Having a baby in the NICU is always hard. I know first-hand how difficult it can be to make the most of having your baby in the NICU, but multiple doctors commented on how well I handled it, so I wanted to share my tips on it.

  • Stay busy: This should be pretty easy, at least in the beginning, between paperwork and visiting your baby, but staying busy helps time fly by, making it feel like you’ll take your baby home sooner.
  • Talk about and process it: Don’t keep your feelings to yourself! Talk about how you’re feeling, whether it’s with a friend, family member, doctor or therapist. This will help you process what you’ve been through and understand your emotions.
  • Prepare: I bet you spent time during pregnancy prepping your home for your baby, but now you have bonus time! Use it for last minute things you might not have done like opening a pack of wipes, plugging in the wipe warmer, and picking out the perfect sized baby clothes.
  • Focus on the positive: You can focus on how well your baby is being taken care of and that you both made it through pregnancy and birth together.
Remember how amazing you did growing him/her and bringing him/her into the world.
  • Have a sense of humor: Don’t be afraid to laugh. Our baby would suck really loudly on a pacifier (it could be heard across the room), and we laughed about it. Laughter does great things for your soul and emotional state.
  • Find things to look forward to: Obviously the top of this list is taking your baby home, and I’m sure during pregnancy you came up with a million things you can’t wait to do with your baby. Focus on these things again, like going on walks together in the sunshine, to help remind yourself that the NICU is not forever.
  • Heal and rest: The NICU is basically a hotel for your baby where he/she is being well taken care of. Take advantage of it while you can (and when you most need it while recovering from birth)! One nurse told me that no one will think I’m slacking/a bad mom if I don’t visit my son everyday; I ended up visiting him everyday but it was nice to hear that I didn’t need to if I didn’t feel up to it.
  • Learn how to pump: Breastfeeding and pumping are difficult and hard work. Use your “free” time now to start to get the hang of pumping. Plus, then you have breast milk to give your baby even while he/she is in the NICU!
  • Take all the free samples: I loved stocking up on all the freebies from the NICU- nipples, bottles, pump parts, Lanolin cream, etc. They even let us take my son’s favorite pacifier and pacifier pal home!

Having a baby in the NICU can be upsetting and difficult, but I hope you can make the most of it with these tips!

Did I forget something? Feel free to share your NICU tips with other moms in the comments!