If your newborn is placed into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), it can be a frightening and emotional experience. It isn't easy having your newborn child out of your hands and in the care of strangers. Be sure you consult the NICU Survival Guide.
There are some primary things you should know right from the start. Plenty of other moms have had NICU experiences?, so you are not alone. You have certain parental rights in the NICU?, and you should not be shy about insisting on getting them. A big issue many moms encounter is issues related to breastfeeding in the NICU?, which is even more crucial with premature babies?.
Here is what to expect in the NICU:
- You will spend most of your time encountering NICU nurses?. They are key to a good or bad experience, so nurture those relationships as much as possible.
- There will be NICU milestones your baby must reach before being released from the NICU. Ask what those are right from the start, and that will help you when it seems there is no end in sight to the NICU stay. When you ask how your baby is doing, ask about those milestones.
- You will have others asking to visit your baby in the NICU. Outside of immediate family, don't be afraid to tell people to wait until the baby returns home or stabilizes.
- Do what you can to feel some semblance of control over the situation. NICU staffs usually let parents bring in small stuffed animals, blankets, pictures and other items to personalize things.