Our friend Carrie submitted some tips & encouragement for parents of NICU babies. Her baby boy, Eli, is home safe and healthy now but Carrie's NICU journey was long and challenging, especially because it began just as Covid 19 began to overwhelm the nation. We wanted to publicly share Carrie's words in case you or someone you love finds yourself in a similar position to her. You are not alone and we wish you, your baby, and your entire family the very best.
With so much love, The Very Good Mothers Club
My son was born at 28 weeks and we spent 16 weeks in the NICU. Some of those days were really dark and some full of light. If you are going through this time, know it's ok to not be ok. Reach out if you are feeling down, there are lots of resources and the hospital usually provides a lot of those. The NICU floor usually has support groups available for moms. There are also online groups if meeting in person is not an option right now. I found it was really meaningful to connect with other parents who are going through similarly sensitive experiences.
Be as involved as you can with your baby. Help with diaper changes, feeds, baths and snuggle as much as you can. This will help you bond with your baby and it just feels nice to take care of them in the few ways that you are actually able to.
Remind yourself often that this is temporary and it is just a small part of your child's story. Our babies are in the NICU to get healthy and well. It is okay and SO normal to miss them, but the positive self talk really helps. If you need meals, your house cleaned, gift cards, gas cards, gifts for baby just reach out to loved ones. Ask for help! A lot of people will reach out to you in this time, but know it's also okay to ask for help. You are going through a lot and most of your time will be spent at the hospital so a lot of other things get put on the back burner (like cooking and cleaning). Lastly make sure you still have some time for yourself. You need to take care of yourself too even though you are only thinking about your baby. Leave the hospital for a while and go get some coffee, tea or food. Go on a walk and unwind. Take naps when you can. Your health is so important during this time and your baby needs you to stay healthy for them too.