Taking Care of You

Taking Care of You

  • We know having a baby in the NICU is a very stressful time for parents. The best way for you to be able to look after your baby is to make sure you are looking after yourself.
  • Common responses and emotions to having a baby in the NICU can include: feeling helpless, feeling guilty for having the baby early, fear of the unknown and feeling frustrated that you are separated from your baby. It is important to note that fathers may have many of the same feelings about having a baby in the NICU, but they may react differently.
  • Ask about anything you are unsure of.
  • Make sure to take time for yourself. You need to take breaks for eating, drinking and resting to stay healthy.
    Self Care at a Glance
  • Form a daily routine that works for you. Keeping organized helps to decrease stress. This also helps to balance home life, hospital time and self-care.
  • Find time in your day to get some exercise. This could be a short walk with the dog or doing some stretches. The most important thing to know is exercise helps to increase your endorphins which helps you feel better.
  • Talk with your health care provider early if you have persistent sadness, crying, inability to sleep or continued worrying.
  • Limit screen time (television, cell phone) especially before sleep time
  • Practice mindfulness. Once a day, take 10 minutes and just concentrate on your breathing or a meditation activity. It is important to take time for personal care. Whether it is a hot shower, reading a book, an afternoon nap or a massage. Take time to meet whatever needs are important to YOU. Stepping away from the bedside is not a luxury but a necessity.
  • Try to connect with other NICU families. Other families can be a big support, knowing you are not the only one going through this experience. For online parent support please see the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation website.
  • Know that this time in the NICU is only temporary. Most families will be taking their baby home to continue their journey together.