Family and friends always want to know how new babies are doing. The information requests can start to multiply by a 100 when your baby is in the NICU. One of the best ways to keep everyone updated is to create a family blog or website. There are many services out there today that make it fun and easy. Your family will enjoy reading about your little miracle and you won’t have to repeat yourself as many times (a win win!). I’ve created a list of popular sites that are available as well as some tips for good things to include in your blog.
1) Regular Updates. Once you start your blog, try and update it on at least a semi-regular basis. You could update daily, weekly or whatever works for you. If you get yourself on a schedule it will be much easier to stick to it when things get busy or stressful. You can add a reminder to your calendar or even create a post-it on your computer. Whatever works best for you.
2) Information Please. When your baby is in the NICU you are constantly faced with new information which can often be complicated or hard to understand. Trying to write about it and explain in to others is even more of a challenge. Or you may also get to the point where there isn’t as much new to report so you run out of things to talk about. Here are some basic things to report:
General comments - how is your baby doing, feeling, etc.
Weight. How much do they weigh today. Did your baby gain or lose.
New milestones. Report when your baby started eating from a bottle, you changed his/her diaper for the first time, you held him/her, gave him/her a bath, etc. Not only is it good stuff for others to read, it allows serves as a great reminder for you in the months that follow.
New or changed diagnosis – If they have changed or discovered something new about your baby you can talk about it.
3) The Whole Family – Even though you might have created a blog because of your baby in the NICU, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the rest of the family. Tell people what your other kids are doing or what you guys are doing. They will want to know that as well.
4) Keep it simple – As I’ve said before, things in the NICU can get complex. For people who aren’t there every day, it can be even harder to understand. Try and keep things as simple as possible – explain acronoyms, tell them what specific doctors do (i.e. a pulminologist is a lung doctor), why certain things are or are not happening, etc.
5) Photos – Don’t forget to add photos of your baby. Provide details of what’s in the picture or when it was taken. And again, don’t forget about the rest of the family.
Here is a list of blog and website services to get you started:
Caringbridge – this site is specifically designed for people who have someone in the family with critical health issues
Blogger – a service from Google that offers a variety of templates
Myfamily– a website service for families
Wordpress – a free blog service that also offers optional paid options
Birthvillage – offers baby journal and online baby announcements
Typepad – blogs start at $4.95 a month
Babyjellybeans – family website/blog starts at $8.95 a month
Familysays – private family website starts at $5 a month