Having a newborn baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be stressful and present challenges. There are many resources available to help you during your NICU journey.
The NICU Navigator Program at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns offers a connection with an experienced parent who has been through the NICU experience before and can support, comfort and guide you during this challenging time.
Also offered by the NICU Navigator Program is Parent Hour. Parent Hour is a 60-minute NICU informational session that empowers parents to become more knowledgeable about their premature infants and gives them specific ways to be active in the care of their child. Additional NICU support groups include Scrapbooking and Mothers' Milk Club.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the best things you can do for your baby is to take care of yourself (body, mind and spirit) by doing your best to balance between the NICU and your home.
- Know that it is OK to leave your baby with the NICU team in order to take time for yourself. You can always call the NICU for updates. It is also important that you set time aside to be with your partner, and keep in mind that everyone handles stress differently.
- Finances can cause a lot of stress. Keep your finances simple by using online resources to make bills and payments easy.
- Keep your communication with family and friends simple by choosing a spokesperson to relay information about your NICU baby. Social media sites are wonderful tools to keep friends and family updated.
- If you have other children it is important to pay attention to them and keep to a normal routine. Talking to them about their NICU sibling at their age and developmental level is encouraged.
- While your baby is in the NICU keep your focus on the present. Set limits and prioritize. Allow others to help you and know that saying "no" is OK.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a "perceived threat" (real or imagined) that affects one's mental, emotional, physical or spiritual well being. There is good stress versus bad stress, and acute stress versus chronic stress. Adaptation is the No. 1 skill with which to cope with the stress of life.
The Cushman Wellness Center at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion offers a variety of services to NICU families. These services include breathing, body movement, acupuncture, massage, guided imagery, music, reflexology, aromatherapy and good nutrition, all of which help with coping. Some examples of services provided include:
- In integrated guided imagery one must gain information about a symptom, illness or behavior and use intention and imagination to explore images and resources and manifest creative solutions.
- Acupuncture involves gentle insertion of fine needles at specific points to unblock and rebalance energy flow. The goal is to relieve pain, strengthen the immune system, promote health and healing and unblock and rebalance the flow of Chi.
- Massage services will nurture you, ease your emotional stress, release tense muscles and improve circulation.
- Reflexology applies pressure to reflex areas on the feet to increase circulation and optimize healthy function in corresponding organs and glands.
The Cushman Wellness Center welcomes NICU families to call today to enjoy a relaxing self-care experience at 858-939-5040.
For More Information About the NICU Navigator Program
To learn more or to request support from a NICU Navigator, please call 858-939-4802.