Remind yourself that all parents feel anxious or insecure. Whether or not this is your first baby, having a baby in the NICU is scary.
Be patient with yourself if you feel hesitant, nervous or awkward. Nobody expects you to be comfortable right away. Give yourself the time you need to learn this new environment and your new baby.
Become an informed parent. The more you know about your baby’s medical condition, the more you can do to look out for your baby. Ask questions. Sometimes it helps to write them down as you think of them so you can ask them later. Types of questions to ask include:
As a parent, you are beginning a new relationship. You are creating a new and special attachment by getting to know your special newborn. A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can make this more difficult. You have to put forth more effort and find special ways to be a family. This section is made to help you understand your baby’s special characteristics. By watching your baby closely, you can understand how your baby is reacting to surroundings and what he is saying.
These are signs your baby gives you to let you know he is ready to interact with you. He will be quiet and in an alert state. His face will be relaxed, and his eyes will appear bright. Your baby will be able to look at you and focus on your face. His lips may “purse” as if he were saying “ooh.” Your baby’s arms and legs will be relaxed, and the fingers and toes may curl softly. At this time, your baby may bring their hands to her face.
Your baby also has the ability to calm himself. Your baby will look away if he needs to give himself a break. He will wiggle to get tucked into a fetal position. He will snuggle himself against blanket rolls, the sides or bottom of the bed. Babies suck on their lips, tongue, pacifier, hands or fingers. They might also bring their hands to the center of their body or to their face, as if it looks like they are thinking.
Ways you can help your baby grow and develop:
Time-out signals are signs that your baby has had enough and needs a break. There are a lot of ways babies tell us they need a time-out, such as yawns, hiccups, gagging and spitting up. His fingers may stiffen and straighten; if he is not given a break here, he will stiffen his arm out as if to say “stop.” His arms and legs will be stiff, and he may show jerky movements or startles.