who have never been through it before can’t quite relate.
Here are some common tips, gathered from our members and their experience:
- Take notes
- Be there for rounds
- Ask questions
- Take time for yourself
- Advocate for your child
- Enjoy kangaroo care. Skin to skin contact is beneficial for both you and your baby, so soak up every second!
- Be involved in your baby’s day to day care. Diaper changes, baths, and taking your baby’s temperature are all great ways to get involved and have direct contact with your little one.
When you have a baby at home…
As parents of preemies ourselves, we know that having a preemie does not end when you bring your child home from the hospital. Being a preemie is much more than being born early and being small. Besides the possibility of ongoing developmental or medical concerns, being born prematurely can cause life long issues. As a parent, you may have ongoing questions and concerns, you may be tired of hearing how small your child is, or you might be struggling with your own emotions. Here are some tips that have helped other preemie parents:
- Follow your gut. You know your child best, so do what you think is best for your baby.