Building Confidence and Parenting Skills When Your Baby Is in the NICU
November 23, 2020
Having a child in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be a frightening or overwhelming experience for parents. As your newborn receives lifegiving support from NICU equipment and trained professionals, you may struggle to step into your role as parent or feel fearful, helpless or uncertain.
Understanding the inner workings of the NICU and connecting with the support available to families can help you gain confidence, find ways to participate and become an advocate for yourself and your baby. Learn more through the resources below.
Tips for Parents on Building Caregiving Skills With a NICU Baby
Understand your rights as the parent, including what you can ask for and expect during your baby’s stay; the NICU Baby’s Bill of Rights can be a useful resource.
Practice providing routine care for your baby, including changing clothes and giving baths; let your neonatal nurse practitioner or other provider know if and when you are ready to learn these skills.
Take care of your baby’s laundry if time allows; some parents say taking their baby’s clothes home to wash and bring back to the NICU helps them feel more involved.
Be present for feeding and bath times when possible, and collaborate with your nurse on participating.
Reach out to the lactation consultant if available at your hospital to create a plan for feeding your baby at home.
Choose the pediatrician who will help care for your baby after the NICU.
Notify your insurance provider to add your baby onto your policy.
For Our Families | Hand to Hold: A landing page of resources for families in the NICU that includes private Facebook communities, counseling services, bereavement support and information on requesting a peer mentor.
Resources at Home | Nationwide Children’s: A collection of articles on caring for your infant at home and knowing when to call a provider; topics range from burn prevention and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to fever and fussiness.
Loved ones can play an important role in helping NICU parents transition into their new roles. Read more in the resources below about supporting parents of neonatal infants during and after a NICU stay.