Having a baby in the NICU is hard work; having a baby in the NICU during COVID is unimaginable.
I am a 2x NICU mom and a recent COVID NICU mom. And I want to help all NICU moms during this extremely difficult time by providing a few tips to make your experience a little easier.
1. Visitation Rules
The visitation policy currently has a lot of changes which can sometimes become quite frustrating. When calling to check on baby, occasionally ask about visitor updates and changes.These changes can also be found on the hospitals website.
2. Phone Calls
Never feel as though you are calling too much or bothering the nurse; remember, this is your baby and you have every right to know everything that is going on and has changed. Also try asking the nurse to call you for any big changes.
3. Doctor Rounds
If and when possible, attempt to be present while the doctor is rounding. This is a specific time in the day when doctors walk around to discuss each baby's condition and care plan. Ask a nurse when rounds will take place.
4. Participate With Baby's Care
Ask your nurse can you help.Depending on your baby's condition, you may be able to change diapers, check temperature, and help bathe him/her.Also, mention skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care.This allows you to hold baby directly to your chest without a shirt.
5. Breast pumping
If you are eligible for WIC, you can receive a free pump rental while your little one is in the NICU. Otherwise, you can ask the hospital about renting a hospital grade pump. These specific pumps are great for helping your milk production. Try buying a pumping bra as soon as possible so you can pump hands free. Also, be sure to ask about pumping at your baby's bedside.
6. Join a NICU Group
There are hundreds of NICU mom groups to join on Facebook and other websites. Reading about other moms stories and sharing your own can be very helpful.Try it out for yourself and see how it makes you feel.
Curtneka Tinson was born and raised in Marrero, LA. She is a married NICU Mom of two kids currently residing in Marrero, LA. She has experienced Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) and an incompetent cervix. Curtneka is Black New Orleans current board treasurer.