Published October 7, 2019
When a newborn must spend time in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, better known as the NICU, it can be stressful and worrisome for the new parents.
The mother wants to bond with her baby, but is limited or left without an opportunity to do so. Although there are obvious advantages to having a preemie remain in the hospital with 24/7 care, some new moms discover there are surprising advantages for them as well.
Well Known Advantages of a NICU Experience
When a baby is born preterm, they no longer have the benefit of the mother’s womb to sustain them. They must breathe on their own, their digestive system must begin to work, their little hearts must beat and circulate blood, plus multiple other life giving systems are required to function properly.
The advanced technology found in the NICU can provide all the specialized care these infants need for however long they need it. Whether the reasoning is due to low birth weight, being born before 37 weeks, or some other health condition that requires special care, the NICU is the very best place for these infants.
Now the Surprising Advantages of a NICU Experience
When a child is admitted to the NICU, it can be frightening, yes, but it also has some unexpected benefits as well.
Time for Mom to Care for Herself
After what might have been a stressful and difficult birth, and all the discussions with the doctor about why the infant is best kept in the NICU, the mother has a chance to go home at night and rest. Knowing her baby is in the best hands, she can relax maybe for the first time in months.
In addition, siblings will get some alone time with mom before the new baby is brought home. It can be a celebratory time to prepare for the new arrival.
New Moms Have Access to Other Services
A NICU offers new mothers many services including breastfeeding tips. Consultants explain the importance of skin to skin contact immediately after birth to stimulate milk production, whereas exhaustion can hinder milk production.
NICU Time Is Helpful for Siblings
Many small children are wary of this new member of the family. This extra time, no matter how short, gives them an opportunity to become acquainted with their new brother or sister. Many facilities have 24 hour cameras so the family can look in on the new arrival from home. This helps to make siblings feel more a part of this big life event once the baby is released.
The NICU Provides Structured Care
During the infant’s stay in the NICU, they are on a regulated feeding and sleeping schedule. When they come home from the hospital, that schedule is in place, making the adjustment for everyone a little easier.
Parents Know Their Little One Is Getting the Very Best Care
The NICU is comprised of specialized caregivers for whatever the infant may need. This care is 24/7 with every specialist checking on your baby around the clock. For example, pediatric ophthalmologists examine the babies in the NICU because a preterm birth can lead to vision problems. There are dietitians, physical therapists, and so many more trained professionals available to tend to your baby’s needs.
A NICU stay can provide special care for your infant as well as some surprising advantages. Talk with Downriver Obstetrics & Gynecology about whether your own newborn may need to be admitted to the NICU, and what you can do during pregnancy to prevent a preterm birth.
As always, if you have any further questions, please call (734) 671-2110 today!