Survival Tips

Take one day at a time. Parents often describe their baby's hospital stay as a roller coaster with many ups and downs. It's normal for babies to have good days and bad days. Knowing this in advance can sometimes help. 

Having a baby in the NICU is very stressful. Parents often have many different feelings including shock, disbelief, anger, guilt and depression. Please speak with our counselor if you're struggling with these or other emotions. 

Mom and dad may not feel the same emotions at the same times. This can be difficult for the other parent to understand. It helps to remember this is a stressful time for both of you. 

Seek support from your friends and loved ones. Have lunch with a friend who’s a good listener, or speak with a social worker. When friends and family offer to help, accept it. A warm meal or help with your other children may make a difficult day a little easier. 

Take care of your spiritual needs, too. Hospital chaplains and a chapel are available 24 hours a day. The chapel is located on the first floor of the main hospital building, near the Gift Shop and north entrance of Cox Medical Center South. 

Be involved with your baby's care. If you want more information on your baby's medical problems, ask your nurse. Our staff can help you find information in a language that's easy for you to understand. 

Consider what your other children may be feeling. Take time to do something that they enjoy. Remind them that you have enough love for everyone. Encourage them to make pictures, write letters and if possible visit your baby so they feel involved. 

Take care of yourself. Eat well and get as much rest as possible. Your baby needs you to be healthy. 

It can be difficult to keep your family and friends up-to-date on your baby's progress. Let others help you. Try calling just one person who can update everyone for you. Don't feel guilty using your voicemail or caller ID to screen your calls. 

Create a CaringBridge page for your baby. This is a free service that allows you to easily share medical progress, photos and updates about your child, and allows guests to lend words of support to your family.

Take a lot of pictures. Keep them at your baby's bedside to capture all those "cute" moments. If you’re having problems catching your baby’s eyes open, try turning off the overhead light. Shielding your baby's eyes might help, too. 

Some parents like to keep mementos to remind them of how small their baby was. You might want a hospital bracelet, hat or blood pressure cuff. Ask the nurse to save these for you when your baby finishes using them. 

Make your baby's room feel like home. Bring in a family picture and a picture of the baby's room at home to place near the bed, where your baby can see it. Drawings from siblings or cousins can brighten things up. 

Recognize that you have gained a new appreciation for life. You may be able to see many miracles all around you that some people take for granted. 

If you're concerned or worried about your baby, talk to your baby's nurse. Anytime you have a question, whether you are in the NICU or away, just ask or call. Sometimes it helps to just talk about it.