Those who have been through the NICU are uniquely equipped to provide advice and encouragement to others on the NICU journey. We asked our community to share their pieces of advice for NICU parents. Here’s what they had to say.
Take it day by day. Enjoy the little accomplishments. Don’t dwell over the bad. There are always good things that happen within time. – Alexandra E., TX, mom to 23 weeker
Accept the help someone is offering. And it’s okay to not be okay. – Bailey B., TX, mom to 26 weeker
Make yourself a priority! This is a marathon of caring not only for you new little one but also yourself. We have so much to grief after having a NICU baby. We need to remember this. – Heather G., TX
Absolutely no one is prepared for NICU life. There is no guidebook or expected way to handle this. You’re going to have thoughts and feelings that you may not understand or know how to process. And that is ok!! You’re allowed to fall apart! – Ashley O., FL, mom to 24 weeker
Enjoy the positive moments. Not every day is a good day. There are days you will leave crying and your heart will be breaking. You will feel helpless, lost and lose focus of the good things.
Find one good thing to take from each day. You can always find a positive milestone for the day. It can be something as small as he gained weight or as big as they took their first bottle or breastfed or came off oxygen. Every day these little babies show us how strong they are and how they are fighting so incredibly hard for the day they can come home with you. – Hailey C., FL, mom to 26 week twins
Your baby is unique and very resilient. Do not fall into the blackhole that is the internet. Just because one baby is progressing more rapidly than yours doesn’t mean your baby is behind. Being a preemie is hard work for them. – Selena Z., WA, mom to 27 weeker
It’s okay to mourn the labor and postpartum experience you didn’t get to have. And it’s normal to want your baby(ies) out of the NICU and home ASAP, but the NICU is the best place for your little one(s) until they’re ready to come home. They will be released when they’re ready, not a moment sooner or later, and you’ll have plenty of sleepless nights at home full of tears & snuggles like any other parent. – Monique W., TX, mom to 31 week twins
Take time for self care. You have to take care of you so you can take care of your child. – Lindsey P., TX, mom to 30 weeker
Seek out a support group or support system outside of your family. Family is great, but they have no idea what you’re going through. Get a mentor or graduate parent or neighbors in the NICU to be friends with. – Stephanie R., TX, mom to 24 weeker
Don’t rush it. I know you want your baby home and to be home. The nurses and doctors know what is best for your baby and want to do everything to get them healthy. Know you are not alone. There is a whole community out there of people who have been through what you are going through. – Ali W., KS, mom to 30 weeker
For support in the NICU and beyond, download the Hand to Hold app and join our community, a safe and inviting environment to connect with Hand to Hold Family Support Specialists and other NICU parents to find support whenever and wherever you need it. Learn more.