Finding ways to celebrate when your baby is in the NICU

Many parents expect they will deliver their baby and return home as a family a few days later. For NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) parents, your story is different. You’ll be spending plenty of time in the hospital – including times where the rest of the world (or even the rest of your family) is celebrating. There are still ways you can bond with your baby, and celebrate your child’s birth or special occasions.

NICVIEW brings families together
Because your precious newborn may not be able to be held by extended family members, at UofL Hospital, our NICU offers NICVIEW. These web cameras allow parents the opportunity to see their baby in real-time, allowing you to be there when you can’t physically be in the NICU.
We encourage our families to use this tool to help you bond with your baby. It can also help siblings connect with their new brother or sister. For breastfeeding moms, it can also help with milk production.
Extended family can also join in meeting your little one from far away (and keeping extra germs far away) by logging in to NICVIEw, if you choose to share the secure login.

Tips to celebrate from the NICU

If your baby is in the NICU during a special holiday there are small things you can do to help celebrate. While your infant may not remember their time in the NICU, you will. Ask the staff if they have any specific suggestions. Each hospital NICU has a different set of rules and they may be different depending on your baby’s particular situation.

  • Are you able to provide your baby with a special outfit to wear?
  • Can you provide a special blanket or decorate your baby’s bed to brighten your holiday visit?
  • Take photos. Gather around your baby’s bed and take photos. Have a favorite nurse or doctor? Take your baby’s photo with them. For many NICU parents, the hospital staff becomes extended family.
  • Share with your providers if there is a birthday, anniversary or holiday your family is celebrating.
  • While your baby is in the NICU, celebrate those special milestones. Don’t think about what your baby might be missing; embrace now! Your baby is a miracle and stronger than you may think.

Once your baby graduates from the NICU and gets to return home with you, don’t forget about your time in the NICU. As your child grows, maybe you can include the NICU in future celebrations. Some children will return to the meet the nurses and doctors who cared for them, sharing pictures and stories. Others find ways to help other NICU families.

The most important thing to remember is not to see holidays as one more thing you might be missing. The health and well-being of your baby is most important. Lastly, having a NICU baby shows you just how delicate life can be—find ways to celebrate the good in each day.

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About Melissa Cox

Melissa Cox is a neonatal ICU nurse at UofL Health – UofL Hospital’s Center for Women & Infants. She has been a nurse for 10 years and in the NICU for seven years. Currently, she is a bedside nurse and precepts new nurses, along with teaching newborn and prenatal classes. She received her RN at Ivy Tech in Sellersburg, Ind., and BSN from Indiana University Southeast. She also has certification in neonatal nursing (CCRN – Neonatal).

All posts by Melissa Cox