Having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be an anxiety-inducing and exhausting experience for families, but there are things parents can do to help navigate the experience and ease some of the stress of the situation. Families should familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures of the hospital, including visitation rules and safety measures.
Talking with The Bump, Pradeep N. Mally, MD, director of the Division of Neonatology at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, recommends that families participate in patient rounds. “It really helps parents emotionally so they don’t feel helpless.”
Another pro tip? Depending on your baby’s condition, you can still partake in skin-to-skin care, which has benefits for your child’s health and wellness. “As soon as we think the patient is stable enough—even if they’re on a ventilator—we encourage skin-to-skin care, for both Mom and Dad,” Dr. Mally says.
Parents should also make sure to take advantage of hospital resources to learn about their baby’s condition, receive support with breastfeeding, or access parent support groups.
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