After your baby's arrival, some family members and friends will rally to support you. They will know how to tune in to your needs and provide immense comfort. You will value having these people in your life.
Unfortunately, others may be flooded with fear or feel too uncomfortable to face you. Or they may repeatedly say the wrong things. While most people mean well, not everyone will know how to support you. To guide family and friends, you can try the following:
If you are not getting enough support from those close to you, find other sources of support among extended family and friends, other NICU parents or professional counselors. Rely on people you can count on.
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.
See also: Share your story
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.
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.