7 Tips To Really Help A NICU Parent Stay Strong (#3 and #7 Are Essential)

Being a NICU parent, when your baby is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), it can be an incredibly tough time with so much uncertainty and worry. Dave and I always said one day in the NICU is long enough! The stress of not knowing what’s going to happen can take an emotional toll and make you feel like you’re barely holding it together. You are not alone! Supporting your little one through this difficult period is hard work, but it can also give rise to a strength within yourself that you never knew was possible.

Nobody expects parenting in the NICU to be perfect — just strong enough to get through this overwhelming experience and come out on the other side ready to love your child unconditionally. I’m empowering NICU parents to help you stay strong during these tough times and have compiled a list of 7 essential tips that really helped my husband and I stay positive and keep our minds right when our girls were in the NICU for almost 5 months.

Advocate for your baby.

It is important to speak up for your baby. You know your baby better than anyone else. If you see something that bothers you, say something.

For example, both our twin girls had bad emesis episodes (meaning vomiting or big spit-ups) if they were not held up after bottle feeding. We had to advocate for them to make sure they were being held up after feeds.

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Determine who your core group of supporters are.


Who are the people that support you? These people could be family, friends, or even people you know. These are the people that you can trust and who will help you no matter what. My sister was this person for me. Her son (my amazing nephew, Lenny) was born early at 28 weeks. He was in the NICU for 7 months. The highs and lows I witnessed my sister and brother-in-law experience with Lenny rocked me to the core. She was a HUGE support for Dave and me during our NICU journey.

Then, my husband Dave decided to join several Facebook support groups. He wanted to be a part of these groups to see success stories and ask questions about what we were going through. That really helped him feel better during our time in the NICU. No matter your situation, it’s important to have people you can rely on for support.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions!


Don’t be afraid to ask questions when your baby is in the NICU! Even if you don’t understand the answer, ask again until you do.

Dave and I asked A TON of questions when our girls were in the NICU. He was better about it than me about gaining clarification when we didn’t understand things.

Let’s be real, doctors and nurses do their jobs day in and day out speaking in medical jargon with one another. It is hard at times to understand what they are saying when it comes to explaining how they are caring for your baby. I’m here to tell you it’s OK to not understand everything. It’s even more OK to keep asking the questions.

Join a NICU Parent Facebook support group.

Being a NICU parent can be an emotionally and physically draining experience. It is often difficult to cope and feel like you are not alone. Joining a Facebook support group specifically for NICU parents can provide a sense of solidarity and community as you navigate your stressful journey.

At least that’s what it did for us. Especially for my husband, it really helped him find advice on the daily struggles we faced with our girls being in the NICU.

Here are a few of the most active Facebook groups to support NICU parents:

Support groups can be a great way to ask and answer questions, respond to concerns, exchange advice, or just simply know that there are other parents out there in the same position you are. It will also give you an outlet to express your feelings and find support.

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Listen to an uplifting audiobook.


NICU life is a trying experience so it’s important to put positive things into your mind during that time. Audiobooks are a great tool you can readily listen to while driving in the car or while you get ready in the morning.

There are thousands of books to choose from, so finding something that resonates with you won’t be difficult. If you’re in need of some ideas, consider looking into these amazing reads:

Each of these audiobooks offers helpful advice and guidance on how to maintain a positive and healthy mindset during your emotional journey.

Listen to a feel-good podcast.

If you need a great way to destress and ease anxiety, a podcast can really help!

One in particular that offers a welcome dose of optimism and encouragement is the Feel Good Effect by Robyn Conley Downs. This podcast goes beyond stories into actionable advice on how to rise above challenges and create lasting change in your life. In each episode, the host explores well-being, growth, and transformation through interviews with experts. The upbeat conversations are motivating and provide advice on personal care practices to help nurture your physical and mental strength.

Another great podcast worth checking out is Empowering NICU Parents. It is gaining popularity because it provides parents and caregivers encouraging conversations about their journey as a NICU parent. Especially, when it comes to specific things to expect in the NICU, common “lingo” used, tangible tips to guide, educate, empower, and support you through your baby’s NICU journey and once they are home.

No matter what, feel-good podcasts offer an optimistic perspective that are sure to lift your spirits and remind you that you are not alone.

Protect Your Mindset


I can’t stress this one enough…protecting your mindset is so darn important during your time in the NICU. As a preemie parent, you are automtically thrown into a stressful environment with long days and nights filled with emotional ups and downs.

When your mind is in the gutters of negativity it affects your mood, attitude, and health which pours into your daily activities and interactions with others. On the flip side, when you are uplifted and feel inspired you carry that high vibe energy throughout your day that positively impacts those around you, especially your little warrior.

It’s important to remember that your mental health and wellbeing has a direct impact on not only you but your baby as well. When maternal interaction with her infant is disrupted through depression, anxiety, or stress, infants are at greater risk for cognitive and behavioral problems. So it is vital to protect your mindset during this journey by moderating negativity, making time for self-care, and allowing yourself to experience all the joys along with the hardships.

Video: From one NICU parent to another, you got this! You are meant to receive this message today.


To Wrap It Up


No doubt about it, parenting a baby in the NICU can be one of the hardest things you’ll go through, but just know it will give you strength and make you resilient. Despite all of the stress, uncertainty and worry you may feel, don’t forget that you are not alone!

Now that you know the 7 essential tips to really help you stay strong as a NICU parent, I have every confidence that you will carry them into your journey ahead.

No matter what challenges lay ahead on your NICU journey, together we are strong and will go on together. Be brave and stay positive because YOU got this!

Until the next post, I’m sending you all the positive parenting vibes!

With Gratitude,

Linds

What other tips really helped you as a NICU parent? I’d love to hear from you! If you have anything to share, let me know in the comments below. As NICU parents, we could all use a little help along the way.🙂

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Thank You


You made my day being here today; thank you!

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About The Author


Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation (a 510c3 that helps children with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive). ♥

lindsey

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The contents of the Mono Mono Twins Site, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the Mono Mono Twins Site (“Content”), are for informational purposes only. The Content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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