Having a baby is a momentous occasion but when your infant has to be admitted to the Neonatal Unit, it can be a very distressing time for all.
While you will understandably be worried and anxious, it is important to know that the doctors and nurses are doing their upmost to care for your newborn.
If your little one has been admitted, the following will hopefully offer you some form of comfort.
1. Understanding yhy your baby has been admitted
There are a number of reasons why a baby is admitted to the Neonatal Unit. The most common are pre-term, term babies who need support and babies born with abnormalities. Depending on the condition, your baby will be closely monitored or given special treatment.
2. How to cope with your feelings
You are going to be feeling a whole host of various emotions but it is important you acknowledge and recognise them. Talk to others who have been in a similar situation and never hide emotions for fear of upsetting anyone.
3. How can you help?
If your baby is very unwell, doctors may suggest you don’t hold or stimulate your youngster. However, the sound of your voice and gentle touching can help both of you. As your little one gets stronger you may be able to hold them. Ask your midwife if you can get involved with their daily care like nappy changing but, if not, know that just by being there you are helping out.
4. How to include other family members
While your main concern is obviously your baby, brothers, sisters and grandparents can be affected by your little one’s admittance. However, while most wards don’t allow anyone other than the mother or father into the unit, you can still help them feel involved. Take photos of Baby and bring them home, ask family to draw pictures which you can hang up around the cot or incubator and talk about your little one with them.
5. Make sure you wash your hands
Hand washing is one of the most important things you need to do before you enter the unit, even if you can’t touch your baby. Your hands are full of germs that normally don’t cause any problems but can be serious if brought into the Neonatal Unit. You will also need to use alcohol gel before and after you touch your baby.