In the NICU After Birth? These Resources Can Help
September is Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Awareness Month. Families do not plan or expect to end up in the NICU with their baby, but premature births, or medical conditions at birth, mean that a baby will need specialized care for a period of time that could be just a few hours after birth or extend many months, until a baby is healthy enough to go home.
Having a newborn in the NICU and recovering from giving birth and attempting to initiate and protect milk production all at the same time compounds stress, emotional and physical recovery, and financial concerns that many families already struggle with.
If you find yourself with a new baby weeks or months before expected, and possibly before any childbirth classes were completed, or alternatively, leaving the hospital while your newborn remains in, we want to help by providing supportive resources for a NICU stay. The resources listed below, collated by , may be very useful:
- Created by a NICU RN, this site strives to empower the ICU parent with an online forum as well as provides information and resources to parents and family members
- Free patient websites that allows parents to keep family updated during a serious health event
- Common reasons for a NICU stay, conditions, what causes them, how they're diagnosed, and how they're treated
- When a baby is in the NICU
- For when a baby is born with a health problem
- The Parent to Parent section was created for Share Your Story community members to ask questions, raise concerns, and lend some advice about parenting a premature baby, a baby with a birth defect or talk about issues pertaining to pregnancy and infant loss.
- A helpful article that gives tips on photographing a child in the NICU.
- An organization that is dedicated to helping people suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression, the most common complication of childbirth.
- A foundation that provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.
(Levine Children's Hospital) - a supportive and useful journal to help a family organize information during their baby's NICU stay.
- Provides the latest up-to-date information and free resources for families in danger and at risk.
- Their vision is a world where no parent goes through the experience of prematurity alone.
- Carter's Cause is on a mission to provide resources and support to parents living the NICU journey, parents grieving from infant loss, as well as the family and friends who form their support group.
- Mighty Little Giants (MLG), a National 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advocates through providing support, education and hope for parents experiencing pre-term deliveries resulting in long-term stays in the hospitals’ NICU.
- NICU Helping Hands provides parent support and education for families before, during and after a NICU stay and in the event of an infant death.
- Provides comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications.
- Support for military families with special needs family members is provided through the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).
- specializing in developmentally supportive care and Kangaroo Mother Care for all babies, especially those that born prematurely or with medical issues.
- providing educational resources and support to caregivers and parents of premature infants.
- created to help bridge the gap between parent and professional in the NICU, at home and beyond.
Be sure to also connect with the NICU social worker, who can be a remarkable asset during a very stressful time. Many NICUs also hold peer-to-peer support meetings, where families can connect with others going through similar experiences.
About Sharon Muza
Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, LCE, has been an active perinatal professional since 2004, teaching Lamaze classes to thousands of families and doula-ing in Seattle, WA. Sharon is also a trainer of new birth doulas and childbirth educators. She blogs professionally on perinatal topics and is the community manager for , Lamaze International’s perinatal professional blog. Sharon enjoys facilitating discussion around best practice, current research and its practical application to maternal infant health and community standards. She also loves creating and delivering engaging and interactive learning sessions both in person and online. You can learn more about Sharon, on her website, .