Your baby is in stress due to an illness and that’s the time he/she needs you the most. Don’t let the NICU keep you away from interacting with your baby. Bonding with a baby in the NICU is as important as bonding with any newborn. You simply have to learn the best ways to do it.
The mother is allowed any time for an unlimited time in most of the units. Ask the NICU nurse for recliners or cots. Depending on how sick your child is, you might be able to hold you little one even if he or she is on ventilator or has an IV line. If the doctor feels that it would be too much for your baby, you can still hold his/her hand, stroke his/her heels and talk to him/her. A motherly touch will be most reassuring. If the doctor allows, you should breastfeed or bottle feed your baby at bedside.
Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is another wonderful and medically approved way of bonding with your baby. It will minimize your baby’s stay away from you. While staying with your baby in the NICU, you should be able to learn their behavioural cues. Always keep in mind your baby needs a quiet good sleep for his/her development, so make it easy for him/her.
Making NICU stay more manageable
The time when your baby is in the NICU can be stressful – you may be away from your friends and family, including any other children you may have. You might feel confused and overwhelmed if your baby was unexpectedly born prematurely and /or if the NICU is located far away from your home.
As hard as it may be sometimes, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and those of the rest of family, particularly other kids. Make plans for a weekly family activity, and sit down together and sit down together and talk about how this experience makes you feel. Doing something for yourself can be as simple as taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk or reading a favourite book.
Your baby’s NICU stay can be difficult, but also rewarding as it is blissful to watch your little one grow and progress day after day.