Few things can be as hard as having your baby in the NICU, if this is your case, please find some tips that helped through the process:
1. Keep in mind it is temporary
It doesn’t matter for how long your baby has been at the hospital, if its days, weeks or months it is helpful keeping in mind that it will not be forever. The day use to be exhausting due to continuous stress and the uncertainty that represents the health of our children, however knowing it is a period of time will give you strength to live this process intensely. It is temporary, it will remain in the past, patience is very much needed.
2. There is no other better place
I understand the urge to take him home but remember that in this very moment of his life there is no better place, not even your home, where your baby is better attended and taken care of. The constant and effective attention your child is receiving will result positively in his health until they determine you can go home. Meanwhile, you can use your time to recover from delivery, organizing and preparing his room, catch up at work and other ways to make the most of your time.
3. Center your attention in your baby
It may be challenging as your baby is surrounded by all kinds of monitors and devices with alert sounds. There was a moment I realized my attention was focused on understanding these devices and looking at the curves and graphics in the monitors than really being with my daughter. While you are in there try to focus on your baby by being present knowing each other and sharing as much as possible. Doctors and nurses will do what needed and you as his mother make him feel your love.
4. Give him strength and security
The love you feel for your baby will fill you with the strength you need to be there and cheer him up, to infuse security with your voice and touch, singing or holding him in your arms. It doesn’t matter how adverse his health situation is or the illness your baby has, you are his official cheerleader, his loving angel that will never abandon him and that will be there in every moment of his history. Be present, talk to him even when it’s hard, he needs the sound of your voice and to feel your warmth and energy. Trust he feels you because you are as united as when he was in your belly, trust he listens and knows you love him. Make each visit count.
5. Celebrate every little victory
If his blood analysis improved, celebrate. If his suction improved, celebrate. If he is coming out of an infection, celebrate. Each positive change regardless how tiny it may seem it represents for you and your family a huge victory. It is good to celebrate because in the end you are all a team that works together to go home as soon as possible, so cheer up and appreciate every little achievement because your baby is fighting at every minute. There is nothing wrong on rejoicing, don’t be afraid of celebrating. When my daughter turned two months old while in the NICU it was a big celebration, her nurses beautifully decorated her cradle and we brought some cake for all. Adapting and flowing because there is joy even in the hardest times.
6. Continue with your life
When your baby remains in the hospital for a long period of time it becomes necessary for you to continue with your activities without feeling guilt. It won’t be easy but it will be good for you, you’ll be fresh and ready for visits, you’ll distract your mind and rest for it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself as well. Eat well, get organized and work, do some exercise, share with your family or friends, watch tv o a series. You are doing nothing wrong, thinking you are failing is a useless and noxious idea. Where possible try to go on, sooner or later you will bring your baby home.
7. Be grateful
I have always admired the noble and tireless labor of the nurses and doctors that attend our loved ones. The tender way they talk to our baby, the care they provide, how much they get to know them, how they bathe and lull them, every little thing they do with love and dedication until you can do it yourself. We share with them hoys and sadness, we become family. I remember the day when my daughter left the NICU, it was a joyful day for everyone. Amid presents, photos, hugs, crying, joy, I discovered that more than nurses and doctors they we angels with medical gowns.
You are not the only mother facing the challenge that the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit represents, so live it with your face up accepting the experience you are being given. Your baby needs you strong and positive, put your grain of sand which is vital because the love of a mother is the best medicine.