Expert NICU Tips: Navigating the Journey with Your Newborn
2023/08/25

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Having a baby in the NICU is a heart-wrenching and exhausting experience that no familyanticipates when they discover they have a little one on the way. Typical expectations andmilestones must change, but we have the expertise to help you navigate your baby's NICU stayand the physical and emotional stress that can come with it.

We will learn to reframe expectations.

Typical firsts and baby milestones will look different. The first feeding might be a bottle, or it might be through a feeding tube. And sometimes, when they're very premature, it might be a drop of milk swabbed around inside the baby's mouth. The first time you hold them might be skin to skin on your chest or your hands through the holes of the isolette gently containing their head and feet. Then there's being able to breathe without an endotracheal tube or nasal cannula, moving from an isolette to a crib, removing a feeding tube and taking every feed from a bottle, gaining an ounce, and so many more firsts.

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These early milestones may look different than expected, but they are exciting and powerful and deserve to be celebrated big!

Ask how you can be involved in your baby's care.

First, participate in patient rounds. Find out what time the team of providers makes rounds so you can know about everything going on with your baby, ask any questions you have, and share your concerns. Second, depending on your baby's current condition, you can participate in their physical care in many ways. Your nurses will happily educate you on feeding techniques, taking temperatures, changing diapers, and kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) while navigating all the wires, feeding tubes, monitors, and more. The NICU can feel overwhelming and like you've lost your role as the parent. Being involved in the day-to-day care and decision-making process is a way to regain control. Your baby's care team loves to see you involved and knowledgeable, and you can be a great advocate for your baby throughout their stay.

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