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Coping While Your Baby is in the NICU

Browse through the shelves and aisles of any bookstore and you’ll find plenty of literature on pregnancy, parenting, and what to expect from your new baby. There’s no shortage of advice on how to prepare and plan for your new baby. But, unfortunately, there are some situations that baby books can’t prepare you for. For parents of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, this feeling is all too familiar.

“Although there’s always a chance that a baby might spend some time in the NICU, it’s not something that parents want to think about during the pregnancy. When you’re faced with the reality of a premature baby, there’s no ‘right way’ to handle it or to cope with those feelings,” says Glenn Kaplan, MD, Director of Neonatology Services for Main Line Health.

Every parent will handle a NICU experience differently, but below, Dr. Kaplan offers tips for how to cope if your baby is born premature and spending time in the NICU.

Establish a routine. Spending time with your baby will seem like the most important thing to you during this time. Your baby needs you, but don’t forget to spend some time alone, with a partner, or your other children. Take time to do some of the activities you enjoy between visits to the hospital.

Keep a journal. Use a journal as an outlet for your feelings during this time. Record all of your emotions—disappointment, sadness, success—and allow yourself time to explore those feelings. A journal can also help keep a record of how far your baby has come during their time in the NICU.

Accept support. During this time, you’ll receive support from family members, friends, other NICU parents, and others who are aware of your story. Accept support from them and understand that, no matter how they express their support, they have the very best intentions. To talk to parents who can relate, ask the NICU staff whom you can contact for support.

Give yourself permission to feel overwhelmed. Understandably, this will be a time when you’re feeling a variety of emotions. Don’t be afraid to let yourself cry or be upset. Allow yourself to feel these emotions.

Talk about it. You and your partner may experience different emotions over your premature baby, but don’t be afraid to have an honest conversation about your feelings. Remember not to judge the other person’s feelings, and share your experiences to have a better understanding of the reasons behind these emotions.

If you are a parent in the middle of a difficult pregnancy or who has a baby in the NICU, the Main Line Health Parents Advisory Network (PAN) can help. PAN is committed to providing encouragement and hope to mothers with babies in the NICU.

 
Posted by Main Line Health on 3/18/2013 9:08:35 AM
Read more articles about: Maternity, Pediatrics, Glenn_Kaplan_MD

Coping While Your Baby is in the NICU

Browse through the shelves and aisles of any bookstore and you’ll find plenty of literature on pregnancy, parenting, and what to expect from your new baby. There’s no shortage of advice on how to prepare and plan for your new baby. But, unfortunately, there are some situations that baby books can’t prepare you for. For parents of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, this feeling is all too familiar.

“Although there’s always a chance that a baby might spend some time in the NICU, it’s not something that parents want to think about during the pregnancy. When you’re faced with the reality of a premature baby, there’s no ‘right way’ to handle it or to cope with those feelings,” says Glenn Kaplan, MD, Director of Neonatology Services for Main Line Health.

Every parent will handle a NICU experience differently, but below, Dr. Kaplan offers tips for how to cope if your baby is born premature and spending time in the NICU.

Establish a routine. Spending time with your baby will seem like the most important thing to you during this time. Your baby needs you, but don’t forget to spend some time alone, with a partner, or your other children. Take time to do some of the activities you enjoy between visits to the hospital.

Keep a journal. Use a journal as an outlet for your feelings during this time. Record all of your emotions—disappointment, sadness, success—and allow yourself time to explore those feelings. A journal can also help keep a record of how far your baby has come during their time in the NICU.

Accept support. During this time, you’ll receive support from family members, friends, other NICU parents, and others who are aware of your story. Accept support from them and understand that, no matter how they express their support, they have the very best intentions. To talk to parents who can relate, ask the NICU staff whom you can contact for support.

Give yourself permission to feel overwhelmed. Understandably, this will be a time when you’re feeling a variety of emotions. Don’t be afraid to let yourself cry or be upset. Allow yourself to feel these emotions.

Talk about it. You and your partner may experience different emotions over your premature baby, but don’t be afraid to have an honest conversation about your feelings. Remember not to judge the other person’s feelings, and share your experiences to have a better understanding of the reasons behind these emotions.

If you are a parent in the middle of a difficult pregnancy or who has a baby in the NICU, the Main Line Health Parents Advisory Network (PAN) can help. PAN is committed to providing encouragement and hope to mothers with babies in the NICU.

 
Posted by Main Line Health on 3/18/2013 9:08:35 AM
Read more articles about: Maternity, Pediatrics, Glenn_Kaplan_MD
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