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21 March 17

As a new mother, the experience of giving birth to your first child is more than just magical. The desire to hold your newborn in your arms and take him home as soon as possible, is natural. Which is why, admitting him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)is understandably intimidating.

We’ve jotted down what you should know about the NICU – just to ease your fears and address your queries.

What is this place?

NICU is an intensive care unit with special equipment and a staff(includinga neonatal intensive care doctor, respiratory therapist, social worker, child life specialist and nurse) trained to take care of sick new born babies who require special attention.

Why does my baby need to be observed?

Your new born could need special care and intensive observation due to the following reasons:

  • He is born premature
  • Your baby is small for date and needs observation
  • Has respiratory distress ( difficulty in breathing )
  • Due to complications that arose during delivery
  • He is born with a serious sickness that needs immediate attention – such as convulsions
  • Your baby has very high level of jaundice.
  • Your baby has a severe infection
  • Your baby has a surgical problem

Who takes care of my baby?

Leave your worries at the door, when it comes to taking care of your little one, the NICU comprises only the best doctors and nurses. Along with modern equipment to cater to your baby’s every need, the staff is taught how to:

  • Work with premature babies
  • Resuscitate newborns
  • Operate the complex equipment, machines and monitors

What do I do after overcoming the overwhelming fear?

Stay calm. Once you’re past taking in all the beeping machines, you will realise that besides technology and a highly trained and caring staff, what the baby needs is his parent’s warmth.

  • Breast milk:
    As a young, new mother it may worry you but remember, your baby needs you. As a premature baby’s system is not properly developed for direct feeding, his mother’s pumped breast milk (fed through a tube) will provide the perfect nutrition.
  • Kangaroo care:
    Handling such a tiny infant will be tedious for the father as well. You both must start with gentle contact through Kangaroo Care.
    It is a process where parents establish initiating skin-to-skin contact with their newborn. Fathers place the baby on their bare chest while mothers place the baby between their breasts, with a blanket covering the little one from the back.

Besides establishing a lasting bond between parent and child, its benefits are:

  • Regulation of your baby’s heart and breathing rates and body temperature
  • Increase in weight
  • Keeping the baby calm
  • Aiding with deeper sleep

What not to do?

  • Try not to make a noise or bang things on the isolette or infant warmer
  • Avoid talking in a loud voice
  • Keep the isolette sheltered from bright lights. Make sure the lights are always dim

Just remember to keep yourself together and work as the doctor guides you – and everything will turn out fine!