Tips for NICU Parents

Supporting your family throughout your NICU journey

Texas Children’s has decades of experience providing support to families of critically ill infants, so we’re well-versed in helping families dealing with the challenges of a NICU experience. If you have a child or loved one in the NICU, use these tips for coping.

Participate in your baby’s care

Don’t be afraid to participate in your baby’s care while in the NICU. Simple tasks like feeding or changing a diaper are as important for your baby as they are for you. The NICU team at Texas Children’s encourages you to participate in your baby's care, even if your baby is critically ill.

Bond with your baby

We encourage parents to create emotional bonds with their babies by touching and holding them as soon as possible. Parent–infant bonding through activities such as kangaroo care (skin-to-skin holding), learning a baby’s emotional cues, creating a scrapbook and providing breast milk helps create a positive emotional attachment. We also encourage parents to participate in routine care such as feeding, changing diapers and bathing the baby.

Talk to others

Talk to other NICU families and to parents of NICU graduates. It can provide immense comfort. Texas Children’s offers family ambassadors who are matched with parents of babies currently experiencing similar medical challenges. Ask your care team to be matched with a family who can share the NICU journey with you.

Ask for help when you need it

Feel free to talk openly about your emotions with your baby’s NICU doctors, nurses and social workers. Your baby’s care team may be able to recommend programs and support groups to help you cope with the experience of having a baby in the NICU.

At Texas Children’s, on-staff child life specialists and social workers help parents and siblings through this difficult time. They also may be able to provide a referral to a mental health specialist.

Plan for the future

Transitioning from life in the NICU to life at home is often when parents struggle the most. By planning ahead, you can ease some of the stress that comes with the transition. The first step is to identify a medical team close to home that will be able to care for your baby after you leave the hospital.

Texas Children’s NICUs

Texas Children’s NICUs are renowned for their advanced medical care for babies and compassionate services for families.