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Nurses Give Advice to Parents with an Infant in the NICU


Giving birth can be one of the most beautiful experiences in a person’s life, but it can also be one of the most traumatic. According to NPR, every year more than 300,000 U.S. families have infants who require specialized care in the NICU. This can be a stressful time for the parents who usually want nothing more than to take their child home. The experience can also lead to exorbitant medical bills, trapping new families in debt. Even those who lose children in the NICU can get stuck with a bill for millions of dollars. This only compounds the grief of losing a child.

Nurses play a crucial role in helping parents through what can be a difficult journey. That’s why we asked thousands of providers to share their advice for parents going through this experience, and here’s what they said:

It’s the hardest journey you will ever go through but there is an end to the road. There will be good days and bad days just take it as it comes.


Make sure to take care of yourself through this too. You need your rest to keep up your strength. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for little keepsakes. I always try to offer little things like a blood pressure cuff, their first pacifier, if the baby is a preemie, I offer a diaper in the first size they wore. We have tiny crochet hats that are donated, and I also make sure to find one that would fit baby when they are first born.


As much as you want to be there day and night, give yourselves a break. Let the nurses take the nights and know your baby is exactly where they need to be to get home as quickly as they can!


My daughter was born at 29 weeks and weighed 3 lbs. so I get anxiety and fear. My advice is to take lots of pics so you can show your child how far he or she has come when they get older.


When it feels like progress is slow, look at where the baby was a week ago and then you can see the improvements.


The baby sets the pace and tells us when it is time to go home. Some babies fly through the milestones and others linger.


Let the baby rest. Refrain from stimulating him or her with voice or touch.


Make sure you ask for help if you need it. My twins were in the NICU for 25 days and I was overwhelmed. Make sure you rest, step out as much as you need, and take breaks.


Make friends with other NICU parents because they know what you are going through. Take each day as it comes because the preemie can be super sick one day and be perfect the next. They are very resilient. You are not alone. ❤️


Then again…

Don’t bond with the other parents. Believe me. Cordial at best. Attachment during this vulnerable time could be detrimental if one of your families has a setback. Focus on your baby. It’s a lot.


Make sure to get your three meals in. Take the time to shower every day. Take care of your needs. Don’t try to do it all on your own. When someone offers any help, take them up on it.


Keep a diary of everything.


Skin to skin as much as tolerated! We saw such a positive difference with my grandson when my daughter started asking to do skin to skin rather than waiting for it to be offered.


There are things beyond anyone’s control and the only true Boss is the BABY. The best thing you can do is make the most of bonding even in the hospital. Celebrate those milestones, the first skin to skin, the first bottle feeding, first time out in the crib, etc. Document those memories so you can look back and see the progress no matter how small or big they are. 👩‍🍼💕


Whilst your time in NICU may feel like an eternity, it really is just one small chapter of your adventures as a parent. Be kind to yourself and trust those mothering instincts.


Thank you to everyone who shared their advice online. Responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

Responses were not edited for punctuation or grammar to preserve the emotional response.


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