Tips for NICU Parents
Texas Children’s offers more than 55 years of experience in providing support for the families of critically ill infants. Our staff offers the following tips for parents who may face a NICU experience.
Participate in your baby’s care
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 Newborn Center encourages you to participate in your baby's care, even if he or she is critically ill.
Bond with your baby
At Texas Children’s Newborn Center, we encourage parents to create emotional bonds with their babies by touching and holding them as soon as the baby is able. 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 Newborn Center offers “family ambassadors” that are matched with parents of babies currently experiencing similar medical challenges. Ask your care team to be matched with a family who can share their NICU journey.
Ask for help
Feel free to talk openly about your emotions with your baby’s NICU doctors, nurses and social workers. This 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 Newborn Center, 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.