Going home without baby

Parents instinctively want to nurture and protect their baby and being separated while their baby is in NICU can be a painful experience. When a mother is discharged from the hospital without her baby, most describe it as one of the hardest and most emotional days of their entire NICU journey.

Many have envisioned leaving hospital with a healthy baby, full of excitement for the future. Most are completely unprepared for the onslaught of emotions that surface when leaving the hospital with empty arms.

Walking into your house can feel strange and the first night at home can bring lots of tears and sadness. An empty nursery with new clothes and toys is another solemn reminder that your journey has taken an unexpected path.

Tips for coping with separation from your baby:

  • Acknowledge your baby’s birth by sending out birth announcements or placing an announcement in the paper.
  • Take photographs and start an album or a baby book.
  • Journal through your thoughts and feelings to record your baby’s progress.
  • Ask your baby’s nurse if you can take something home with your baby’s scent on it.
  • Express breast milk; it can help you to feel close to your baby when you are away from them.
  • Call the hospital at any time of day or night to check on your baby’s progress.
  • Record yourself reading a book and leave it in the NICU for your baby to listen to when you are not there.
  • Visit the hospital as often as you can.

The most important thing is to do whatever feels right for you.

Back to Top