I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through the product links on this page at no extra cost to you.
Childbirth is a joyful occasion which most women look forward to. You get excited from the thought of holding your little bundle of joy, watching him or her smile, holding his or her fingers, and embracing him or her. However, everything isn’t all roses and sunshine, which is the case with premature babies. Premature babies will be kept in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit(NICU) where they’ll be monitored until they are stable enough to go home. Then, the issue of the average time parents spend with babies in NICU comes in.
Parents will want to know the time they can come into the intensive unit to care for their baby like feed, interact, and show love. Although the hospital has rules and regulations on when parents can visit, some parents still struggle with visiting and taking care of other daily activities.
However, there is no doubt NICU being imposed on parents will disrupt quite a lot of their activities. It is very important you understand what it is to be in this situation, how to care for your baby, and the average time parents spend with babies in NICU. This article will expose you to some things you need to know about Neonatal Intensive Care and how to take care of your baby until he or she is stable enough to go home.
Premature babies or preemies are born some weeks before their due date. This makes them not very stable and is prone to quite a lot of health issues. Premature babies differ in the sense that their childbirth date determines the time they’ll spend in NICU. If you give birth to your baby at 32 weeks, he or she will go home before a baby that was given birth to 26 weeks.
Also, your due date determines when your baby can go home. This means that if you give birth to your baby a week before your stipulated date, then your baby will go home before a baby that was given birth to 3 weeks before the stipulated date. All these are because premature babies face various health conditions that must be treated before they can be discharged.
Average Time Parents Spend With Babies In NICU
Being thrust into the community of NICU parents is not what most mothers envisioned when they’re about to deliver their baby. For this reason, many find it hard to cope with NICU visits and their daily activities. They get confused about the average time they’re meant to spend with their babies and how to deal with their other kids.
In addition, some even live far away from the hospital and the stress of getting into traffic every time they want to visit their baby is unnerving. The truth about the average time parents spend with babies in NICU is to strike a balance between NICU visits and other activities.
You should make sure you’re always with your baby, holding, feeding, and interacting with him or her whenever you get the chance. You can also make your husband or one of your family members visit your baby for you whenever things are a little bit tight.
With all these, you’ll realize it is important you conserve whatever little energy you have so you won’t fall apart before your kid comes home. It should be noted that the average day’s premature babies use in NICU is 13.2 days.
Also, babies that were given birth to at 32 weeks or less can spend about 46 days in NICU while babies that come at 39 to 41 weeks can leave the NICU after about 4.9 days. Knowing this, you’ll have a date to look forward to welcoming your baby to your home.
Furthermore, there is quite a lot of equipment in NICU and it is important you know their usefulness so that you won’t make mistakes while handling them during your visits. Here is some equipment found in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
- 1) Incubator – is just like a small bed where babies are kept in and their temperature is being managed.
- 2) Warmers- these are infant warmers that have an overhead heater that keeps babies warm while they’re being monitored.
- 3) Chest leads- are stickers attached to babies’ chests and have wires which them to the monitor.
Premature babies are transferred into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately after they’re born. Most parents find it hard to adjust to the fact that their baby won’t be going home after birth but have to stay for close monitoring. For this reason, they get confused about quite a lot of things which is the average time parents spend with babies in the NICU.
Tips for NICU Parents
If you are a mom with a baby in the NICU, these tips for NICU parents will help you greatly.
a. Record your baby’s development. As you sit with your baby in the NICU, ensure you keep all the records of your baby’s growth. This includes taking photos, recording videos, and keeping a diary.
b. Get extra support from family and friends as they visit you. Your friends and family members will visit you at the NICU. They can help you watch the baby while you take a walk.
c. Take short breaks. It can be tiring sitting all day in the NICU. Take time out to go for a walk to get fresh air.
d. Get books to read. Reading will take your mind off your environment. You can also read to your baby. The baby will recognize your voice with time.
What is the average NICU cost per day?
The average NICU cost per day is around $3,000. This does not include the cost of birth.
My baby is in the NICU how often should I visit?
It depends on a number of factors. One of them is the closeness of your house to the NICU. If it is not more than 30 minutes or an hour’s drive, you can attempt to stay for more hours. Secondly, if the baby is your first and you don’t have any other toddler you care for at home, you can stay for all the feedings during the day. But if you have kids at home, you will have fewer hours to spend at the NICU. So based on these factors, you can decide to spend time with the baby during the feeding hours.
Do NICU babies know their mom?
No. They don’t. But a study carried out by Dr. Amir Lahav (a neuroscientist) revealed that recordings of mothers’ voices and heartbeats help premature babies to mature faster. This is because it creates a similar experience to when the baby was in the womb, hence the response of the baby.
What to do when NICU won’t release my baby?
The truth is, NICU Doctors know what they are doing. The only thing you can do for your peace of mind is to follow them gently. Allow your baby to get better before you asked to be released. It is better to take a healthy baby home. It can be tasking but do it anyway.
How to thank NICU Nurses
Thinking of thanking the NICU nurses for how they helped you during your stay at the hospital? Here are five adorable gifts for NICU nurses.
Gifts for NICU Nurses
- Get a nurse personalized stainless steel tumbler with Custom Stethoscope
- Get a Nurse Gifts Coffee Mugs
- Get a cute Nurse pen “Thank you” Gifts for Nurses
- Get nurses survival kit makeup bags
- Get a pack of Crystal Heart Keychain nurse jewelry set
- Treat them to a plate of cookies or a fruit basket with drinks.
Health issues faced by premature babies
Other than that preemie is given birth to before the normal date they’re supposed to come to the world, they still face some health issues which makes them ideal for NICU. These health issues must be monitored and treated before they can go home. The issues include
A condition that causes the skin, eyes, and feces to turn yellow. This is a condition that is caused by either prematurity or feeding issues.
Premature babies tend to lose weight when kept in NICU which is a health issue that must be treated before they can go home.
Premature babies find it hard to breathe on their own which is why they are attached to monitors which makes it easy to read their heartbeat and breathing rate.
Low blood sugar
Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to have low blood pressure which is not a good condition for an infant who isn’t mature. For this reason, babies with this condition have to be treated and monitored before they can be discharged.
Due to their low immunity system, preemies are susceptible to infections and germs which is why there’s a policy for all parents to wash and rinse their hands before entering the NICU to see their baby.
They want to know how to balance visits to their baby and other life activities. The above article shows all you need to know about the time parents and premature babies spend in NICU.