Posts Tagged ‘NICU Family Support’

The NICU–what you need to know

Friday, November 21st, 2014

in-the-NICU_jpg_rdax_50Having a baby admitted to the NICU can be frightening and confusing. There is a lot of information to learn and understand very quickly. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. But understanding what is going on and knowing what to expect can help lessen anxiety and make you feel more confident about being a parent in the NICU. We have many resources available online that can help you.

As you probably learned very quickly, the NICU is a busy place. The babies need 24-hour care from a number of different medical professional. Here’s a list of NICU staff and what they do. Some or all of these people may be part of the NICU team at your hospital.

There are a number of conditions that babies may develop while they are in the NICU. It is important to know that every baby is different, and your little one may not have any of these complications or may have only one or two. However, here you can read an overview of some common conditions that may be treated in the NICU. If you have more specific questions about a certain medical condition, please email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org and we will do our best to get you the information you need.

One of the most intimidating factors of the NICU can be seeing all the different machines that are hooked up to your baby. Here is a guide to some of the common equipment you see in the NICU. Once you understand the purpose of the machines, what they are doing, and how they are helping your baby, you may feel a little more comfortable. You can also read our post about understanding your preemie’s cues, to help you better understand her expressions and reactions.

You have probably already realized that there are many tests your baby will have while she is in the NICU. Blood draws, ultrasounds, eye exams, and weight checks…there is a lot to keep track of during her stay. These tests help diagnose any problems and help determine how they should be treated. They also help to monitor your baby’s progress. If you have any questions about what tests are being done, or the results of any testing, make sure you talk to your baby’s doctor or NICU nurse.

Our NICU Family Support Program offers comfort and materials to NICU families during their baby’s stay. The March of Dimes currently partners with over 120 hospitals in the US. You can ask the head nurse of your NICU whether your hospital is a NICU Family Support Partner.

Finally, one of the most important resources that you can access is Share Your Story.  Reaching out to other parents who understand exactly what you are going through can be very helpful. Giving and receiving comfort, support, and advice can help you to stay positive during your baby’s time in the NICU.

Helping you on a local level

Friday, September 20th, 2013

moms-to-be2Working with our partners, the March of Dimes strives to develop and implement local programs that will ultimately improve the health of babies. Through our network of chapters and volunteers, these programs reach over a million people across the country and Puerto Rico each year. We provide information and services designed to prevent premature birth and birth defects and to promote healthy pregnancies.

Community grants are awarded annually to fund the best programs. Local programs like Centering Pregnancy®, group prenatal care, are focused on improving the availability and quality of health care. We also support services that help promote the health and well-being of women and couples before pregnancy to increase their chances of having a healthy baby. Other programs educate doctors and nurses about reducing the rates of elective labor inductions and c-sections before the 39th week of pregnancy.

Through NICU Family Support®, we provide information and comfort to families coping with the experience of having a baby in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). NICU Family Support complements and enhances family-centered care practices in partner hospitals, addresses the needs of families and provides professional development to NICU staff.

And the staff in our Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center answers your health related questions that come in on our News Moms Need blog, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Share Your Story community and direct emails sent to Askus@marchofdimes.org. We’re here to help.

Helping moms and babies across the country

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Working with our partners, the March of Dimes strives to develop and implement local programs that will ultimately improve the health of babies. Through our network of chapters and volunteers, these programs reach over a million people across the country and Puerto Rico each year. We provide information and services designed to prevent premature birth and birth defects and to promote healthy pregnancies.

Community grants are awarded annually to fund the best programs. Local programs like Centering Pregnancy®, group prenatal care, are focused on improving the availability and quality of health care. We also support services that help promote the health and well-being of women and couples before pregnancy to increase their chances of having a healthy baby. Other programs educate doctors and nurses about reducing the rates of elective labor inductions and c-sections before the 39th week of pregnancy.

Through NICU Family Support®, we provide information and comfort to families coping with the experience of having a baby in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). NICU Family Support complements and enhances family-centered care practices in partner hospitals, addresses the needs of families and provides professional development to NICU staff.

Contact your local chapter of the March of Dimes to find out how we’re helping moms in your community.

Read to your baby in the NICU

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

preemieOur Director of NICU Family Support shares a story about the power of reading to your baby, even if he is in a neonatal intensive care unit.

While working in the NICU, I had the privilege of knowing one particular family whose baby was born at twenty-eight weeks gestation.  This little boy was going through a particularly vulnerable and fragile time and staff had requested that handling be kept to a minimum.  Until he stabilized, his anxious parents were asked not to hold him.  Despite this distressing limitation, the baby’s father, an intense and intellectual man, found his own way to get close to his beloved son.  Early each morning before his job, this father would come in and tuck himself behind his growing son’s incubator.  And in deep, hushed tones, staff and families would hear this dad reading “The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin” to his baby boy through the incubator’s porthole window.

As staff, we began to depend on this father’s soothing voice of care in the early mornings.  Families approached me and asked me if I had books for them to read to their children.  I had an idea.  Inspired by this very father, I created the Bedside Reading Program, a rolling cart of children’s books in various languages, so that every family could read to their babies at the bedside.  It would be a way to bond, to parent and to get close despite all the barriers of the NICU.  The NICU became a library, where every parent was reading to his or her baby.

Recently I was able to get together with the family who inspired this program.  And today that little boy is eight years old and is reading to his father.

Now, through a generous in-kind sponsorship by Scholastic, Inc., we have a March of Dimes Bedside Reading Program in sixty-one of our March of Dimes NICU Family Support sites nationwide, at least one per state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.  In addition, enough books have been donated to provide Sibling Lending Libraries in the NICU and a book gift to every family at the end of their baby’s hospitalization.

If you would like to donate to the Bedside Reading Program or get involved with NICU Family Support in your state, please contact your local chapter of the March of Dimes. No matter how old your baby is, read to him often to help him develop. Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your child.