Thursday, February 14, 2008

Other families

Having a baby in the NICU can create a very special bond between families who otherwise might never have met. It can be really nice to have someone else to talk to, share moments with, celebrate milestones, and worry together and have them truly understand what you're going through. Even though a NICU is very open, it is often hard to foster those relationships with other families.

Here are some suggestions to help find connections within the NICU:

1. Eye contact and a smile - just like in regular life, sometimes that is all it takes to get a conversation started.
2. The sign-in desk, family waiting room, and the wash sink are easy places to start a conversation because you can speak openly. Introduce yourself and tell them who your baby is.
3. Information - since families often visit at different times and babies get moved around frequently, give people that you meet your contact information or blog address. That way you can stay in touch easily.
4. Support groups - most NICUs have support groups. This is a great way to meet other families and share information about your baby and learn from others.

As nice as it is to meet other families, please keep these things in mind:

1) Every family is different - some families are only able to focus on their baby so they may not be ready to start a relationship with other families. Don't take it as a slight against you - they are just in a different place.
2) Babies face different challenges - Your baby may be doing really well while another baby is struggling. Even though a baby may look okay, they may be facing health issues that make it difficult for families to reach out to others.

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