Understanding your feelings

The NICU is a very foreign and highly technical environment. Make use of the support available from doctors, nurses and social workers and help familiarise yourself with the machines, terminology and procedures so that you feel part of the team caring for your baby.

Many neonatal units run parent groups where you can meet with other families and share your experiences. You may find it helps you feel less isolated and more supported in your journey.

A common concern shared by many parents is feeling distant from their child and worried that they may not be able to bond with their baby. This is normal, but know that your presence is vital to your child’s health and development. Your unique smell, the sound of your voice and your touch are all comforting to your baby and will ease their stress while in the NICU.

You may find it helpful to think about other times in your life when you experienced a crisis or felt overwhelmed, and consider the different things you did to cope, such as talking to loved ones and friends, getting advice from others in the same situation, reaching out to professionals, writing your feelings down, and educating yourself by researching and gathering information.

As the weeks progress, the NICU will become more familiar, your baby’s condition will begin to improve and you will have more opportunities to feel closer to your baby. Having a kangaroo cuddle, bathing or establishing feeding are all ways that allow you to parent your baby and establish a bond that will continue to blossom.

"I saw the SCN prior to having Jackson, but the first time seeing him in there as one of the babies admitted was so overwhelming and surreal. I just wanted to hold him all day long. Seeing the other mums going back to their rooms with their babies was heartbreaking."

– Amy, mum to Jackson born at 34+4 weeks

 

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