How to cope with parenting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit NICU
Prenting a baby in the NICU can be overwhelming . In most cases , you can be with your baby in the NICU most of the time. The staff will give you instructions on special hand washing techniques before you enter the area. In some cases , you may need a mask. Occasionally you may be asked to wait a few minutes when a procedure is being done or staff are making ” rounds”. The NICU allows visitation of the baby by family members . However it is a good idea to limit the number of visitors. This is because many premature babies are susceptible to infections.
Most parents find out that becoming involved in their baby’s care give them some sense of control and helps them become closer to their baby. This is also important for the baby. It makes the baby feel secured and loved. Parents are encouraged to hold and rock the baby once the baby’s condition stabilize. The NICU staff will show you how to care for your baby in different ways.
Dealing with the emotions of having your baby in the NICU
Having a child in the NICU can be overwhelming for most parents. Few parents expect pregnancy complications or their baby to be sick or premature. This can result in different emotions as you try to cope with the difficulties of having a sick baby.
Some of the common responses to the experience of having a baby in the NICU may include the following :
- Shock over unexpected birth
- Mother’s physical weakness after delivery
- Feelings of helplessness
- Disappointment over not having a healthy baby
- Fear about procedures and facts
- Separation from the baby
- Feeling of guilt over things done or not done
- Anger at self or others
- Fear about procedure and tests
- Crying, sadness or emotional upset
- Fears of the future, worries about long term outcomes
Parents respond to these feelings differently . Some express their feelings openly while others keep it inside. Some parents are hesitant to develop a relationship with the child while others delay naming the baby. It may be easier to cope with these emotions when you join support groups of parent who have been through this experience.
Parenting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)Parenting in the NICU. University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=90&contentid=P02402. Accessed November 11th, 2018
Becoming a parent in the NICU.March of Dimes. https://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/becoming-a-parent-in-the-nicu.aspx. Accessed November 11th , 2018