We asked members of our online communities to share their advice for new NICU parents and they came through with so much great advice, we couldn’t possibly include them all here. Here are some of the highlights parents want you to know about life in the neonatal intensive care unit. Visit our Facebook or Instagram posts to read more.
If I could tell a new NICU parent one thing it would be…
Spend a few minutes each day taking care of yourself. This is so important and I know some days so hard to do. – Suzy K.
Take one day at a time – as each day comes to an end, another mountain had been climbed! – Christie B.
Hold and talk to your baby as much as you can! – Carli B.
It’s so scary to be apart from your baby during those days, but the nurses and doctors caring for your little one are the best possible hands for your child to be in. Trust them and don’t be afraid to ask every question you want. They are there for you. – @tenesseetexan
Help as much as you can! We were able to do bath time , diaper changes, temp checking and getting him dressed. It was great to be able to do those things and not feel like someone else was always in charge. – Alexandra C.
You are your child’s voice. Be their advocate. – Maj I.
Keep a journal! It will help you keep track of how your baby is doing and the milestones you both achieve. I look back on mine and it’s really his “baby book”. The first time I held him, the first diaper I changed, the first time I fed him, and bathed him…it’s as precious to me as the pictures I have. @sisterfriendup
Be there as much as you can. Hold your baby. Don’t be afraid of them. Remember this is a short time compared to the rest of their life ahead. Talk about your concerns and fears. – Mandie M.
You WILL get through this! There is light at the end of the tunnel!! The NICU life is a marathon, not a sprint. – Jamie B.
Get hand or foot prints when safe. You can’t believe how tiny they are, and then… they aren’t. They do grow so fast. – Lindsey Z.
Accept help when offered. – Debbie M.
When NICU support reaches out to you during your stay, grab it!! I said no because I didn’t want to admit the reality of my situation. Take the help from those that have been there! – Alicia T.
Make sure to take care of yourself. Go home, shower, eat and know it’s okay to stay the night in your own bed. I didn’t stay over night and was worried that I would be judged as a bad mom for not staying, but that’s what kept me sane and kept some normalcy at home. – Chelsea M.
Breathe. Get some fresh air. Eat real food not just vending machine junk. Pump pump pump build that stockpile of milk. Get some rest even if it’s a cat nap in the chair beside their station. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Stick to the schedule once home, it makes life easier. – Christina M.
Take pictures and read book/tell stories often! They hear you! – Amy P.
Live in the now. Embrace the milestones. Leah K.