What are the parent’s reactions when the baby is taken to NICU? How to handle it?
NICU stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Usually, newborn babies go to the NICU. When the mother has complications during delivery or when the baby is born premature, they tend to have many health problems and they are admitted in the NICU, where their needs are attended to, round the clock.
It is extremely painful for parents when their baby is admitted in NICU because they do not get to take their baby home and spend more time with their baby.
While some infants stay in the NICU for just a few hours or days some are kept in the NICU for weeks and even months.
Parents do get to spend some time with their babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but only for a few set hours. Not being able to see your baby whenever you want, it can be extremely painful for parents. Usually, parents go through the following:
• They are worried about their baby’s health and well being
• They feel guilty and blame themselves for their baby being in the NICU
• You cannot keep pictures of your baby with you at home.
• They feel angry and frustrated for not being able to hold their baby, whenever they want and not being able to take them home, as they must have planned before.
• They feel stressed out because of the changes, that are happening because of their baby being in the NICU. For instance, not being able to go home and take care of their other babies.
• They feel helpless for not being able to help their baby much, apart from visiting them or feeding them.
• They feel resentment towards their partner or might strain their relationship with their partner.
•Mothers especially might feel jealous of other women, who had healthy babies or who are still pregnant.
Though the NICU is a scary place with a lot of equipment and restrictions, also keeps reminding the parents that their baby is not healthy. However, parents can overcome these unpleasant feelings through simple steps and be more focused on the progress of their baby’s health.
Here are a few ways you can handle your feelings, about your baby being in the NICU:
• Take some time out: Being in the hospital for a long time can be stressful, as you are in are uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Take some time out, ask your partner, family or close friends to stay in the hospital, while you go home and get some rest or take a soothing bath. Thinking about your wellbeing is as important as taking care of your baby.
• Talk about how you feel: It is important to vent out your negative emotions like frustration, anxiety or anger. Talk to your partner, your family or your close friends and listen to what they say.
• Talk to other Parents: Parents in the NICU will also be going through all the stress and frustration. Many hospitals have support groups for parents, whose babies are in the NICU. When you talk to other parents you would not feel alone.
• Work with your partner: Your partner might be going through the same amount of pain as you are. You can feel better when you both lean on each other and cope together rather than alone. Communicating and being open about your feelings with your partner is important so that you do not strain your relationship, which would add to the stress.
Try to bond with your baby in the NICU: Try talking to your baby because your voice will be familiar to your baby and will make them feel safe. If you are not allowed to hold your baby sit close to them, the physical proximity will reduce your worry about the baby and it will be reassuring to the baby.
Being separated from your baby right after you give birth can make you feel depressed, guilty and anxious. It is important to give yourself some time to cope with the idea of your baby being in the NICU. If you feel extremely depressed and feel severe anxiety, it is important that you consult a psychologist or a therapist.