Parents without partners in the NICU
If you are separated, divorced, single or widowed, you may feel especially isolated without a partner to share the burdens and the joys. You may find it difficult to be the only one handling all the information and decisions. Being a single parent, you play a role that is challenging, but very important.
All parents need to seek support. When you don't have a partner, it's natural to confide in a trusted family member or friend about your fears and concerns. Reach out to those close to you for the help you need. A NICU parent support group or other NICU parents also can provide you with much needed comfort and partnership.
For more information, go to Families & Friends.
Additional information and support for families with babies in the NICU can be found at Share Your Story, the March of Dimes Web site for NICU families.
Last reviewed August 2014
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK to hold my baby in the NICU?
It depends on your baby's health overall. Some newborn intensive care units (NICUs) will encourage you to hold your baby from birth onward. Other NICUs will want you to wait until your baby's health is stable. Ask your NICU staff about its policy on kangaroo care (holding your baby on your bare chest). Kangaroo care has benefits for both you and your baby. The skin-to-skin contact is a precious way to be close to your baby. You may be afraid you'll hurt him by holding him. But you won't. Your baby knows your scent, touch and the rhythms of your speech and breathing, and he’ll enjoy feeling that closeness with you.
My baby was born full term. Why is she in the NICU?
Not all newborn intensive care unit (NICU) babies are born premature. Some babies, even those born full term, may need special care. Your baby may need to spend some time in the NICU if she had a difficult delivery, has breathing problems, has infections or has birth defects.
Most babies leave the NICU just fine. Others may need more special care once they're home.