10 Ways To Help A New NICU Parent

Becoming a new parent is a life changing time your life. Chances are you will be sleep deprived, unwashed and in need of desperate need of a homemade lasagne.

There are many things you can do to help a new parent. But when a new parent is facing the emotional rollercoaster of the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit how can you help?

You may feel you don’t even know where to start or how to approach a new NICU parent. But with 1 in 10 babies in the UK being admitted to NICU at some point you may find yourself, a friend or family member needing support whilst they undergo this journey.

It doesn’t matter if you are admitted to NICU with your baby for 2 hours, 2 days or longer than 2 months. It is a time that is fraught with worry, anxiety and fear over the health of your baby (babies).

Here is 10 ways you can help a new NICU parent (written by a parent who was a NICU parent).

 

Listen

  1. You may not know what to do or say to a new NICU parent. You may not understand the more complex nature of some medical conditions or effects of prematurity. But you can offer support, check in and always be ready with a cuppa and a listening ear.

Visiting

  1. Don’t be offended if you are unable to visit at the hospital. It is an extremely private and vulnerable time for a new family and they may not want lots of visitors. And there are normally rules associated with this too. Lots of exposure to visits may increase risk of infection.

Celebrate

  1. Help celebrate the small things. Being able to take over feeds, dress them, moving into a cot may not seem a lot in the great scheme of things but when you’re in NICU it’s these achievements that get you through. Help them celebrate and gloat for a while they’ve deserved it! It really does bring a sense if normality.

Keeping Busy

  1. Keep them busy. Chances are even if the parents have been discharged then they will still be spending considerable hours at their baby’s side each day. Help them keep busy by giving them a book, a colouring book or even your Netflix log in! Time goes very slowly. If they don’t want to leave the baby on their own but you want to help them take a break. Offer to sit with the baby while they get out of the hospital and go for a coffee or even a meal.

Home cooked meals

  1. Drop off some home cooked meals or even some packed lunches to take to the hospital. Some hospitals offer food vouchers for NICU parents but it can get expensive eating there every day. And it’s unlikely they want to cook when they get home drop them off a food parcel to help them out.

Running the house

6.Help out with the running of day to day life. Cat need feeding? Dog needs walking? Washing or shopping that you could do? It will relieve the stress of the jobs that need doing back home whilst they are in the hospital.

Communication

  1. Offer to be the spokesperson to update friends and family. It can be extremely time consuming and difficult to update friends and family every day on the progress. You can take on the job so the parents are constantly having to repeat themselves and update every one.

Clothes

  1. If baby is born early chances are it was unexpected and clothes, nappies etc all need finding that actually fit. Help by finding what baby needs and that way mum and dad don’t need to be stressing. A lot of supermarkets now stock premature clothing and nappies.

Germs

  1. Be understanding of why a NICU parent may not want to see visitors straight away after they get home. And never visit if you are ill or under the weather as the risk of passing it on could be very dangerous especially during cold and flu season, they may also just want to soak up time as a family and finally be home.

Seeking help

  1. Going through NICU affects people in different ways and make sure mum and dad are doing okay. NICU is one of the most emotional and traumatic times a parent can go through and 70% will go on to develop some form of PND or PTSD. Keep an eye on them and if you believe they are struggling guide them and support them to seek some help.

This list isn’t exclusive to what can be done to help a NICU parent and it is just a few ideas to understand how you can help whilst they are in NICU.

We would love to hear how you helped a NICU parent and if we can add anything else to the list.

thanks Vicki for writing this really helpful blog !

 

check out my other blogs too!