The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is not an easy place to be in. In most cases, you will have just gone through the intense psychological pressures of the delivery room and you still need time to adjust and get your emotions in order. But your baby’s health demands that you stay at the NICU, meaning that you do not really have a choice here. The first step to surviving these difficult moments is to understand that you have to be strong for your baby. The fact that they have to be at the NICU means that they really need your support and care, and the only way you can give these is by knowing how to cope.
Look after yourself mentally and physically first
In order to take care of your baby, you need to take care of yourself. This means that you must be in the right shape both physically and psychologically. Worrying will not help your baby in any way and thus the best alternative is to steer clear of the negative thoughts and focus on taking good care of yourself. Eat well, get some rest and exercise as much as you can in order to be in good health while your baby recovers. Sticking around and worrying yourself sick will only prevent you from providing the love and support that your baby needs.
Bond with your new baby
It is rather normal to feel helpless and in some cases even confused. But your relationship with your baby really needs to be nurtured. Depending on the baby’s condition, you should be able to hold, feed or even massage them while at the NICU. Both physical and non-physical bonding at this stage will contribute significantly to the baby’s development with regards to their emotional constructions. In cases where you cannot hold the baby, you could find other ways to interact with them. You could speak to them, sing or read to them.
The point here is to interact directly with your child, and even though they may not be able to understand whatever you are doing yet, they will be feeling your presence and getting acquainted with your voice and scent.
Interact with the parents and staff at the NICU
The need for a support system has been proven time and again in almost every situation that is considerably difficult for the individual. While in the NICU, it is likely that you will be going through a lot of anxiety and confusion in some cases. The best way to enhance your coping would be to interact with the staff and the parents at the NICU. The staff will help by providing you with all the answers that you need.
This will not only ease up your anxiety, but also help in preparing you for when your baby can be discharged. The other parents on the other hand share in your concerns and you may feel better by just talking to them. You need to express your thoughts and feelings on the situation and in such a case, the best option is to interact with people who truly understand what you are going through.
Keep track of your baby and appreciate their accomplishments to stay positive
A positive mind generates positive energy, and you will need a lot of positive energy to survive the NICU. Trust your doctors to do their best, and find a way to calm your nerves. Taking note of your baby’s improvements is a good way to find that positive energy.
When your newborn needs to get brain injury treatment at an early stage in their life, it is up to you to provide all the support and care. This means that you need to be prepared for the time you will spend in the NICU. It will not be easy, but you will make it if you stay focused on helping your baby get better.