Monday, February 11, 2008

Knowing Your Baby

When your baby is in the NICU it is sometimes hard to feel connected to him/her. You can't be there the whole time so it's hard to truly feel like you are thier parent or primary caregiver........but you are. Believe it or not, parents still know thier baby the best even if they can only visit once a day. Although nurses may do more of the day to day things (especially in the beginning), you are the most consistent person that takes care of your baby. That also means that you will get to know your baby the best and you can use that knowledge to help take care of your baby. Here are some examples:

1) Reactions - Babies will often react to certain things in certain, predictable ways. If your baby always cries when there are loud noises, likes to be held a certain way or always quiets down when you start up the mobile - let the nurses know. If a new nurse is taking care of your baby, he or she may not know that vital information. This information will also help you when you transition your baby home.

2) Feeding - When you are able to participate in feedings, you will notice certain cues that your baby has. Maybe your baby seems to do better when he/she is laying on their side (or not). If you go to fast he/she may desat or have trouble swallowing.

3) Specific Requests - If you do or do not want nurses to do something than leave a note to let them know. For example, if you don't want your baby to be given a pacifier - let them know. If you have made a tape of yourself reading stories to your baby and want them to play it every day - let them know. If you can leave a note that is very helpful because each shift can easily see it.

Of course on the flip side of this, be open to the advice of those in the NICU. The nurses, PT, OT or any other specialists may have recommendations for you and your baby. Some will work and some may not but the more open and accepting you are to this information, the more information you will go home with.

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