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Surviving the Holidays in the NICU

Author: Team NICU 101
Published Date: Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Here you are in the NICU, and chances are good that you can quickly think of at least a dozen places you’d rather spend the upcoming holidays. But if you know your baby will be here for at least part of the next month, here are some ideas to help make the season a little more bearable:

1. Bring in a special outfit or blanket for your baby. If he/she cannot yet wear clothes, maybe a festive hat, booties or bib would work. If your baby is stable enough, you might be able to “pose” him or her in a Christmas stocking — talk to your bedside nurse.

2. Write a special letter to your baby. Be sure to include all your thoughts, hopes and dreams. Save it to read every year at holiday time.

3. Bring in some small, non-electric decorations. Maybe a festive bib or “Baby’s First Christmas” stocking and some Christmas balls, a small menorah (no real candles), or any decorations appropriate or the holidays you celebrate, but be sure they are washable or wipeable to prevent the spread of germs. Have siblings make decorations (snowflakes, cards, etc.).

4. Bring in books about the holidays and read them to your baby.

5. Don’t be afraid to take a day off from the NICU.

6. It’s ok to wish things were different. If it helps, think about the special times you will share next year. Plan new family traditions.

7. If a big family gathering sounds overwhelming, just say no.

8. Budget your time and stick to a schedule. If you have other children, you will obviously want to spend time with them, too. Ask friends and family to stop by and visit the baby and/or help entertain your older children.

9. Come to the parent dinners and other groups sponsored by the NICU. There are lots of parents who feel just like you.

About Team NICU 101

CHKD is home to the region’s largest and most sophisticated neonatal intensive care unit, certified by the state as a subspecialty nursery. We provide intensive care for high-risk, critically-ill neonates and care for approximately 500 babies a year.

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